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He marked the occasion by staging a protest outside the Family Court in Lismore along with a couple of other dads who have been through lengthy court cases in order to see their children.
“Every adjournment is a sentence for the non-custodial parent,” Adam said.
The court has ordered that Adam be given supervised visit with his daughter every fortnight. He drove to Coffs Harbour for these visits on a number of occasions, but the mother decided it was too stressful for their daughter and just stopped coming.
“I don’t get any photos, artworks, news from what’s happening at school – nothing. She (the mother) ignores everything (the court ordered) and there is no penalty.”
Many of the delays in his case are because the judge is based in Townsville and only occasionally put on the Brisbane circuit, which includes the Lismore Family Court.
Adam’s story resonated with several passers-by who offered support while The Northern Star was visiting.
“We went through it and everyone came out bitter and twisted. It’s a f**ked system,” one woman offered.
“So many people, particularly men, have told me not to bother, not to feed the system and the lawyers, to wait until your kid grows up and that they will come back to you then,” Adam said. “But I don’t want to do that.”
One father said in order to be eligible for Legal Aid, he had to give up his job.
Adam has spent so much time studying the legal proceedings of his case, he is now studying law at SCU and one day hopes to be able to help other dads in Family Court matters.
but only one nation knows it, that one nation will win.
Retired Family Court judge Richard Chisholm, now an Australian National University adjunct professor, has written a blueprint for overhauling Australia’s Family Law Act, and wants the laws to be changed, apparently to remove the prospect of Shared Parenting as a potential outcome in Family Law Court proceedings.
This is nothing new for Chisholm, who has a penchant for writing reports and reviews that have consistent themes, notably that Shared Parenting laws must be removed from Australia’s Family Law act.
In this new blueprint, Chisholm has lamented that the current laws have lead to confusion in the minds of many parents, who he claims, falsely believe that children are entitled to have a meaningful relationship (including parenting time) with both parents in the event of divorce.
It stands to reason that Chisholm therefore believes that Australia’s Shared Parenting laws don’t in fact promote Shared Parenting, so parents should not expect Shared Parenting outcomes, or alternatively they do expect Shared Parenting but should not.
According to Chisholm, because of this alleged mis-conception, he presumably wants any references to Shared Parenting (and synonyms), as well as terms like “Equal Shared Parental Responsibility”, “Significant and Substantial Parenting Time” and “Equal Parenting Time”, to be removed from the act, along with about another fifth of Part VII of the Family Law Act.
He wants this whole section replaced with a presumption that “it is in a child’s best interests for both parents to continue to have parental responsibility“.
Well if not let me give you a hint, from my reading what he is suggesting is that he wants the Family Law act to go back to a time prior to the 2006 Shared Parenting amendments, where parental responsibility was a meaningless term that in practice amounted to sole parental responsibility, the beholder being the parent who had physical custody.
Chisholm hopes and expectations however are not supported by the historical facts underlying the basis of his reports.
One claim by Chisholm and others regarding the proposed family law reforms post 2006 has been a mis-representation of the history of these amendments.
We now have a case where the public is being led to believe that Australia’s Shared Parenting laws were never intended to increase Shared Parenting, bizarre as this may seem given the term that these amendments are almost universally known as is Australia’s “Shared Parenting” laws.
Despite Chisholm’s misleading claim, the reality is that the core driving force behind the 2006 Family Law amendments was the principle of Shared Parenting (being defined in its simplest form as equal, or substantial and significant shared living arrangements.) This was underscored and emphasised by the Prime Minister of the time, John Howard in numerous instances.
This was ultimately the primary goal of these 2006 family law amendments, and no amount of revisionism or re-casting can change the historical foundation and motivation behind these laws.
If anyone has any doubts about the intent of the laws, I recommend you go back to the foundation bi-partisan report in 2003, supported by both the Coalition and the ALP, called “Every Picture Tells a Story.”
Although the final legislation did not adopt all the recommendations, the intent of the changes were very clearly articulated in this report, despite the compromise of the 2 -hurdles to Shared Parenting (incorporating Equal Shared Parental Responsibility as the first hurdle), being a necessary compromise to seal bi-artisan support for the report.
