Friends with Parliament event on family law reforms
15 September 2023
From L-R: Ms Louise Glanville, the Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP, Ms Alicia Payne MP, Ms Elena Rosenman, and Mr Luke Murphy.
On 7 September 2023, the Law Council President, Mr Luke Murphy, attended Parliament House to speak at the Parliamentary Friends of Ending Violence Against Women and Children panel event to discuss family law reforms. Other speakers at the event included the Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP (Commonwealth Attorney-General), Ms Louise Glanville (Chair of National Legal Aid) and Ms Elena Rosenman (Chair of Women’s Legal Services Australia).
This event was a welcome opportunity for the Law Council to speak to interested Parliamentarians and stakeholders regarding the proposed family law reforms, given its close involvement in consultations on the Bill in the course of 2023.
In his presentation, Mr Murphy welcomed the Family Law Amendment Bill 2023, particularly the proposed repeal of the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility, noting that parties are agreeing to potentially unsafe parenting arrangements in the shadow of a misunderstood law. He noted that, should the Bill pass, it will be essential for the legal profession, and the broader community, to be educated on what these changes will mean in practice.
Mr Murphy also emphasised that Australia’s family law system cannot be fixed by legislative intervention alone. He spoke of the critical need for greater funding for Australia’s courts and legal assistance sector to promote access to justice and improve outcomes for parties and impacted children. Mr Murphy also raised concerns that it is increasingly financially unviable for members of the private profession to undertake legal aid work.
The Law Council will continue to monitor the progress of the Bill in the Senate and looks forward to engaging with the Government on further tranches of reforms to the family law system.