Federal government ignores legal profession, advocates, reports, and inquiries.
Despite overwhelming opposition from Australia’s family law specialists and advocates, the federal Liberal-Nationals government and cross benchers scrapped the Family Law Court and subsumed it into the circuit courts last week.
A statement by the Law Council and Community Legal Centres Australia says the move would collapse the family court ‘into the generalist, chronically under-resourced and overburdened Federal Circuit Court (FCC)’.
‘The bill was listed without warning overnight as the first item of government business on Tuesday, despite not being included on the government’s draft legislative program for the Senate this week’.
More than 155 stakeholders in Australia’s family law system signed an open letter to the Attorney-General opposing the move, which they say comes with no underpinning of evidence or reports that such a merger would be of any benefit. Instead they say it will increase costs, delays and stress for families.
Signatories represented included a range of professions and community organisations, including 11 retired Family Court and Federal Circuit Court (FCC) judges, and former Chief Justices.
Local federal MP Justine Elliot (Labor) told The Echo it was a ‘terrible’ and ‘cruel’ decision, ‘which will affect the lives of thousands of vulnerable children and families’.
‘Labor will now be consulting widely as we consider the policy we take to the election [and] how best to improve the family law system’.