Mark Dreyfus MP

Member for Isaacs
Contact Mark
(03) 9580 4651
Volunteer

Morrison Crushes Debate So He Can Abolish The Family Court

17 February 2021

The Morrison Government has today voted to shut down debate in the Senate so that it can ram through its dangerous and radical proposal to effectively abolish the Family Court of Australia.

MARK DREYFUS
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
MEMBER FOR ISAACS 

 MORRISON CRUSHES DEBATE SO HE CAN ABOLISH THE FAMILY COURT

The Morrison Government has today voted to shut down debate in the Senate so that it can ram through its dangerous and radical proposal to effectively abolish the Family Court of Australia.

The Government’s decision to shut down debate and force through its deeply flawed legislation flies in the face of evidence from more than 150 committed organisations and people who work in the family law system – all of whom oppose the Government’s proposal.

In a last ditch effort to convince this arrogant government to do the right thing and abandon its legislation, Community Legal Centres NSW has warned that “[s]afety has to come first, and this plan will only harm children and survivors of family violence.” 

Law Council President Dr Jacoba Brasch QC has said “[a]s the impacts of the devastating shadow pandemic of family violence experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic continue, now is not the time to proceed with an unnecessary, risky bill”.

The CEO of Community Legal Centres Australia, Nassim Arrage, has said “the merger would move away from a specialist family court model, exposing survivors of family violence to unnecessary risk”. 

Women’s Legal Services Australia spokesperson, Angela Lynch AM, told the Government “[o]ur opposition to the proposed merger of the family courts is centred on ensuring the safety and best interests of the child and the safety of adult victim survivors of family violence in family law proceedings. Safety must come first in family law.”

After seven years of neglect under the Liberals, the family law system in Australia is in crisis. And instead of finally waking up and doing something to fix the system, the Morrison Government’s proposal will make a bad situation worse. 
 
There are many factors that have contributed to the terrible state of the family law system today. They include the Liberal Government’s failures over the past seven years to appoint judges in a timely manner and increase funding for court-related and legal assistance services. 

None of the problems currently affecting the court will be dealt with by this reckless and ill-informed proposal to effectively abolish the Family Court of Australia.

The existence of a stand-alone specialist Family Court is crucial to the well-being of many thousands of Australians, especially young children, and is too important to be trade away for short term political deals. 

WEDNESDAY, 17 FEBRUARY 2021