• Trevor Cooper

If I did a Parliamentary Inquiry Presentation!

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

I appear today before this committee under my pen name of Trevor Cooper and thank the committee. I wrote my book and made the submission #820 under the pseudonym Trevor Cooper which was necessary for compliance with S121 of the Family Law Act and made my real name available. In my submission, in the section “Relevant Documentation” I listed:

  1. My book, The Pinball Machine The Family Separation Industry and Parental Alienation, A document which I will refer to as annexure 1 to which I have supplied a watermarked copy to the committee.

  2. Parenting Time, Parent Conflict, Parent-Child Relationships, and Children’s Physical Health which I will refer to as annexure 2

  3. Equal Parenting Time: The Case for a Legal Presumption by William V. Fabricius, June 2019 which I will refer to as annexure 3

  4. And throughout my submission there are many links to publicly available information.

I wish to submit a document that I will call annexure 4 which shows the real names and places listed in the book to demonstrate to the committee that the book is not made up piece of fiction and is absolutely real. I believe it would be appropriate to treat annexure 4 as confidential. It is up to the committee if you wish to reveal my actual name under parliamentary privilege however it is the content that it is important and my book that has a testimonial by a retired Appeal Judge and former member of the UN Human Rights Committee that states “valuable suggestions for reform” that is important.

I trust that you have all done your due diligence as the Chairman stated, read my submission, the book “The Pinball Machine The Family Separation Industry and Parental Alienation” that is referred to extensively in my submission with recommendations, along with the University papers that I secured permission to release to this inquiry and submitted as annexure 2 and annexure 3.

Some of you will have preconceived notions due to your personal circumstances or after years of conditioning by lobby groups. Your reactions will also vary for the reasons outlined in p168 of my book and you may suffer from a cognitive bias which can include:

  • Anchoring - the tendency to focus on the first or other piece of information and/or

  • Confirmation - the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs and discredit others.

Many of the submissions will also show their preconceived bias based upon their background or educations. Those in women’s DV area, may have never seen or experienced the men as victims in the domestic violence, may well disbelieve or discount the stories that they are exposed to due to this bias, may prefer to believe a woman would never harm their child and discount the serious psychological child abuse perpetrated by women. As with other inquiries their submissions will reflect this bias. It is their experience which has no more or less relevance that the submissions of those from male victims of Domestic Violence or those mothers, fathers, children, extended family and society as a whole that have suffered the systematic abuse perpetrated within and by the Family Separation Industry that has led to this inquiry.

The gender bias in many areas including Domestic Violence is so insidious that it is a major impediment to many women getting help. I have had to deal with women that the women’s groups would not take on, as they have a preconceived and incorrect notion, due to their cognitive bias, that if the woman does not have the kids there is something wrong with that woman, so will not deal with her as she may be a danger to the children! Some of you on this panel may wish to ask yourself if you are suffering a cognitive bias against males and discounting their accounts just as the women’s groups did when they rejected those women that were not seeing their kids. You only have to look at the data in the largest study in the world, being the Partner Abuse State of Knowledge, (more commonly known as PASK and referred to on page 384 of my book) and I now provide you the 3, 5-minute videos of that study overview and will table them:

  • Annexure 5 is the 5min 20sec video on the Introduction to the Partner Abuse State of Knowledge

  • Annexure 6 is the 4min 41s video on the Findings and policy implications

  • Annexure 7 is the 5min 32sec video on The Domestic Violence Field and its challenges

