Labor’s shake-up will lead to more broken families

Labor’s proposal to remove the equal shared parental responsibility provision from family law will lead to more broken families and unjust outcomes for both children and parents.

One Nation leader Senator Pauline Hanson said Labor had form in supporting an unbalanced family law and child support system.

“Labor has tried to remove this provision before, when Graham Perrett introduced family law amendments in 2020,” Senator Hanson said. “It ignores the truth that both parents are equally responsible for bringing a child into the world, and therefore share equal responsibility for raising that child no matter what.

“Labor may have examined the recommendations of the family law inquiry I recommended the Coalition establish, but it doesn’t appear to have looked at the evidence presented in submissions and hearings by parents who’ve been through the system like I have.

“That evidence was quite clear – the system is weighted heavily against fathers. Lawyers take advantage of this, creating a highly adversarial system which can be weaponised by vexatious or vindictive partners.

“Under this system, step-fathers have more parental rights than actual fathers and children are treated as footballs. It’s in no-one’s interest – especially the child’s.”

Senator Hanson said that while she welcomed Labor’s support for expanding and extending the Lighthouse Project, she was disappointed sensible changes to the child support system were not being considered.

“The system needs to be made much fairer,” she said. “My recommendations would have done that: assessing net rather than gross incomes; ensuring parents weren’t left with annual incomes below $27,000; assessing salaries on a 38 hour week; basing child support on the number of children at the time of separation and not on additional children to other partners; assessing residential costs individually; including Family Tax Benefit in assessing incomes but excluding lump sums such as Workcover, TPI or superannuation payments; and having payments paid to a separate child support account.

“I will continue to advocate these measures to fix Australia’s broken child support system, and continue to advocate for a fairer family law system.”

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