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Hetty Johnston blasts ALRC review’s proposal to flick ‘broken’ family law system to states


11th April, 2019

Independent Senate candidate Hetty Johnston has accused the Federal Government of giving up on the nation’s children after it released a review into the family law system.

The long-awaited Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) report makes 60 recommendations including a proposal for control of the family law system to be handed to the states and territories, rather than the Commonwealth.

Ms Johnston, who has long campaigned for a Royal Commission into the family law system, said the ALRC report was yet another delaying tactic by a Government that had no idea how to fix a “broken” system that was destroying young lives.

“We have waited all this time for a solution only to be told the Government should simply flick the problem to the states and territories,” she said.

“The Government has yet again wasted millions of dollars tinkering around the edges and the worst part is our children remain caught in a broken system that the people elected to protect them either refuse to fix or have no idea how to.

“Both the Government and Opposition need to hang their heads in shame for failing to call for the Royal Commission that is desperately needed to inspire real change.”

Ms Johnston said the ALRC’s proposal for states and territories to take control of the family law system was fundamentally flawed.

“Every report I’ve read in the 22 years since I founded Bravehearts cites a lack of national consistency in family law systems as detrimental for our children,” she said.

“That’s why the Federal Family Court was instigated in 1975 – to overcome fragmentation – but now the Government is overwhelmed and has no answers, it wants to go back to the future.

“The family law system is a mess and needs contemporary solutions, not revert to a system that didn’t work more than 40 years ago. It smacks of just giving up.”

Ms Johnston said a Royal Commission was the only legal instrument capable of identifying the issues confronting the family law system and subsequently delivering effective and rational solutions.

“Rather than look at the problem to find a solution, the Government has chosen to hold a parliamentary enquiry that changed nothing and now commissioned a review that has thrown out nonsensical proposals,” she said.

“The major parties are doing all they can to avoid a Royal Commission into the family law system, but I will not stop fighting until they deliver one. I have done all I can from outside the political sphere and now need Queenslanders to vote me into the Senate so I can have my voice heard.

“There is no one in Canberra whose priority is the safety of children but my presence will change that. Becoming a Senator will allow me to tackle our politicians in the corridors, canteens and offices of Parliament and make them realise what this atrocious system is doing to our children.

“I’m looking forward to working with my Senate colleagues and the family law sector to significantly improve this broken system.”


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