A NEW SPRING DAWNS
Welcome to Springtime! After a crisp and seemingly lengthy winter, how refreshing is it to bask in some long-awaited sunlight? From the team at Calley Family Lawyers we wish you all the best for an active and fulfilling Spring.
As our days become longer and warmer and our gardens once again blossom, it is apparent that change is in the air (and not just for those afflicted by pollen-related allergies)!
Australia has a newly-minted Prime Minister, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP who has pledged to lead an innovative and reformist Government. As part of its list of priorities, the Commonwealth Government has placed family law-related issues squarely on the legislative agenda.
In one of the Prime Minister’s first major actions, key steps have been taken to address the scourge of family violence. In the Autumn 2015 edition of Family Law Solutions, we highlighted the efforts of Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty in raising awareness about the prevalence of family violence in our society.
Prime Minister Turnbull has labelled domestic violence “a national disgrace” and has announced a $100 million package aimed at tackling the issue. Some of the refreshing initiatives to be implemented include:
Shortly after the announcement of these reforms, the Australian Government refused to grant a visa to US singer Chris Brown who had been convicted of domestic violence related offences against his former partner, singer, Rhianna.
- Trialling GPS trackers for perpetrators
- Distributing smart phones to potential victims
- Funding the changing of locks, installation of CCTV cameras and conducting security risk assessments of victim’s homes
- Expanding the 1800RESPECT national telephone hotline
- Establishing specialised domestic violence units to provide coordinated access to legal, social work and cultural liaison services for women in a single location
- Appointing more local case workers to coordinate support for women including housing, safety and budgeting services
- Expanding domestic violence-alert training programs for police, social workers, emergency department staff and community workers to better support women
Coincidentally, Victoria’s State Coroner, Judge Ian Gray delivered his findings into the death of Luke Batty. In concluding that Luke’s death was a deliberate act engineered by his father, Judge Gray also recommended that perpetrators should have regulated mental health assessments, police and child protection agencies should have better information sharing processes and the police needed to reduce delays in laying family violence charges, serving intervention orders and executing warrants.
These recent actions reveal a Prime Minister who is not afraid to embrace change and questions abound whether the marriage equality debate will be fast-tracked as part of the national agenda.
Attempts by the previous Tony Abbott-led Government to increase filing fees in the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court (symbolised by an increase in the divorce filing fee from $845 to $1200) were twice rejected by the Senate. Due to a funding shortfall for both courts, this shapes as a challenge for the Turnbull Government in determining whether a third attempt will be made.
On our own front, we farewell Honorary Consultant, Dr Fiona Kelly, who was recently appointed to the position of Associate Professor at La Trobe University law school and we thank her for her contribution to the practice.
Firm Principal, Vic Rajah was recently invited to present papers to Masters students at the Advanced Family Law program conducted by the College of Law. He has also collaborated with the esteemed barrister’s clerk, Pattersons List to present a topical paper on ‘Setting aside Financial Agreements’ in a recent presentation to lawyers from the Mornington Peninsula Lawyers’ Association.
Your support and ongoing confidence in Calley Family Lawyers is greatly appreciated. We are always keen to develop and strengthen our collaborative partnerships and Vic and his team look forward to assisting your friends, family and associates with your family law needs.