Annexure 7 highlights the bias in funding in the US and I put to this committee that the we see the same thing here is Australia with the majority of funding going towards research that is biased from its theoretical inception toward one gender and select data from favourable or biased in their data collection sources (such as a women’s refuge or a police station that is instructed not to accept domestic violence complaints from men). The successive governments have therefore reinforced a cognitive bias that I believe has created a division in our society rather than uniformity in dealing with real domestic violence and corrupted many of the services as they are funded to only see female victims, trained in a female narrative and allow them to become lobbyists to reinforce that narrative. The major recipient of funding in Australia for mediation is Relationships Australia and this committee should be appalled that Relationships Australia sacked one of its employees in Western Australia for daring to state that domestic violence can be mutual or initiated by a woman. How can any man in Australia go to such an organisation and expect a fair and unbiassed treatment? I may also ask where is Rob Tillers submission to this committee or did he fail to submit or was his submission marked confidential to conceal the truth of what is going on? The position that Relationships Australia has put itself in is that it is NOT an independent mediation provider and by the government funding such an organisation confirms that gender discrimination and bias is not only acceptable but policy. This is not only abhorrent to all feminists that believe in EQUALITY, the woman with sons that lose access to their grandchildren, the women that know their nephews, brothers, father, cousins should be treated fairly but also every male in society and the very heart of the legal system itself. Such inaction by the government and the renewal of funding strikes at the very heart of the perception, or reality, that the system is biased against fathers. There are some researchers that state that such a bias against a demographic, which gives a demographic no access to real services which includes the police and justice, that such an imbalance can only lead to greater levels of violence and suicide and perhaps that is what we are seeing with successive government allowing funding with such bias. On 23 October 2020, the 2019 suicide statistics were released and showed a greater than ever proportion of men to women (for years, a 6 men to 2 women ratio was maintained and 2019 saw a change to 7 men to 2 women each day) and I put to this committee when we consider the psychosocial causes of suicide the government has a major hand in driving this disparity. This is something that this committee when reviewing the family separation industry has recognised and it must be considered and addressed in order for the committee to not be complicit.

I table as Annexure 8 being a submission made by an organisation to the 2017 inquiry which speaks to the Domestic Violence Bench Book and after 2 years NOTHING has been done to correct this attempt to prejudice the judiciary. The publication is biased to such an extent that some lawyers believe any Judge that actually read it, could be so prejudiced they would have to stand down from any trial dealing with Domestic Violence. To show the insidious impact creating the distorted narrative, Senator Hanson asked a question on the 10 March 2020 and stated a man a month killed by their intimate partner. This figure comes from Annexure 9, the AUSTRALIAN DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE DEATH REVIEW NETWORK 2018 (apo-nid174811.pdf ) and you can read about how the figures were derived which was created by a group of state public servants from across Australia (and appears White Ribbon had a hand in it). Some of the reasons include that it was not a DV related homicide if the partners had not reported to the police in the proceeding 12 months (it is well known that men rarely go to the police when abused as per the surveys outlined in my book). As such the figures vary from the Australian Institute of Criminology Figures for deaths of Intimate Partner violence which is around 1 man killed every 10 days which is remarkably close to the 1 woman a week that is generally touted around.

What we can see is that the whole industry funding in research and practice has a gender bias which gives the perception of it being anti male. I have seen biases in lawyers occasionally when that only deal with one gender and rarely in legal services that deal with both genders. Culture within existing organisations are notoriously difficult to change and simply funding a female (Duluth orientated organisation) to take on males clients and service their needs is likely to make things far worse as the bias in treatment would remain. The government really needs to get its house in order in terms of ensuring biases are not created or organisations that are shown to operate with discriminatory policies such as Duluth ideology, meaning that people seeking help are not being seen as people but seen as a gender, are defunded. We therefore can see a clear pattern in the government funding of research, training, service delivery and even attempts to pervert the course of justice which means how could anyone NOT realistically perceive a bias against men. That is not to say women are not also "done over" by the system as outlined in my 2019 blog on RUOK day where people are rewarded for the first strike (lodging false Intervention Orders) and not held to account for their actions.

Parental Alienation has been discussed and questions raised by this committee to various people giving testimony. I want to set the records straight about Parental Alienation and submit as Annexure 10 to my submission being a video recorded in 2019 at the International conference. I have been given special permission to give it to you today by its producer Sigga Sólan of Parental Equality Association in Iceland on the subject of Parental Alienation. As Annexure 11 I submit a blog from Karen Woodall on the subject and how Parental Alienation is in fact indexed in ICD11 (International Classification of Diseases 11th Revision) and we do see groups oppose the words Parental Alienation the entry QE.52 Caregiver-Child Relationship Problem and clearly, when a child hates a parent for no good reason and caused by the actions of the alienating parent, it is a problem. Regardless of what you call it, Parental Alienation which is a form of child abuse should be a concern. In terms of DSM 5, I submit Annexure 12 showing that there are five diagnoses describe different aspects of parental alienation.

