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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Page: 3895


Mrs BRONWYN BISHOP (Mackellar) (16:23): I thank the minister for his complimentary words about my concern about the actual workings of the bill. When something like this is occurring which is brand new—and I note the use of the word 'accommodation'—I find it of concern that it would be considered reasonable to accommodate the concerns of a subset of people when a different law applies to everybody else. That is why, if you look at the bill in particular and the explanatory memorandum, you will see page after page of new terms that simply do not exist in the rest of the Family Law Act. New terminology has had to be created for this specific category of people. I honestly do not see how in all conscience a government can accommodate the wish of a small group when a whole lot of other people are going to be excluded. It is not even all judges; it is only the three courts created in the federal jurisdiction—the High Court, the Federal Court and the Family Law Courts. As I understand it, it is to accommodate a problem that arose for a particular Family Law Court judge and his ex-spouse. That is not the way to make good legislation. I will not ask any more questions because I do not think I am going to get any specific answers, but perhaps this will add to the answers and information that will be made available to the Senate references committee should the reference be successfully made.

Bill agreed to.

Ordered that this bill be reported to the House without amendment.