Terri Butler MP, Labor for Griffith

To Improve Family Law, Family Violence Must Be Addressed

The Attorney-General’s announcement today to combine the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court falls short of addressing family violence, Terri Butler said.

“Family violence features in a high proportion of contested cases – 41%, according to former Family Court Chief Justice Diana Bryant, and any attempt to overhaul family law courts must acknowledge that,” she said.  

“Real change, not just administrative rearrangement, is needed to respond to this challenge.

“Cross examination reform must happen urgently. To work properly, cross-examination reform must be accompanied by legal assistance funding. That is why Labor has committed to providing more than $40 million to protect victims and survivors from being cross-examined by alleged perpetrators personally – and instead providing for both parties to be legally represented.

“The government must also address judicial resourcing and appointments. Vacancies must be filled and capacity increased. In appointing new judges, the government must address the present underrepresentation of women on the Federal Circuit Court, and must take into account experience in family law, and expertise in relation to, family violence.

“The government must take into account concerns expressed in the recent unanimous Social Policy and Legal Affairs Committee report into family law and family violence, including the importance of improving arrangements in relation to family report writers.

“The government must also explain why the courts’ family violence work plan, which expired in 2016, has not yet been updated, and commit to working with the new court to ensure that the family violence best practice principles are kept up to date with contemporary understandings of family violence, informed by the evidence-base being developed under the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children 2010 – 2022,” Terri Butler said.

*** If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000 ***



Labor's Plan for Skills, TAFE, and Apprenticeships

TAFE is a vital institution that provides access to quality vocational education across Australian communities. It has educated and trained millions of Australians and continues to support the learning of hundreds and thousands of others, despite on-going cuts and neglect from Mr Turnbull and the Liberals.

The Coalition has cut $3 billion from Skills, TAFE and apprenticeships funding since they came to office. In the last budget they cut a further $270 million, this time from the Skilling Australians Fund, their apprenticeship policy ‘centrepiece’. Given the insecure and diminishing nature of the fund, to date the State and Territory Governments have refused to sign up to the associated agreement.

Meanwhile, apprenticeship and TAFE numbers continue to fall. There are over 140,000 fewer apprentices and trainees in training than when the Coalition took office, a drop of more than a third. Over the same period, delivery of government-funded training hours in TAFEs have also collapsed by more than 30 per cent.

Read more

Who is Right, Minister Tehan or the Department?

Despite the government claiming that there have been remediation works done at the Bulimba Barracks site, the Defence Department has now said no remediation work has been done.

“Since 2015 I have been seeking information about contamination at the Bulimba Barracks site and what is being done to remediate the site,” Terri Butler said.

“The then Minister, Minister Tehan, told me, in writing, twice, that some remediation works had been done at the site, in response to contamination found in 2015,” she said.

But, on 23 May 2018, the Defence Department stated, in answer to a Question on Notice from February 2018:

“Defence has not undertaken any remediation works at Bulimba. In 2015, a Preliminary Site Investigation and Radiological Assessment were carried out at the site at a cost of $75,000.00. Defence does not intend to undertake further remediation on the site.”

“The government must come clean and say who is correct about whether remediation has occurred. Was the Minister correct, or is the Department correct?” Terri Butler said. 

“Locals living near the Bulimba Barracks site deserve answers,” she said.

MONDAY, 28 MAY 2018

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