Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011

3 May 2011

Professor Patrick Parkinson AM comments on the Gillard Government's family law reform Bill in an article in today's edition of The Australian.

According to the article, the Chief Justice of the Family Court, Diana Bryant, has warned the Gillard government that the changes to family law before parliament would reopen many cases and put children at extra risk by logjamming the courts and adding stress to families.

Professor Parkinson is also quoted, arguing that despite changes since the first draft of the bill were circulated last November, the new broad definition of violence is still flawed and could be abused.

In his submission to the Senate, he argues the opening words of the definition require that the behaviour complained of "coerces or controls" a family member.

He says this is flawed because it does not say that the person accused of such behaviour needs to have the intention of coercing or controlling.

"It would certainly be problematic if someone could be held to have engaged in 'violent' behaviour without intending to do so, because his or her former partner felt coerced or controlled," Professor Parkinson argues.

You can download Professor Parkinson's submission here

View the entire article - Family law change 'puts kids at extra risk' - The Australian

Contact: Greg Sherington

Phone: +61 2 9351 0202

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