Chief Justice Diana Bryant said the under-resourcing of the Family Court of Australia is leading to the deaths of children in an interview she gave on the 29th March 2016. At the same time Independent Senator John Madigan has said the liberals are “continuing to ignore repeated requests for a root-and-branch reform of the Family Court” after a senate vote in February supporting it.
While the Family Court of Australia crumbles the only family dispute matter the Australian media and Australian politicians have focused on is the jailing of Channel 9’s 60 Minutes crew in Lebanon for their role in abducting children.
If you read below what Chief Justice Diana Bryant and Senator John Madigan say in regards to the Family Court it becomes very clear that the Australian media and Australian politicians have their priorities and focus badly wrong.
Chief Justice Diana Bryant’s dire warning – Interview 29/3/16
Family Court Chief Justice Diana Bryant says her court does not have the resources it needs to protect parents and children from violence and admits it may be failing some families.
She has urged the government to set aside more funding to help the court triage serious allegations of family violence to ensure safety of children. “What I’m trying to do is … say to the government as a whole: if you are really serious about deaths of children, because that’s what this is about, and having a proper, viable system, we really do need to look at funding the courts properly,” she said.
“With a modest amount … you could make a really big difference to the system.”
Chief Justice Bryant said judges in the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court were getting at most two hours — and often less — to put in place interim parenting arrangements for children, which held for up to three years until a final hearing could take place. (Click here to read more)
I am no fan of Chief Justice Bryant as a lot of the problems with the Family Court have continued under her management but that is a massive statement by her and dictates a full and proper response, if not an inquiry, by the government. The fact that the government or opposition parties haven’t responded, to my knowledge, is disturbing.
Independent Senator for Victoria John Madigan – Press release – April 19, 2016
It is pretty sad when a whole country is reliant on one Independent Senator to drive such an important issue. Below is a media release from Victorian Senator John Madigan. (He has his own political party called the “Manufacturing and Farming Party“)
Curious, George stays silent on family law chaos
Independent Senator for Victoria John Madigan says the lack of action by Attorney General George Brandis on the chaos in the Family Court shows the government is asleep at the wheel.
Senator Madigan said Senator Brandis was continuing to ignore repeated requests for a root-and-branch reform of the Family Court, including a Senate motion in February for the government to act.
On March 10 Senator Madigan wrote to the Attorney-General requesting a response to the motion.
And two weeks ago Senator Madigan contacted the office of the Attorney General via a second letter. Senator Madigan has yet to receive a response, or even acknowledgement of his correspondence.
“This is unacceptable behaviour from the highest legal advisor in the country,” Senator Madigan said.
“The Family Court system is in turmoil. Australian families are suffering. Australian children are suffering – and this government wallows in self obsession. It is consumed with its own election chances and is asleep at the wheel on this important issue.
“The motion was supported by the Senate back in early February of this year. What has the government been doing for over two months? The Attorney-General needs to get on with it and put Family Court at the top of his agenda.
“We, as politicians, need to use our power to give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves on this most important issue. The government is sitting on the fence while so many Australians continue to suffer due to family law proceedings.”
Senator Madigan said he would continue to apply the pressure on the Attorney-General and would personally seek an explanation. (Click here to read more)
Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell has also questioned the ability of the Family Court of Australia to do its job.
“Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell has questioned whether family courts can properly deal with the damage family violence does to children at the centre of custody battles.” (Click here to read more)
Sixty minutes and their misguided focus
At any time, the shortcomings of the Family Court should be big news but even more so given that it is a federal election year and what the major parties will and won’t do to fix the Family Court’s problems should be given widespread media coverage.
But unfortunately, at this point in time at least, the media’s reporting on family dispute matters is focused on Channel 9’s 60 Minutes paying for child snatchers and then allegedly “bribing” their way out of a Lebanese jail. There are so many lies being told at the moment we will probably never find out the entire truth of what Channel 9 did. Although one thing is clear and that is their own internal inquiry which they announced will be a whitewash as they are not going to openly admit to what is fairly obvious and that is they paid for people to commit the crime of kidnapping.
If the Australian media spent the same amount of time reporting on the real issues of the Family Court as the time they have spent reporting the 60 Minutes story then I suspect that all politicians would have genuine policies on the table for the election. Then real change and improvement wouldn’t be too far away.
KCA and reporting on the Family Court of Australia
I don’t write about the Family Court very often as there are legal restrictions on what can and cannot be said in cases which limits what can be reported. Although I have written extensively about the dodgy background of Chief Judge John Pascoe of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia whose court has responsibility for hearing about 85% of Family Court matters.
There is a lot that could be written about this subject but at this point I think everyone should focus on Chief Justice Diana Bryant’s statement “if you are really serious about deaths of children, because that’s what this is about” and the failure of any politician to respond.
I’ll be doing what I can but it is really up to everyone to make Family Court reform an election issue as it clearly should be. If the major parties do not do produce decent policies very soon regarding Family Court reform then I have no doubt that Senator John Madigan will be getting quite a few votes at the federal election which the Prime Minister said is is most likely to be on the 2nd of July.
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