The report however in intent and purpose is unequivocal and reads:
“Despite the intentions of the Family Law Reform Act of 1995, shared parenting and shared physical care have not become a reality for the vast majority of separated families.”
In response to this failure in the 1995 Family Law changes, the Committee recommended that the new Shared Parenting amendments (eventually enacted in 2006) should contain the presumption that children should “be given maximum opportunity of spending significant amounts of time with each parent.”
The report’s intentions were clear, that there be a Presumption of Equal Shared Parental Responsibility (the first hurdle), that would be struck down if certain events occurred, such as family violence, huge distances between households, or other relevant issues preventing Shared Parenting.
If such events did not occur, then the Courts were compelled to order Shared Parenting, either Equal Parenting Time, or Substantial and Significant Parenting time, if in the child’s best interest, and if not ordered, the Judge had to explain why not.
To illustrate this mis-representation by Chisholm more recently, in 2011 these Shared Parenting laws were amended by the then Gillard government to make it more difficult for some parents to get Shared Parenting arrangements with their children if there were allegations of family violence (despite it already being part of the 2006 amendments).
In response to these proposed changes, George Christensen, in opposition at the time, stated on record that:
“What is inside this Trojan horse, the malicious code that will infect society, is an attempt to undermine equal access for both parents. This change would invite the court to ignore the requirement to consider the second pillar—the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both parents.”
A recent article reported in the Australian on Chisholm’s proposed family law act reform blueprint, further distorts the original intent of the 2006 Shared Parenting Family Law amendments, either deliberately, mistakenly or by complicity by the journalist involved, Nicola Berkovic.
The article suggests that Australian family law act could be simplified, by removing some convoluted section in the act.
The journalist, Nicola Berkovic, then used comments by other notable family law spokes-people supporting the above premise, to imply that this view also includes their agreement that Australia’s Shared Parenting laws should also be ditched.
In fact, as is the case with the pre-eminent expert in family law and the man sometimes referred to as the architect of the 2006 Shared Parenting laws, Professor Patrick Parkinson, this is not his position at all.
In a similar tactic, Anti-Shared Parenting advocates like Chisholm have also used the guise that Shared Parenting laws expose children of separated families to increased risks of child neglect, child abuse or child murder, and yet the subsequent reviews of the 2006 Shared Parenting laws plus numerous other studies and research found that nothing could be further from the truth.
More on this other mis-representation often peddled by the usual suspects, in another article.
OUR CHILDREN ASK QUESTIONS SEEKING ANSWERS; BUT NO JUDGE CAN HEAR THEM: WHY?
Reform to equate automatically to 50% paternal rights, or as otherwise can be extracted from DNA evidence no VRO DVO required automated system to target breaches of that law
Published on Jun 13, 2014
An un-wed father struggles and fights the system to see his child. Based on a true story.
A specialist court for domestic violence and sexual assault cases would be established by a NSW Labor government, deputy opposition leader Linda Burney will announce on Sunday.
The election commitment aims to reduce the trauma experienced by victims going to court by employing specialist judges and lawyers, designing courtrooms to ensure safety and privacy, and allowing victims to give evidence remotely.
Labor has committed to trials in metropolitan Sydney, Wollongong and the Hunter.
“We have a massive under-reporting rate in sexual assault, and half the conviction rate of any other area of criminality,” Karen Willis, executive officer of Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia, said.
Ms Willis undertook a Churchill Fellowship to study the operation of specialist domestic violence courts in Canada, South Africa, Britain and the United States. She believes this approach could increase the reporting of assaults and conviction rates in Australia.
Delays in reporting a sexual assault in NSW are often interpreted by courts as “making up a story”.
“We know with trauma, that victims go numb and shut down,” she said.
Ms Willis says 70 per cent of sexual assaults are committed by a friend, family member or colleague, and a third in a social setting, such as a date. Because of this, grooming tactics used by offenders prior to an attack should also be examined in court.
