News of a new Family Court inquiry (one with a distinctly ideological bent) wasn’t met with joy by Crikey readers. At best it will be more kowtowing to appease the right; at worst it will be a pointless exercise in how to re-traumatise survivors of family abuse. Elsewhere, readers continued to take on the continued questions surrounding the Coalition’s Gladys Liu saga, and Crikey receives a note from the ABC responding to a recent edition of Tips and Rumours.
Meghan B Hopper writes: Until recently I worked in women’s and children’s family violence response, and remain involved in women’s advocacy. In my work I supported survivors of family violence and the family court to provide evidence to a few of the many inquiries which have taken place in recent years, including the ALRC review of the family law system which was tabled earlier this year. It’s received virtually no attention or coverage since, certainly not from the federal government who commissioned it, despite being billed at the time as the review to end all reviews. Of course, in the midst of the ALRC conducting their very thorough review, the attorney general also announced a merger of the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court, seemingly out of nowhere and with no support from the dozens of inquiries which have taken place into the broken family law system in recent years.
When they were agreeing to give evidence to these inquiries, one of the first questions survivors always asked was “will they finally listen to us this time? Will his inquiry finally result in change?” We had to believe that it would. Yet now, this. The fact that the government continues to drag traumatised family violence and family court survivors before inquiry after inquiry, asking them to repeat their stories in the desperate hope of change, only to have those inquiries collect dust on a shelf as their recommendations are ignored — it is completely abhorrent, exhausting, re-traumatising. How do we ask these women to relive these experiences again, in front of people who have publicly doubted their lived experience before the inquiry has even begun? What good can possibly come from this process?
Jim Feehely writes: This new parliamentary inquiry into the Family Court, as is the other politically motivated inquiry into Queensland’s environmental run-off laws, is proof Morrison has no policy agenda. Virtually all of his political activity is directed at either appeasing the right wing nut jobs on his own side or at puerile attempts to wedge Labor. The Law Reform Commission’s inquiry into the Family Court produced 60 recommendations to government in respect of changes to the Family Law Act and the rules of the Family Court. Not one of those recommendations have been adopted by the government.
Edward Zakrzewski writes: If Liu was a labour MP then the AFP and ASIO would long ago have raided her home and office.
An ABC spokesperson writes: It’s simply incorrect that “the ABC’s new chairwoman Ita Buttrose and managing director David Anderson have organised an excursion to the southwestern suburb of Bankstown to better understand the average Australian”. The phrase “boot camp”, which Crikey quotes, has never been used by anyone involved in organising the summit. It comes from a SMH headline-writer. Crikey writes: “Participants will ‘discuss local issues, eat at local restaurants and speak with community groups’”. Again, this is just a Crikey article quoting an SMH article. The strategy summit is an ABC News initiative, which the ABC chair will be addressing. Its aim is to help develop the 2020-23 news editorial strategy, which will focus on identifying audience groups we feel could be utilising the ABC more and finding ways to better serve them.We know one group is Australians who live in major population growth corridors — the Canterbury-Bankstown region of Sydney is one of those areas, so it makes sense to go there. This is the second time news has held a staff strategy summit, the first was in 2016. They bring together a cross-section of ABC staff to hear more about the challenges we’re facing and give their input and ideas, and are a key part in the process of shaping the three-year editorial strategy. Crikey’s readers might have been interested to know this information.
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