Saturday, 30 May 2009

Family Court: Semple reports due this week

The CEO of the Family Court and acting CEO of the Federal Magistrates Court, Richard Foster, told the Senate Estimates Committee that two reports by Des Semple, former Attorney-General's bureaucrat, and now consultant to government about family law, are to be delivered this week dealing with the roles of family consultants and registrars.

Mr Semple was commissioned to prepare the reports in the last couple of months, Mr Foster said.

Mr Semple then talked about the acting Chief Federal Magistrate, Michael Baumann:

Federal Magistrate Baumann has prepared a document setting out the number of
registrars that the Federal Magistrates Court would require for its work, and
that document is going to the Chief Federal Magistrate upon his return to work
today. I have not actually seen that report. I have some idea about what is in
it, but I am not at liberty to discuss what is in it until FM Baumann has
discussed it with the Chief Federal Magistrate. This was an attempt to transfer
or to allocate resources to the Federal Magistrates Court and asking that court
to identify what its resource requirements were for both registrars and family
consultants. It does not really impact on the work that Semple has been doing.
Mr Semple’s work is really about organisational structure. The actual numbers
are not really relevant to that process...

It is really about nominating a number of family consultants and registrars that
would be dedicated to providing services to the Federal Magistrates Court combined in one structure. At the moment, that does not happen. Federal Magistrate Baumann has been working over the last couple of months to try to identify quite clearly what resources the Federal Magistrates Court needs in terms of family consultants and registrars. It is very close to having that signed off. As soon as that happens, those resources will be allocated to the Federal Magistrates Court for their use and for however they want to use those resources. It is not up to the Family Court to determine how those resources will be used.

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