• Trevor Cooper

Scott Morrison - I hope you are listening!

For many years we have watched governments bicker and act like disruptive children in our parliament. In the lead up to the 2019 Australian Federal election, party rules of both the major parties recognised the people were fed up with the backstabbing and changes in leadership between elections and altered their party processes. The sitting government listened to the people and to the surprise of many, the Australian election of the 18 May 2019 returned the sitting Liberal National Party coalition and the Prime Minister Scott Morrison to power.

The people of Australia I believe expect the government and other parties to recognise that the wisdom is not the monopoly of the sitting government and that sometimes good ideas come from opposition and minor parties and that they have a duty to adopt good ideas and contribute to make them great. Anything less is at best arrogance and at worst, a betrayal of the people of Australia

When I look at the Family Law (Self-Assessment) Bill 2019 legislation put forward by Pauline Hanson I see:

  • On 16 September 2019 a speech by the ALP Senator Patrick Dodson making largely a political statement opposing the bill claiming unworkable and would not meet objectives,

  • On 16 September 2019 a speech by the Nationals Senator Perin Davey (representing National Party and the Liberal Party Coalition) opposing the bill claiming it was doing other things and that they believe the proposal will not meet the objectives.

  • On the 18 September 2019 The Joint Select Committee on Australia's Family Law System was appointed by resolution of the Senate and resolution of the House of Representatives and

  • On 19 September 2019 by resolution of the House of Representatives.

While I have not formed a final opinion on the Family Law (Self-Assessment) Bill 2019, the concept of the proposal has some great features as rather than years of delay in putting down the facts (as largely discouraged within the current Family Separation Industry) they are required upon separation and therefore establish the baselines. The current major parties did not debate the bill and gave non-specific reasons why they would oppose and there was no effective or constructive debate and unfortunately showed us, yet again, that Parliament was not working.

We may congratulate Pauline Hanson as well played, as we finally have a broad ranging inquiry into Family Law Industry and processes, rather than narrowly focussed driven by interest groups such as the two most recent being the:

It is these two groups that have opposed this inquiry on the adversarial system and processes and may fear putting their concerns into the larger context or wish to suppress alternative perspectives and concerns. There are however elements and recommendations in both those inquiries that merit progression and some of the delays are disappointing and possibly unconscionable (such as dealing with perjury).

There will be submissions from:

  1. Those with vested interest trying to derail the inquiry (outlined above as recommendations may lessen their future influence and income), however changes MUST occur if we treasure our children, mental health and suicide and what is best for our nation.

  2. The sceptics, that may participate but: * That correctly state there has been dozens of inquiries and none of them resolved the fundamental issues and nothing of any substance will happen. * Believe whatever is done will be rolled back with the next government, * Believe the inquiry is only useful if it leads to a Royal Commission but I disputed that in a recent blog

  3. The practitioners that only see one sort of client (e.g. running a women’s Domestic Violence Shelter or Women’s Legal Service) that are unable or unwilling to see the larger picture or consider other demographics that suffer the same or other forms of domestic violence. These groups often see children as an appendage of the women, never see male victims, dismiss women that are victims of Parental Alienation (as falsely believe there must be something wrong with those women, as the women always get the children so we will ignore them) and the trauma they see is the only thing they can recognise.

  4. The people that want to tell their story and ask for solutions, often not for themselves as too late, but to prevent others suffering as they have.

  5. The people that want to tell their story and suggest solutions, often not for themselves as too late, but to prevent others suffering as they have.

I believe I am in the last category but recognise that there must be other perspectives to consider and a collective wisdom that needs to be harnessed.

  • I am hearing many complaints from people that are unable to see their MP (as the prime minister instructed members of his party to listen to the people and constituents) and so these complaints are a concern and clearly a problem with MP’s of all parties.

  • I wrote in both my book and a recent blog “The Family Separation Industry, human needs and fear” of the talk given by a former Chief Justice of the Family Court and the three types of clients that come before the court. The Family Law (Self-Assessment) Bill 2019 legislation seems to tackle 2 of the 3 categories of people that come before the court. Particularly setting out the “Goal Posts” so that people (like Nellie) are not encouraged to go to court with ridiculous expectations as outlined in my book “The Pinball Machine The Family Separation Industry and Parental Alienation”.

  • I have found it profoundly disappointing that the major parties have objected to the Family Law (Self-Assessment) Bill 2019 legislation instead of constructively debating it and enhancing it. Embracing and enhancing the bill would mean that we would have a better solution to what we currently have, with the children, left in poverty and often abusive situations as I regularly see in the current system.

To our Prime Minister Scott Morrison and all the players.

We are watching and you need to perform in this area, perhaps interim measures need to be delivered along with assurances to give the Australian population confidence. Hopefully a statement that shows a problem is being addressed and (after seeing yet another post outlining the circumstances of a recent suicide) may give hope and impact the suicide rate!

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