By Gianna Huesch
When she last sat down for a meeting with the Prime Minister in October, the founder of children’s advocacy group Bravehearts, Hetty Johnston AM, came away feeling positive that the PM was “genuinely interested” and was “going to turn his mind to” the issue of a Royal Commission into Australia’s family law system.
Since then, however, the PM has announced a Royal Commission will not go ahead, citing ‘significant constitutional limitations’. Unfortunately for Mr Turnbull, Bravehearts sought further opinion on the constitutional issues, and is now insisting that the advice Mr Turnbull provided is actually false. According to Curtin University Law School’s Professor Gerard Carney and University of NSW Law Dean George Williams, there is no insurmountable constitutional barrier to setting up the Royal Commission. Ms Johnston says:
“I got a letter signed by the Prime Minister (outlining why a Royal Commission was not feasible) and we believed it and said we would work with him. (But) we also got constitutional advice to be sure and just as well because both those very well-known, esteemed, clever people disagreed with the Prime Minister. We were fed a furphy.
“(The Prime Minister’s office) saw us fold and we were tricked and lied to by the Prime Minister and that is betraying Australia’s children … it’s not he can’t protect Australia’s children. It’s that he won’t.”
It seems the gloves are well and truly off.
“Trust is my big button and when I sit with the Prime Minister in his office … you want to believe this is a man who cares about children.”
“This attempt by the office of the Prime Minister to derail calls for a Royal Commission into the family law system is deceptive and alarming,” she said.
With the constitutional issues apparently debatable, Ms Johnston calls on Mr Turnbull to provide a “rational reason” why the Royal Commission should not proceed, and says she hopes the Opposition will take up the fight.
“We don’t need to wait for (Mr Turnbull) to find his backbone,” she said. “(The Opposition) has nearly got the numbers and I’m asking every parliamentarian in there to stand up for our children.
Read Bravehearts’ statement: http://www.bravehearts.org.au/pm-misleading-public-family-law-system-reform/
Do you need assistance with a family law matter? Please contact Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our experienced solicitors here at Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400.
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