Time to restore procedural fairness and justice to the Australian Family Law System – 19Feb20

Below is an article in the Courier Mail reporting on reactions to my submission to the family law inquiry.
I am deeply honoured and delighted to be so heavily criticised by those who clearly epitomise the current status quo.

I shall carry such a criticism as a badge of immense honour and satisfaction.
To be frank, I would be deeply disturbed if such individuals actually supported any of my sensible recommendations in the submission.
My recommendations are aiming at the dismantling of the present status quo which these individuals so obviously epitomise.
They address all the relevant matters concerning the unsatisfactory operation of the family law system, and they have already received widespread community support.
It is time to restore procedural fairness and justice to the family law system.
Marriage is a contract. If the law gives a right to claim damages for breaches of contract in the civil and commercial arenas, why should marriage be the only contract that may be breached with impunity?
Of course, false accusations of domestic violence should lead to severe penalties, including criminal charges and the loss of child custody.
Moreover, child support payments via the Child Support Agency have been transformed into a perverse incentive to unilateral divorce and parental alienation.
Another recommendation is that the family courts must be instructed to strictly apply the general rule of shared custody. This specific recommendation seeks to align the law with the best scientific evidence.
Finally, I would like to remind the President of the Queensland Law Society and the President of the Law Council of Australia that their opinion has no relevance in this inquiry. According to the Prime Minister of Australia:
“This inquiry will allow the parliament to hear directly from families and listen to them as they give their accounts of how the family law system has been impacting them and how it interacts with the child support system… The lawyers have had their say through the Law Reform Commission… But as we consider that, I think it’s very important that we go and hear from people directly”.
In other words, such lawyers who epitomise the present status quo are most definitely not welcome to participate in this present family law inquiry.
Let’s hope the parliamentary members hear what the Prime Minister has so clearly stated, and do not dare to betray the confidence of the Australian people.
Professor Augusto Zimmermann LLB, LLM, PhD

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