Australian Government proposes new law to reimburse Paternity Fraud victims
Australia's national newspaper
Changes to be made in family law bill
Natasha Robinson, Journalist, The Australian Newspaper, May 11, 2005
Family PARLY 008
CANBERRA, May 11 AAP - The federal government today made further changes to a family law bill which gives men who discover they aren't the natural father of a child the right to reclaim money paid as maintenance.
The government introduced the bill to the Senate last month, but an inquiry found a number of flaws in it.
The Family Law Amendment Bill provides a right for persons who are determined not to be a parent of a child through DNA testing or by other means to recover any money paid or property transferred for the benefit of that child under maintenance orders.
Legal groups and the Opposition have argued that the bill did not give courts enough flexibility in making repayment orders.
Justice Minister Chris Ellison today told parliament the government would move three amendments.
Senator Ellison said one amendment would allow the court to recognise exceptional circumstances and reduce the amount to be repaid. The two other amendments would limit the right of third party creditors to be parties to certain family law proceedings and make it clear that where the bill talks about a person to whom child maintenance has been paid that this does not relate to the Child Support Agency.
``This bill is one which will I think address anomalies which we have seen to date in family law,'' Senator
Opposition justice spokesman Senator Joe Ludwig said while Labor supported most of the bill, there were problems with the section on maintenance repayment. ``In some cases mothers might be doing it tough and to recover the full amount could be disastrous for both them and their kids,'' Senator Ludwig said. `In other cases a mother night have fared well and the man might have
``It's very difficult to predict all the permutations that will arise and devise a formula that is fair in all the circumstances ... therefore it's one of those areas where it's best to place trust in the courts to examine each case and make an appropriate order.''
The bill also removes the power of the full Family Court to issue certificates saying no special leave to appeal to the High Court is needed. That relates to cases where the case raises important questions of law or public interest.
It also allows transfer of family law proceedings from state magistrates courts to the federal magistrates
court and widens the range of matters which can be the subject of private arbitration.