There has been questioning about whether Parental Alienation is a Syndrome or not. What does the word "syndrome" mean? Webster's Dictionary defines a syndrome as “a group of signs and symptoms that occur together and characterise a particular abnormality or condition.” Without doubt, PA is not a single thing like a virus and is a set of actions that can produce a behaviour or outcome and the experts agree the breaking of the Parental Child bond from a good parent is DAMAGING and therefore is a form of child abuse. These sets of manifestations in children, behaviours or strategies of alienators and the tactics used to maintain power and control along with the outcomes are well defined through the works of Amy Baker and other researchers including from the University of Tasmania. What is even more important for this committee to recognise is that the diagnosis also ensures that the valid rejection of a parent (that for example was abusive) is also well defined so that FALSE claims of Parental Alienation when properly diagnosed can be rejected with certainty. The argument of whether it is a syndrome or not is something that deflects attention away from the very nature of this form of DV that impacts the children to such an extent it can and has resulted in their suicide!

I was extremely disappointed with an earlier presentation to this committee by Megan Mitchell (National Children’s Commissioner) on 14 Feb 2020 and table the response from EMMM as Annexure 12 which demonstrated the lack of understanding reflecting poorly on the public service recruitment practices. This and other area’s mean that this committee may want to recommend investigation by the “Minister for the Public Service” as to how and why, Megan Mitchell was appointed when her testimony to this committee was so ill informed and misleading, that it casts doubt on the validity of the organisation that she represents and the recruitment practices of the entire public service. Parental Alienation is finally being recognised in Australian court decisions such as Palmer & Kerr [2019]. I call upon this committee to ensure the definitions of Domestic Violence be amended to specifically include Parental Alienation. The social impacts of this is that it would need to be considered and rapidly move forward the benefits to the children, targeted parent (as outlined in the article released in May 2020 Targeted Parents Surviving Parental Alienation: Consequences of the Alienation and Coping Strategies and the parent perpetrating this form of family violence.

While it is a pity that the Australian conference that I recommended in my submission was cancelled due to coronavirus travel restrictions, if you have any doubts that need to be laid to rest that Parental Alienation is real and needs to be specifically listed in existing Family Law legislation as a form of domestic violence and child abuse, then I am offering my services at no cost to attempt to have Dr William Bernett and a panel of other members of the world renowned Parental Alienation Study Group (PASG) to attend this hearing via video conferencing and would just need the committee to nominate several dates. We need to look at the terrible history of the family court to see how the influencers has seen the Family Separation Industry go so far off track as discussed in my submission section f subsection 7. Originally the Family Law Act 1975 was expected to allow a no-fault divorce, replacing a system where someone had to be at fault and that dictated the child custody and asset distribution as outlined by the second Chief Justice of the Family Court and referenced in my submission.

From a system that was meant to replace a system that attributed blame, our legislators have been coerced by the powerful legal lobby and others to use the legal system to argue over a multitude of factors to attribute blame which impacted custody and financial apportionments which has of course has seen legal practices grow and profit. Interest groups have seized upon the concept of blame and lobbied such things as preferential treatment for those that experience domestic violence and we have seen greater difficulty within the Family Courts and their ability to settle matters. The domestic violence lobby has taken centre stage which resulted in pre-emptive strikes by many with false police reports and cases jumping between the domestic violence (state based) courts, children's courts (state based) and the Family Court with people playing different courts and jurisdictions against another, committing parental abduction and moving across state borders with children. In many matters the domestic violence allegations are never tested, but where they were tested and the alleged perpetrator found to be innocent (as in the case of Grainger where it was stated in court judgements that he was “a thoroughly decent human being”), the making of the accusation have frustrated the courts for years and custody generally not reversed or time made up with the discarded parent as it is then argued that it may be traumatic for the child not having seen the discarded parent for such a long time. The tactics is so common is it known as the Silver Bullet defence or attack. Other cases such as the one I outlined in a blog, had taught the children to be scared of a good parent, which is child abuse, so a good parent cannot see their children. Some have even profited such as in the Grainger case from NSW Victims of Crime when she was clearly the perpetrator but was paid as a victim, however the number of false reports resulting in profiting through child support must be staggering!

