The Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a Parliamentary Inquiry into the family law system. “We want to ensure families can resolve issues as quickly and fairly as possible, so everyone can move on with their lives,” the Prime Minister said.
Great! So do we. We would add “safely” to that list, and put it up front, but on all other accounts, it seems we’re on the same page.
The problem is, we’ve had so many commissioned inquiries and reports which have already looked into the operation of the family law system over the last ten years – all of which have come to the same conclusions.
The family law system is principally failing in providing safe and just outcomes for women and their children in the context of family violence and abuse.
These inquiries have made sound recommendations for reform. We’ve just stalled in implementing the reforms.
So why? You’ll have to forgive women and children’s safety advocates for their suspicion when we’ve just had a Parliamentary Inquiry into the family law system in 2017 followed by a comprehensive review of the family law system undertaken by the Australian Law Reform Commission in 2018 and the government goes off and announces another “wide-ranging inquiry into the family law system” headed up by Liberal MP Kevin Andrews and One Nation’s Pauline Hanson.
In truth, we don’t need another inquiry, we need action. In the election campaign, Prime Minister stated that violence against women and their children is arguably the single biggest national security threat facing this Country.
Only yesterday I met with the offices of the Prime Minister, the Attorney General and the Minister for Women to share with them the real-life stories of women and their children who have gone through the family law system in the context of family violence.
We talked about the recommendations of the most recent law reform commission reports and how we were going to practically start implementing these to bring the family law system into the twenty first century when it comes to protecting women, children and families from domestic and family violence and abuse.