Australia’s family court system is in crisis – it’s time we considered adopting a system used in New Zealand, which could be the answer, writes Jennifer Hetherington.
Recent reports of more than 300 pending matters in a backlog at Brisbane with only two judges trying to work through the logjam highlighted the critical need for an urgent overhaul of our family law system.
There is reluctance on behalf of the government to free up more money for wider Family Court matters.
A Federal Circuit Court judge from Brisbane is being sent to Rockhampton to help them, but this also strips Brisbane when we need more judges.
The Family Law Act has turned 40 but, as far as funding goes, we’re not getting any cake. The whole system needs an overhaul.
What we need is one court to fix family court matters and also domestic violence matters because quite often they are interlinked. At present our family law system is stretched across various State and Federal laws and needs an urgent overhaul to fast-track cases and especially domestic violence protection orders.
Domestic violence victims here have to navigate different courts and state and Federal law for family law matters, such as seeking urgent protection orders. The system is ponderous and badly fails several victims.
By Stefanie Garber
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