The system that was designed to be a no-fault divorce system, has in the adversarial system, become one that seeks to find fault for one of the separating parties’ benefit, lost focus on the children and has seen court lists grow and clients bounced around a multitude of court system. We now have a system where the accused cannot even cross examine a witness without legal support. Your interim report section 5.83 outlines the issues with the system for self-represented litigants being denied possibly the very foundations of the legal system. It will also be interesting to see if court appointed lawyers will follow instruction in their cross examination for otherwise self-represented litigants and have reports of loss of their funding for NOT following their lawyer’s advice and withdrawal of services so people are NOT being cross examined. Penalties for perjury were seen to be removed with s117AB and the implications were discussed on page 374 of my book with supporting evidence referenced in footnotes. The system has diverged so far from a no-fault divorce system or even what we could term a “legal system” when the very basics of a legal system are dispensed with, such as perjury and the enforcement of orders such that it would be hard to even define it as even a quasi-judicial system. Even associated legal systems have been compromised such as restraining orders that are now issued without any “due process” and violating any concept of “natural justice” when the consequences for the recipient can be so dramatic. It is an utterly failed system that has never focussed on the best interests of the children, it is not fit for purpose and we need to get back to basics.

Back to basics means dealing with some of the root causes but also making everyone accountable:

  1. Parliament needs to decide if we want a no-fault system or a fault-based system? If it is a no-fault system then standard formulas would apply and expectations managed. If we want a fault-based system then the arguments will never end and we know that prolonged cases cause enormous harm such as cPTSD, the dilution of wealth etc. Is the transition back to a fault-based system doing more harm than good and is it simple enough for the courts to administer? Can we reduce the complexity of the arguments that will follow?

  2. Parliament needs to decide if all its citizens are to be equal under the law and equally deserving of support regardless of gender.

  3. Is it best to get information up front to assemble the vital parameters such as:

  4. Are there mental health issues with either parent?,

  5. Are there drug or alcohol issues with either parent?,

  6. What is the financial position and assets that will eventually be argued over?

  7. Should we reconfigure the system to encourage good behaviour and disincentivize bad behaviour?

  8. Should people be held accountable for their actions (including parents, lawyers, Single Expert Witnesses, mediators and the government).

Based upon the above, various things would follow:

  1. The prosecution of criminal offences – I outlined the issues Dianna Bryant reported with Bigamy but also perjury must be prosecuted. There are many protections within the current legal system for perjury as outlined on page 346 of my book and I also outline the benefits of prosecuting perjury to the court system for the alleged perpetrator (in terms wealth retained by not litigating and their mental health) and the child.

  2. The enforcement of the flagrant disregard of court orders i.e. contraventions.

  3. The enforcement of court rules in terms of submitting paperwork on time.

  4. Recent publicity concerning “women don’t lie” is simply rubbish as can be seen from my case and the number of other stories including one featured in 60 minutes being that of Sarah Jane Parkinson (full 44minute version here) and would like to formally state that the number of lies like that story depicts, is something I am exposed to on a regular basis. For the government not to clearly state that “Women do Lie, Men do Lie and it is something we have to deal with and reign in when it delays and pervert’s justice” is a betrayal of duty owed to Australia by the parliament and government of Australia.

  5. How will we change the system and align it, such that everyone is focussed on the best interests of the children and aligned (as discussed in a recent blog) rather than parents hiring people to slog out their perceived best interests.

  6. Making Single Expert Witnesses (SEW) accountable (as opposed to more training)

  7. How will we reconfigure the system so that it incentivises good behaviour and makes people accountable for bad behaviour?

  8. How will we prevent the polarisation of services by gender so that the focus will not be on gender but on the children?

  9. ……….

There are so many areas in need of critical reform impacting the outcomes of the Family Separation Industry that will not be fixed through a narrow focus on legislation. I again thank Senator Hanson for getting this inquiry off the ground and hope that all members can overcome any biases they have and facilitate much needed reform, if not for the people of Australia, then for their own children and grandchildren.

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