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Labor concerns merger decision will weaken the Family Court

  • Decision to combine Family and Federal Circuit Courts is a mistake
  • Risk to women and children facing family violence
  • Increased costs, delays and stress for vulnerable families

The Morrison Government’s decision to abolish the Family Court is wrong and risks doing serious damage to some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

Both the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court are chronically under-resourced and over-burdened and the decision to collapse them into one jurisdiction does nothing to address this.

The decision risks undermining the decades of specialist work done to protect vulnerable families.

Shadow Attorney General Ella Haddad said the changes are of particular concern for women and children who turn to the Family Court for support and protection in disputed matters, often at a time when they are at their most vulnerable.

“This cynical move will dilute the specialist skills built up over decades in the Family Court dealing with families at what is often the most difficult time of their lives.

“The increasing number of cases involving family violence and child abuse require the specialist skills and attention provided by the Family Court.

“The stand alone specialist Family Court was established by the Whitlam Government in 1975 to address the inherent power imbalance experienced predominantly by women and children facing court.

“Abolishing the court not only trashes this legacy but presents very real risks to women and children.

“The Federal government needs to listen to the hundreds of people who oppose this radical and misconceived plan.”

Ella Haddad MP
Shadow Attorney General