Exposure Draft of the Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties) Bill 2017

The Attorney-General has released an Exposure Draft of the Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties) Bill 2017 (‘the Bill’). The Bill contains proposed amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) to address stakeholder and community concerns regarding direct cross-examination of parties in family law court proceedings involving family violence.

The Government welcomes comments from all interested parties.

The Australian Government is committed to taking action to address family violence, and to improving the protections offered through the family law system to those affected by family violence. The proposed amendments provide that a legislative ban on direct cross‑examination will apply in specific circumstances, for example, where a party has been convicted of, or is charged with, an offence involving violence, or a threat of violence, to the other party. The court will also have discretion to apply the legislative ban in other cases where allegations of family violence are made.
The proposed amendments seek to maintain procedural fairness for all parties by allowing self‑represented parties to ask questions through an intermediary, appointed by the court.
The Exposure Draft of the Bill, a Consultation Paper that provides detail and poses questions for consideration about the proposed amendments, and an electronic submission template can be found
at: www.ag.gov.au/Consultations/Pages/Family-violence-cross-examination-amendments.aspx
Electronic Submissions can be sent to familylawunit@ag.gov.au until COB 25 August 2017. Please prepare your submission using the submission template and save the document in .doc or .docx format.
Submissions will be published on the Attorney-General’s Department website unless you indicate on the submission template that you want all, or part, of your submission to remain confidential.
Yours Sincerely,
Family Violence Taskforce
Australian Attorney-General’s Department
National Circuit Barton ACT 2600
familylawunit@ag.gov.au |www.ag.gov.au