“There needs to be a rethink of how these crimes are prosecuted, what evidence is provided and what the jury considers. The best way to do this is a specialist court,” Ms Willis said.
Ms Burney said domestic violence was a national crisis and the rate of these assaults was rising in NSW, reaching 27,000 last year – or 74 a day.
“Labor will make reducing domestic violence a top priority in government, and this includes protecting and supporting victims and bringing perpetrators to justice as quickly as possible and in a way which minimises trauma to the victim,” she said.
Labor’s women’s spokeswoman Sophie Cotsis said every woman and child had the right to be safe in their own home: “Many other jurisdictions around the world have different specialist domestic violence and sexual assault courts operating at the moment – we need to see this implemented in NSW.”
In South Africa, magistrates undergo specialist training to sit on sexual assault courts where victims can give evidence by CCTV, the court is closed for cross examination and there are separate waiting rooms and entries for the accused and the victim.
There are 200 specialist courts in the US, 100 in Britain and 50 in Canada. Labor wants an expert committee to determine the best model for a domestic violence and sexual assault court in NSW.
Specialist courts for drug-related crime have been used in NSW for 15 years, with research showing people sentenced through these courts less likely to reoffend.
The Hunter recorded 2700 cases of domestic violence and 1100 sexual or indecent assaults in the past year.
The Illawarra recorded 1043 domestic violence cases and 450 sexual or indecent assaults.
Ms Willis said that, instead of prison sentences, a “more clever” approach to preventing repeat offences would be court-mandated behaviour change programs.
Welcome to Sydney
Sydney plays host to the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia’s 16th National Family Law Conference in October 2014.
The National Family Law Conference is the leading and largest regular legal event held in Australia. The host city of Sydney welcomes delegates to enjoy its inspiring location, magnificent beaches, iconic venues, landmark attractions and cultural events.
The Sydney 2014 Conference will offer not only an outstanding collection of speakers from Australia and overseas, but will introduce a dynamic format aimed at encouraging the exchange of ideas and increasing the level of interaction between presenters and the audience.
The Conference theme is “Family Law – Evolution or Revolution”. With the assistance of our National Advisory Board, the organising committee has developed a program that will benefit and challenge all delegates, regardless of their experience or type of practice. Sessions will cover the most up to date developments in the law, practical issues for Family Lawyers, and input from other disciplines as well as examining how our system can be improved and how those who interact with it can foster change.
The local organising committee is under the co-chairmanship of Michael Kearney SC and Paul Doolan. Together with the assistance of their hardworking committee, they promise not only an outstanding professional program, but an exciting series of social events and family activities to ensure an opportunity to renew old acquaintances and foster new bonds with colleagues.
We look forward to seeing you in Sydney in 2014.
Family Law Section
Law Council Australia
Shaun Kumeroa, 42,was shot dead after emerging from a car with a gun during a four-hour siege at Inala.
Friends and family said he would be missed and they were in shock after his dramatic death.
“He was certainly a nice guy (but) like anybody had his problems. He had some personal issues,’’ one relative, who did not want to be named, said.
Mr Kumeroa, who had been living on Chevron Island on the Gold Coast, recently split from his partner and was missing their young daughter.
Police spent almost four hours negotiating with Mr Kumeroa, who was armed with a handgun and had refused to get out of a car parked at an Inala unit block Monday afternoon.
When he did suddenly emerge from the car he appeared to raise his gun infront of police before being shot several times.
Shelly Redding and her partner Nigel Butkowski were in their townhouse when the drama unfolded in the car park of their complex.
Mr Butkowski briefly spoke to Mr Kumeroa from his bedroom window on the second floor of his home and tried to calm him down.
He said at one moment he made eye contact with him from about 20m away.
“I said ‘don’t do it mate, don’t do it’,” Mr Butkowski said.
“He wasn’t erratic, he was basically sitting there looking straight ahead.
“In a few hours I only saw a couple of dozen moves.”
The couple said they stayed in the house about three hours before an officer told them they were in the line of fire and SERT evacuated them after climbing over their back fence.
