This legislation deals with, among other things, the issue of family law determinations on the residency arrangements for children in the event of separation or divorce of the parents. This issue is understandably very contentious. The legislation is the result of a number of inquiries, drafts and recommendations, and there have been changes all along the way.
There was a final review done by a Senate Committee. The report was tabled at the end of last week, late on the Friday. You can access the report, as well as the submissions and transcript of the public hearing, through the Committee�-?s website by clicking here.
The Committee report contains 15 recommendations, most of which were supported by Senators from both the major parties. I�-?m not sure how likely the government is to accept these, given they have scheduled debate to begin so soon after the Committee report has been tabled. The Democrats and Greens put forward some extra suggested amendments. Although the Family First Senator didn�-?t attend the hearing, he has put in his own statements recommending the �-�rebuttable presumption of equal parenting time, or joint residency for children�-?. This is the position that the father�-?s rights groups have been putting very strongly for some time.
Because it is a topic and situation which touches many people so strongly, I try not to use overly strong language when discussing it. I can understand the trauma of those parents who have little or no contact with their children, and have received many emails which clearly show the deep hurt this causes.
However, I just cannot comprehend how it could be seen to be in the best interests of a child for the starting assumption to be that splitting that child�-?s living arrangements 50-50 between two parents is the best way to go. It may suit one or even both of the parents, but for a child or children to be shuttled between two houses on a 50-50 basis would be very disruptive in the majority of situations.
You can read my 2nd Reading speech on the Bill by clicking here.