Mar 13, 2006

Family law changes must protect the most vulnerable: Albanese

Family law changes must protect the most vulnerable: Albanese


13 March 2006

Anthony Albanese MP, Federal Member for Grayndler, has spoken about the changes to the Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Bill.

Mr Albanese expressed his anger that every coalition member voted against providing 3 free hours of family mediation to help separating couples settle their disputes.

Before the 2004 election, the Prime Minister promised that:

“…separating parents will have free access to information, advice and up to three hours of dispute resolution sessions with a parenting advisor to help resolve disputes and reach agreement on parenting plans (29 July 2004)…”

“How much is this promise worth if it isn’t worth putting it into law?” asked Mr Albanese. “It is unacceptable that parents will not have the support they deserve as we move to this new system.”

In his speech to Parliament on 1 March 2006, Mr Albanese underlined the need for new services to consider people of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, saying, “It is all very well to introduce compulsory mediation, but without appropriate language and cultural provisions and training, such services would be effectively inaccessible to many people in my electorate.”

He also highlighted the importance of developing and implementing strategies to overcome the issue of non-disclosure of violence prior to and during mediation.

“I am concerned that some women could see mediation as a further barrier to reporting violence. Indeed, it is difficult to see how forced mediation would be appropriate in cases like these without any practical screening mechanisms in place.”

“It is not good enough to do anything other than all in our power to stop domestic violence,” he concluded.

A full transcript of the speech is available here.