Family Law Reform in Australia, or Frozen Chooks Revisited Again?

Reg Graycar


This Article focuses both on the changes that have been made to the legal framework governing post-separation parenting of children in Australia, as well as the processes and discourses via which these matters have been dealt with and debated. Alone among comparable common law jurisdictions such as Canada, the United States, and England, Australia’s family law legislation, and the significant changes made to it in the past fifteen years, can be seen to have been particularly responsive to the lobbying of fathers’ rights groups. It will be suggested that changes to the legislative framework that governs family law in Australia have taken place, at best, without any clear rationale or need and perhaps more problematically, have at times flown in the face of, rather than been undertaken by reference to, the evidence-based research about post-separation parenting practices and what we know about children’s welfare or best interests, the paramount consideration that underpins decision-making in this field. The purpose of this discussion is to attempt to posit some possible explanations for this distinctive path of Australian family law “reform.”

Full Text: