The Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, issued the following terms of reference:
Many families seeking to resolve their parenting disputes have complex needs, including emotional, sexual and physical abuse, family violence, substance abuse, neglect and mental health issues. These disputes may be able to be better addressed with the assistance of relationship support services and/or court processes that can cut across the child care & protection and family law systems.
I request that the Family Law Council consider the following matters in relation to the needs of these families:
- The possibilities for transferring proceedings between the family law and state and territory courts exercising care and protection jurisdiction within current jurisdictional frameworks (including any legal or practical obstacles to greater inter-jurisdictional co-operation).
- The possible benefits of enabling the family courts to exercise the powers of the relevant state and territory courts including children’s courts, and vice versa, and any changes that would be required to implement this approach, including jurisdictional and legislative changes.
- The opportunities for enhancing collaboration and information sharing within the family law system, such as between the family courts and family relationship services.
- The opportunities for enhancing collaboration and information sharing between the family law system and other relevant support services such as child protection, mental health, family violence, drug and alcohol, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and migrant settlement services.
- Any limitations in the data currently available to inform these terms of reference.
I request that the Family Law Council provide an interim report to me by 30 June 2015, focusing on the first and second matters and that a final report be provided to me by 30 June 2016 on all matters.
In conducting its work, the Council should have regard to the role of the family courts and family relationship services in ensuring the protection of children.
The Family Law Council should consult key stakeholders and examine work being undertaken in Western Australia around the intersection of the family law and child protection jurisdictions. The Council should also have regard to relevant reports and reviews in this area, including the two reports by Professor Richard Chisholm AM:
Call for submissions
Submissions to the Family Law Council for its current terms of reference have closed.
All responses received throughout this process have been considered, and submissions may be published online.
Where requests have been made to keep submissions confidential or where they relate to particular cases or personal information, those submissions will not appear online.
The Family Law Council provides advice and recommendations to the Attorney-General. It is not the council's role to receive information or provide advice on individual cases, or to investigate complaints or conduct in relation to the courts or police matters. Documents containing personal material have not been treated as a submission.