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Time to listen to the Senate of Family Court consultation



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TIME TO LISTEN TO THE SENATE ON FAMILY COURT

CONSULTATION

louisepratt.com

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September 19, 2018

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

SENATOR LOUISE PRATT

DEPUTY CHAIR LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS LEGISLATION COMMITTEE

SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR UNIVERSITIES

SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR EQUALITY

SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA

TIME TO LISTEN TO THE SENATE ON FAMILY COURT CONSULTATION

On Tuesday, the Senate passed its third motion instructing the government to conduct

adequate consultation on its family court merger bills. It is time for the government to

listen.

The government has defied the will of the Senate at every step of this process, turning it

into a ridiculous farce.

Last week, Senator Rex Patrick successfully moved a motion to extend the closing date for

submissions from September 28 to November 23. But government members of the Legal

and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee refused to adjust the planned report date,

and insisted on maintaining a report date just one business day later.

Now, the Senate has instructed the government that it cannot hold hearings until after

submissions are due, through a further motion from Senator Patrick.

The government now simply has no choice but to agree to delay the report date. If it does

not, it will not be able to hold hearings before it produces a report. This is plainly ridiculous.

The government should agree with the Senate’s decision to have the committee report on

15 April 2019, to allow time for proper consultation, and for the completion of the

Australian Law Reform Commission review of the family law system, due on 31 March

2019.

The 500-plus pages of bills put forward by the government represent the effective abolition

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of the family court, a legacy of the Whitlam government from 1975. It is time the

government drops their ridiculous efforts to rush this through, and withstand some proper

scrutiny of its plans.

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