On 13 August 2018, the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee (‘the Committee’) released theirinto the Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties) Bill 2018 (CTH) (‘the Bill’). The findings in the report indicate that the Bill is likely to be passed. However, the Committee recommended that details regarding the funding of the measures in the Bill be made public.
The Bill was originally released in July 2017 as a draft by the Attorney-General’s Department. The amendments proposed responded to concerns by victims of family violence that they would be subjected to cross-examination by their perpetrators, leading to trauma. For more information on the draft bill, please read TimeBase’s earlier article.
The Bill proposes to amend the Act to make the following amendments:
The Bill was referred to the Committee on 28 June 2018 to ensure that the Bill was fit for its intended purpose, and to allow stakeholders to provide any input on improvements to the bill. A public inquiry was held on 1 August 2018. The following:
In addition, an issue was raised regarding the financial implications of the Bill. The explanatory memorandum of the Bill indicates that the Government will be working with National Legal Aid to determine the impacts of the Bill and ensure funding. Stakeholders have expressed concern in relation to working with National Legal Aid services and the family courts.
In response to the general intent of the Bill, thethat the Bill had achieved a balance between procedural fairness and protection of parties who have experienced family violence:
Regarding the issue of funding, thethat there should be clarity around funding from Legal Aid:
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Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties) Bill 2018 (CTH), and associated second reading speech and explanatory memorandum, available from TimeBase's LawOne service.
Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, ‘’, 13 August 2018.
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