The Law Council of Australia has welcomed this week's passage through parliament of the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill.
Chair of the LCA's Family Law Section (FLS), Geoff Sinclair, said he was pleased the Government had acted on a number of the recommendations made in the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs' report on the bill and that there is now clarity surrounding the commencement date of the bill.
Sinclair said the FLS was also pleased that the bill removes the mandatory costs order provisions in section 117AB of the Family Law Act.
"FLS has argued strongly against the inclusion of section 117AB in the Act since it was introduced in 2006," he said. "This provision distracts parents from the real issue of the children's welfare by focusing on arguments about whether statements are, or are not, false and this has encouraged parties to litigate rather than focus on resolving the dispute."
According to Commonwealth Attorney-General Robert McClelland, the amendments to the family violence bill, which was passed by the Senate on 23 November, will provide certainty around the commencement date of the provisions of the bill, and which matters the amendments will apply to; simplify the drafting of the new provision which requires the court to give greater weight to the protection of children from harm when determining what is 'in the child's best interests'; and will better define what a court can consider in relation to family violence orders when considering a child's best interests.