Proposed government amendments to Bill now available

The Government has issued its proposed amendments and a supplementary Explanatory Memorandum in response to the Senate Committee Report on the Bill.

In short, it seems the proposed amendments would:

  • implement recommendation 1 by clarifying that greater weight should be given to the protection of children from harm  in determining the best interests of the child
  • implement recommendation 3 by explaining the way in which the court may use evidence of family violence orders and relevant inferences from those orders in determining the best interests of the child
  • clarifying and amending the commencement provisions so that the amendments will only apply to cases that commence after the commencement of the new laws
The Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum makes it clear that the Government proposed amendments would not alter the substance of the shared parenting laws.

The Greens have also issued some proposed amendments, which would:

  • include exposing children to family violence as a form of family violence (in the definition)
  • remove the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility when making parenting orders

The Government also tabled a replacement Explanatory Memorandum on Thursday, 13 October, which corrects some errors in the original Explanatory Memorandum and clarifies some other aspects of the Bill. You can find it (and the original) here.

As you might have gathered, debate on the Bill is yet to be resumed in the Senate (despite earlier predictions of a 12 September debate). The Bill continues to be listed in the Senate’s Notice Paper under Government Business and is listed in the Notice Paper for when the Senate next sits on 31 October.

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