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Wednesday, 13 August 2003
Page: 18502


Mr WILLIAMS (Attorney-General) (12:04 PM) —by leave—I present a supplementary explanatory memorandum to the bill and move government amendments (1) to (6):

(1) Clause 2, page 3 (table item 15, column 1), omit “item”, substitute “items 1A and”.

(2) Schedule 2, item 7, page 12 (lines 31 to 33), omit “giving testimony is in or outside Australia, but does not allow testimony to be given by a person who”, substitute “appearing is in or outside Australia, but does not apply if the person appearing”.

(3) Schedule 2, item 7, page 13 (lines 11 to 13), omit “giving testimony is in or outside Australia, but does not allow testimony to be given by a person who”, substitute “making the submission is in or outside Australia, but does not apply if the person making the submission”.

(4) Schedule 4, item 1, page 27 (line 10), omit “parenting order”, substitute “proceedings”.

(5) Schedule 5, page 34 (after line 4), before item 1, insert:

1A After subsection 90C(2)

Insert:

(2A) For the avoidance of doubt, a financial agreement under this section may be made before or after the marriage has broken down.

(6) Schedule 5, item 4, page 35 (line 3), after “order”, insert “or financial agreement”.

There are six government amendments, four of which are to correct drafting errors in the bill so that the provisions operate as intended. The other two amendments introduce an additional measure into the bill. Amendments (1) and (5) insert a new subsection 90C(2A) into the Family Law Act 1975 to clarify the intent of the current section 90C in the financial agreements provisions in the act. Schedule 5 item 1A will amend section 90C(2) of the act to ensure that the parties to a marriage can make a financial agreement dealing with the property or financial resources of either or both of the parties after the marriage breaks down but before the dissolution of the marriage.

Clause 2 provides for the commencement of the new subsection. New subsection 90C(2A) will be deemed to have commenced immediately after the commencement of schedule 2 of the Family Law Amendment Act 2000 on 27 December 2000. This will ensure that the provision operates as the government intended at the time the act was enacted. The retrospective commencement will not impact adversely on anyone who has made a financial agreement under section 90C of the act, as these parties would have relied on the government's intention that they were able to make such an agreement during the period after separation but before the dissolution of the marriage. The amendments merely clarify this intention.

Amendments (2) and (3) correct drafting errors in item 7 of schedule 2 of the bill, which facilitates the use of video and audio technology for the taking of submissions and evidence in proceedings of the Family Court of Australia. Item 7 of schedule 2 inserts a new division 2 into part XI of the act. New division 2 provides for the use of video link, audio link or other appropriate means to give testimony, make appearances and give submissions. New subsection 102D(3) in division 2, which relates to the appearance of persons, incorrectly refers to a person giving testimony where it should provide for the appearance of a person. Amendment (2) corrects this drafting error. New section 102E in division 2, which relates to the making of submissions, also incorrectly refers to a person giving testimony where it should refer to a person making a submission. Amendment (3) corrects this drafting error.

Amendment (4) corrects a drafting error in item 1 of schedule 4 of the bill. Item 1 inserts a new section 65LA into the act in order to give the court the power to order a person to attend a post-separation parenting program at any stage during proceedings for a parenting order. Item 1 incorrectly provides for the court to make such an order in respect of any party to the parenting order where it should refer to any party to the proceedings for a parenting order. Amendment (4) corrects this drafting error and ensures that the court can order a person to attend a post-separation parenting program not only after the parenting order is made but at any stage during the proceedings for the parenting order.

Amendment (6) corrects a drafting error in item 4 of schedule 5 of the bill. Item 4 amends section 90L of the act to ensure that financial agreements are not liable to duty under Commonwealth and state law. Item 4 paragraph (c) should provide that a deed or other instrument executed by a person for the purposes of not only an order but also a financial agreement is not liable to duty under Commonwealth and state law. Amendment (6) corrects this drafting error to ensure that instruments of transfer made pursuant to financial agreements are not liable to such changes. As I have indicated in the second reading debate, the government is currently in consultations with the banking and financial services sectors in relation to the binding third-party provisions in schedule 6 of the bill. Any necessary amendments to schedule 6 will be moved in the Senate. I commend the amendments to the Main Committee.

Question agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Ordered that the bill be reported to the House with amendments.

Main Committee adjourned at 12.10 p.m.