An image of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in crosshairs on the Sunshine Coast Daily front page prompts a complaint to the Australian Press Council.
Australian feminist, environmental activist and whistleblower Isla MacGregor gave a compelling case against Amnesty International’s “Sex Work policy” at the Women’s International League For Peace and Freedom (WILPF) forum in Hobart.
(ed: this is from 2015 but still relevant now)
“Don’t let anything defeat you.”
These were words of advice Her Excellency Governor of NSW Margaret Beazley AO QC shared earlier this month in an inspiring speech to an audience of students, parents and the broader Rosewood school community including principal Ms Elizabeth Stone & Governor Lucy Brogden.
Leading by example, with a distinguished legal career, including as the first woman to be appointed as the President of the NSW Court of Appeal, Her Excellency Margaret Beazley spoke eloquently and modestly.
The Child Support Agency was established in 1988 in the wake of Bob Hawke’s declaration that “no child shall live in poverty”. Initially the Australian Tax Office collected and enforced payments, before the scheme was handed over to the Department of Social Services and the Department of Human Services – which complainants can find themselves bouncing between.
Kay Cook, associate professor in the Department of Social Sciences at Swinburne University, says: “The tax office never wanted to deal with child support. It viewed its role as collecting income, not dispersing private income. That’s sort of the problem that child support has always had, that it’s private money being transferred, rather than public money.”
Cook’s research includes analysis of child support systems in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US. “In Australia we’re really cheeky in that single parents’ family tax benefits are typically calculated on how much child support they expect a parent to receive, not so much on how much they actually receive,” she says. “The government gets the savings of reducing family tax benefits so there is no incentive to the government to collect child support because if anything it costs them money.”
There’s also little or no will, she says, to solve the problem generally.
“It feels as though Australians are encouraged to look at me as somehow defective and deserving of suffering because I don’t have a male patron,” Amanda says. “And it’s at my former patron’s discretion as to whether or not me and his child are worthy of being supported.”
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has ruled in favour of more than 12 paedophiles, rapists and sex offenders in the last five years, allowing them to work with children.
A man who was groomed and abused by one of the paedophiles told the ABC allowing the man to work with children was a huge risk.
‘He shouldn’t be allowed to have a working with children permit, simply because he’s been convicted of paedophilia,’ he said.
‘It’s like putting the kid in the candy store and walking out and all the jars are open.’
There are several pressing areas for change, but most important is surely how the system responds to family violence. While state jurisdictions have pressed ahead with reforms following processes such as the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence and the Queensland Not Now, Not Ever report, our national family law system governed by the Commonwealth has responded more slowly to growing community demand to address this scourge.
For parents who end up in the courts to resolve their parenting issues, 85 per cent report a history of emotional abuse and more than half report physical hurt from their former partner. Working in legal aid, we see this, too, with most of our family law cases involving family violence.
The flagship recommendation in the commission’s report is to consider scrapping our national family law courts altogether and working with the states and territories to merge family law into the state courts that already deal with family violence and child protection.
But, if adopted, this recommendation will take years to progress, and on its own won’t make the system safer or fairer, so quicker solutions are needed.
There’s a lot at stake for women in the upcoming election, with some extraordinary candidates and parties popping up in our electoral landscape. It makes the role of feminism in holding men to account more important than ever.
One of Australia’s leading feminists says she has been silenced from telling voters that the transgender founder of a new women’s rights political party was born a biological man.