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Friday, 1 May 1987
Page: 2204

(Question No. 929)


Senator Watson asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 20 February 1986:

(1) If Family Law Courts throughout Australia have after hours numbers to be contacted in times of family crisis, why are these telephones not manned in all centres.

(2) Why are counsellors not available over weekends when most crises within families occur.

(3) What is the Attorney-General planning to do about the lack of adequate counsellors within the Family Court system.


Senator Gareth Evans —The Attorney- General has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) & (2) The Family Court of Australia does not operate a crisis counselling service. This is not a function of the Counselling Service of the Court. Counsellors are therefore not rostered for week-end or after-hours duty, and there is no after-hours telephone service for this purpose. Where there is a need for a party to proceedings before the Court to see a counsellor urgently, an expedited appointment can be arranged.

(3) Staffing levels for the Family Court are kept continually under review. The number of counsellors has increased from 98 in 1984 to 104 in 1986. I am not aware of any undue delay in any Registry of the Court in a party to proceedings in the Court obtaining an appointment with a counsellor.