“They were saying to him ‘get out, get out, drop all weapons,” Ms Redding said.
“‘Get out of the car and put your hands on your head’.”
She said they understood the man told police he had been trying to see his daughter but was unable to.
“The policeman said they would ring (his daughter) for him,” Ms Redding said.
When they rolled water to him she said he replied: “He said you could have brought it down I’m not going to shoot anyone.”
The couple were evacuated about 30 minutes before he was shot.
“You could see straight away he wasn’t in his right mind,” Ms Redding said
“After all the hours he was slumped back on the car seat.
“He must have been coming down … and thought ‘Gee, oh my God, what have I done’.
“And it was way too late.”
OFFICERS had no choice but to shoot a gunman after a lengthy stand-off in Brisbane, the Queensland Police Union says.
Police spent almost four hours negotiating with the man, who was armed with a handgun and refused to get out of a car that was parked at an Inala unit block on Monday.
Officers shot dead the 42-year-old when he threatened police.
Reports that he’d pointed his weapon at officers are expected to form part of an investigation by the ethical standards command.
A report is also being prepared for the coroner.
Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said the officers appeared to have no choice and were acting in self defence.
“That is the difficult and dangerous nature of police work.
“Things happen so quickly. You have to make instantaneous decisions, there are no other options,” he told ABC radio.
He said the officers involved would be having a difficult time, and the union would support them, including through the ethical standards investigation.
“I can say when you’ve used force, and things have changed dramatically, you never get over it. You have to learn to live with it and it is not easy.”
The Courier-Mail reported heavily armed police called to a “drug deal gone wrong’’ shot dead a man after he pulled a gun on them after a four-hour siege at Inala in Brisbane’s southwest.
Specialised SERT officers surrounded the man, using the heavily armoured BearCat vehicle for cover as he held them at bay from the front seat of a car.
Attempts to negotiate with the man broke down when he suddenly got out of the vehicle and pointed what appeared to be a handgun at the officers.
Live-streamed footage from television helicopters captured the shooting, which is now subject to an internal Ethical Standards Command investigation.
“It all changed so quick,” said Chris Polson, who watched it unfold.
“(It) was all calm, then all of a sudden the guy got out of his car.”
A resident from the Gannet St apartment block said he was working on his car when he saw police arrive.
“Four policemen got out, went in, went around to where the car was sitting,” he said.
“They saw a gun and said ‘gun, gun, gun, drop the gun, drop the gun, drop the gun’. I got my little arse around behind the car. Then everything broke loose from there.”
The resident of the seven-unit complex said he heard five shots.
Police arrived at the units about noon and were attempting to speak to the man when he produced what appeared to be a handgun.
An area of the suburb was put into lockdown.
SERT officers arrived with the armoured vehicle and parked it alongside the man’s car, keeping automatic weapons drawn on him throughout the incident.
The officers could be seen surrounding the man, two of them perched on the bonnet of the BearCat.
Residents were told to stay indoors as the agitated man remained in his vehicle.
Police attempted to calm the 42-year-old, giving him a mobile phone so he could speak to a police negotiator and tossing him a bottle of water as the seige continued.
But shortly before 4pm, the man, who could be seen moving back and forth in his seat, suddenly emerged from the car with the gun.
“I can confirm … a male person has been shot. Unfortunately that person is deceased. The police Ethical Standards Command are investigating that incident and the matter will be put before the coroner,’’ Inspector Richard Kroon said.
“We were hopeful that this would be a peaceful resolution – that’s what we always strive to achieve and unfortunately this matter hasn’t turned out that way.”
Police, then paramedics worked on the man but he died at the scene.
“It’s a bit of a reminder about what police can encounter on any day,” Insp Kroon said.
The man was not a resident of the unit complex but was known to frequent the area.
The tragic incident coincided with National Police Remembrance Day, and Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said it was a poignant reminder of what it meant to be a police officer.
He said the incident demonstrated the unpredictable nature of police work and the real threat that could occur while police were protecting the community.