New legislation aimed at combating family violence will be introduced today (24 March) by the Federal Government.
The Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill retains the substance of the shared parenting laws introduced by the Howard Government in 2006. However, it emphasises that the best interests of the child must come first.
"The Government continues to support shared care but only where this is safe for the child," said Attorney-General Robert McClelland.
According to McClelland, the amendments will prioritise the safety of children, encourage people to bring forward evidence of family violence and child abuse and assist families, family law professionals and the courts to better identify harmful behaviour through new definitions of 'family violence' and 'child abuse'.
"More than 400 submissions were received from the community during the public consultation process on the draft Family Violence Bill," McClelland said.
"A total of 73 per cent of respondents expressed support for the measures and a further 10 per cent made no specific comment on the bill but offered information about personal experiences."
The Family Violence Bill is the Gillard Government's response to three reports provided by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Professor Richard Chisholm AM and the Family Law Council.