Following on from the recent email you would have received from Laura, we would like to reschedule the next meeting of the Child and Family Policy Network for Tuesday 17th April, 10am - 12pm here at QCOSS.

In lieu of a broader network agenda, we are proposing to access the wisdom contained within the group, as well as some other key stakeholders to develop a joint submission in response to the review of the Family Law Act 1975.

The Attorney-General has asked the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) to undertake a comprehensive review of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), the first since its introduction more than forty years ago.

Much has changed in Australian social and family life since then. For example, there are more people living together outside marriage, there are more changes in relationships and stepfamilies, reproductive technologies mean families can be formed in diverse ways, same-sex marriage is now legalised, and there is greater awareness of the prevalence of family violence and child abuse and the damage they can cause.

The wide ranging Terms of Reference ask the ALRC to consider the need for reform in relation to areas that include:

  • appropriate early and cost-effective resolution of all family law disputes;
  • the protection of the best interests of children and their safety;
  • the best ways to inform decision makers about the best interests of children and their views;
  • family violence and child abuse, including protection for vulnerable witnesses;
  • laws in relation to parenting and property division after separation.

The Issues Paper provides discussion of issues identified in the Terms of Reference, and asks questions about how they could be addressed.

QCOSS is keen to facilitate a session on the 17th April to gather the stories, experiences and priorities of participants in response to how the family law system can best respond and support children and families in all their diversity to inform the submission.

Given the broad and comprehensive nature of the review, it is suggested that we focus on the priority areas previously identified by the network.

These priority areas include:

  • Early Intervention
  • Courts
  • Kinship and Foster Care
  • The Voice of the child

 

Submissions in response to the Issues Paper are due to the ALRC by 7 May 2018, therefore we have some time constraints in developing the proposal. If you are unable to attend the meeting, we can incorporate key feedback when we send a draft submission to members and participants afterwards.

Following the Issues Paper and consideration of the submissions, the ALRC will release a discussion paper for further consultation in September 2018 (submissions due in November 2018), and will deliver their final report to the Attorney-General by 31 March 2019.

Therefore, there will also be the opportunity to respond to the discussion paper as a network later in the year.
A calendar invite will be sent separately for Tuesday 17th April, 10am - 12pm here at QCOSS: 20 Pidgeon Close, West End, 4101.

We will provide a lunch for participants afterwards, so RSVP would be appreciated for numbers.

We look forward to seeing you and harvesting the collective wisdom of the group to help inform better policy outcomes for children and families.

Comments

Chris Mundy's picture

I am sorry I cannot attend this meeting.

I will try to submit some commentary from QFCA prior. 

Thanks

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Shelley Birrell's picture

Thanks Siobhan

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