DIVORCE LAWS: Family court harmful – by Colin Jory
Re-printed with permission form News Weekly, April 14, 2012: Click here for original article
The Americans have a well-known saying for politicians, “It’s the economy, stupid!” — meaning that what matters most for people are economic issues. It’s false.
What matters most to people, and most affects their well-being, are close relationships, and above all family relationships. These are areas where politicians and bureaucrats can do only limited good but almost limitless harm, and huge harm is being done.
Here are some facts regarding Australia today. If there’s a marriage or relationship break-up involving children, and custody or access is in dispute, the parties must submit to an inquisition by Family Court social-workers or the latters’ pet psychologists regarding their past behaviour towards and in the presence of the children.
A major purpose of the exercise is to identify “family violence” by the male, with this being defined as any behaviour “actual or threatened” which causes any member of the family “to fear for, or reasonably to be apprehensive about, his or her personal well-being or safety”.
The term “well-being” is infinitely elastic, and meant to be, as are the other catch-all Family Court categories of “family violence”, such as “psychological violence/abuse”, “emotional violence/abuse”, and “controlling behaviours”.
If the father admits to having shouted back at the mother, that will be called emotional or psychological violence, and he will be deemed to be a violent, abusive parent who had created an abusive environment in which his children were at risk of psychological harm. This will result in his being denied custody of or access to his children, or being permitted only restricted or supervised access. Of course, if he had ever smacked the child for misbehaviour, that is, according to the Family Law Court online guidelines, physical child-abuse and he might be denied access altogether. (If the mother had smacked the child, that will be regarded as much less serious.)
Go to the Family Law Court web-site, to “Family Violence”. You will be told that “the courts have a particular concern about the immediate and possible longer-term adverse impacts on children who experience or witness family violence”, and that: “Family violence covers a broad range of controlling behaviours. They are commonly of a physical, sexual and/or psychological nature, and typically involve fear, harm, intimidation and emotional deprivation. This may include verbal abuse, threats, harassment, intimidation and controlling behaviours, such as limiting access to friends, relatives, finances etc.”
You will discover links to a plethora of Domestic Violence industry sites and publications endorsed and recommended by the Family Court. Follow the links and you will find yourself in a surreal Orwellian nightmare-world, stumbling through a maze of twisted anti-male obsessions, grossly distorted perspectives on commonplace family conflicts and ordinary human personality traits, bizarre Orwellian Newspeak definitions of what constitutes “abuse” and “violence”, and psychologically diseased malignity from beginning to end.
You will find “educational” sites where children are encouraged to report their father to the police if they “feel uncomfortable” about the way he talks to their mother (“emotional violence”). I’ve been at a Year 7 presentation on “bullying” where the same was told to the students by the visiting “experts” (and I took notes).
Of course, the children are not told that the likely result will be cross-examination of everyone in the family by interventionist “family violence” social workers backed by the police; examination of the children by Domestic Violence industry pet psychologists to ascertain if they are in an “abusive environment” and being “psychologically harmed”; and in all likelihood the issuing of an apprehended violence order (AVO) against the father forbidding him to go near the home, the mother or the children — regardless of the wishes of the mother or children.
There is also a good chance that the parents will be told to separate, and that if they don’t the children will be taken from them and fostered out — that’s common.
What you will not find in the Family Court site, or in any of the linked sites, is anything resembling an ordinary, balanced perspective on human behaviour and the normal vicissitudes of married life; any acknowledgment that there is any kind or degree of vexation by a father of a mother or child which does not constitute Newspeak “family violence”; any warning against false or exaggerated claims of abuse; anything about a child having a duty of love, respect, obedience and loyalty to parents; anything at all on the importance of stable family life, or of the father remaining in a child’s life even after marital break-up.
You will find nothing on the harmful effect on children of marital break-up; or of the irreversibly destructive effect on family life of a child informing on his or her parents to the Domestic Violence industry. There are no warnings that some children will allege “family violence” to get revenge on one or both parents for disciplining them or denying their wishes, or to cause grief to a stepfather.
Ugliest of all, it is transparent from the Family Court site that the court is actively touting for allegations by mothers against fathers of Newspeak “family violence” or abuse, and signalling that it will regard sympathetically any script she might act out on how she and the children have psychologically suffered.
Although Newspeak “domestic violence” is treated throughout the Family Court site as a violation of and offence against another, the inquisitions to discover it are conducted by a non-judicial sub-judiciary of “family consultants” (thus called in the Family Law Act), and comprising Family Court social workers and their favoured outside “care professionals”, albeit on delegation on a case-by-case basis by the court’s justices.
These sub-inquisitors rule on guilt or innocence of offence, yet those they examine have none of the fundamental protections of Westminster law. There is no right to have a legal representative present; no transparency, in that the public is not permitted to witness the proceedings; no presumption of innocence; no right even to know hostile testimony under consideration, let alone to cross-examine hostile witnesses; no right to refuse to make self-incriminatory statements; no right to silence.
“I feel” allegations of discomfort are treated as proof of abuse. Proceedings are not recorded, so subsequent review of the process is difficult. Moreover, although the sub-inquisitors are notoriously feminist-dominated and biased against males — and often triumphalistically flaunt the fact — according to the court’s March 2009 internal guidelines, if a father is ruled by them to be guilty of family violence but rejects the verdict, the Family Court judges are to interpret his obduracy as proof that he is incorrigibly violent.
Some of the Family Court justices are as grossly biased as most of their sub-judiciary, and have obviously been selected for that very reason. I know of some Family Court justices who seek to live up to the highest standards of Westminster legal principles, but others flaunt their contempt for those principles. Some high in the Court’s judicial hierarchy publicly lobbied in the press against John Howard’s “shared parenting” reforms to the Family Law Act intended to mitigate slightly the Court’s chronic bias against fathers — reforms since discarded by the Gillard government (with only token protests from the Abbott opposition).
Moreover, conferences and seminars are conducted for the Family Court judiciary by Domestic Violence industry femocrats to ensure it follows the policies of their vile cult. (Some of the proceedings have been published by the court itself.)
How could all this have come about? For a start, it must be understood that the Family Law Act and the Family Court are merely tentacles of the anti-family octopus, the head of which consists in the ideologies which dominate in the flaky university sub-humanities departments — social work, psychology, sociology, women’s studies, education — which have the most influence on the thinking of the social welfare, family oversight, and teaching bureaucracies.
For instance, a key dogma is that “parenthood” is social, not biological. This is at the root of the current drive for homosexual “marriage”, and is already embedded in laws here and overseas forbidding “discrimination” that favours heterosexual committed couples (let alone married ones) as against homosexual committed couples for adoption and foster-care.
It is why, in social-work Newspeak, the parents of a child are commonly called the “birth-parents” or the “birth-givers” — something brilliantly satirised in a South Park episode — the implication being that they can be superseded with no serious harm to the child by other, non-biological “parents”, same-sex or opposite-sex, decided by social workers or the Family Court.
It is why a constant mantra of the interventionist social workers is, “Children were never meant to be brought up by a nuclear family; they were meant to be brought up by a whole village”. What is meant by “village” is the Global Village, as represented by the social workers and kindred enlightened power-groups.
It is why the controversial jurist Alastair Nicholson, when Chief Justice of the Family Court, threw out with scorn the contention of a plaintiff that he should not have to pay child support for the child of his dissolved marriage because he had ascertained by genetic testing that the child was not his, and had only married the mother because she had claimed he was the father. Nicholson scoffed at him for adhering to “an outdated nineteenth-century biological model of parenthood”.
It is why in England, Germany, and many other jurisdictions it is not only illegal for a father to have a paternity test done on organic material from a child whom the mother had alleged was his (for instance, hair roots), but by Newspeak redefining, doing so falls under the crime of “assault” — and the cynical scam is represented as protecting the rights of the child! The feminists are lobbying for the same in Australia.
Something else which must be understood to make sense of the situation we have is that although our political system is democracy, our political order — the way politics actual works — is anti-democratic and oligarchical. We are a corporate state which operates by behind-the-scenes agreements among power-groups.
This is glaringly evident with regard to the two linked evils I have been considering, the Family Law Court and the Domestic Violence industry. The depredations of these entities are colossally destructive of the welfare of ordinary Australians at the deepest level, the level of familial relationships; yet they were granted their predatory powers by legislation which was confidentially developed by the anti-family power-cults, overwhelmingly feminist, which are deeply embedded in the bureaucracies, and to which the politicians accord hieratic — priest-like — status for guiding social policy.
This is the usual way “progressive” social legislation is introduced. Often there will be a bipartisan, all-party select committee, which will go through the motions of discussing the issues, but which will in fact rubber-stamp the policies of the femocrats and their ideological allies. Then the parliament will rubber-stamp the same policies without serious debate on the pretence that the debate had occurred in the committee.
By this means, decisions on the matters of deepest consequence to ordinary people are quarantined away from the open forums of public political debate, and the public are kept distracted by chatter about matters of far less importance, such as the economy. The anti-democratic sub-surface political order which operates in this fashion represents the fruition and ultimate triumph of the feminists’ boasted “long march through the institutions”.
There is much more of importance I could say on the above themes, but space forbids. I shall therefore conclude by repeating what I have said in these pages before, which is that if any or all of the minor pro-family Christian parties made a sustained, vigorous and informed assault on the Family Law Act and the Family Court, they would automatically capture 12 to 20 per cent of the vote, so loathed is the Court and so vast is the harm it has done and is doing.
The ball’s in their court.
Dr Colin H. Jory is a Canberra school-teacher, historian, Shakespeare scholar and social analyst.