Another Australian government review of family law is coming to an end – the latest of nearly 70 reviews, reports or investigations into a 45-year-old piece of legislation, the Family Law Act 1975. The Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System tabled its principal recommendations in the Australian Parliament on 15 March 2021, having completed its Interim Report last year.
The Committee’s recommendations have focused far too strongly on the family law system and on ways to improve this intrinsically harmful way of dealing with family breakdown, instead of creating the paradigm shift that Australian children and families so desperately needed. With the devastating, background impacts of COVID on family life, even in Australia, the Committee had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to recognise the importance and fragility of families and to recognise that family breakdown must be treated as a major health and social issue, not as a legal issue. Tragically, for another generation of children, that opportunity has been missed, as Dr David Curl, CEO of the Two Wishes Foundation and our Australian partners For Kids Sake, explained in the Australian national newspapers in advance of the report’s release: