Friday, 31 July 2009

The fact that I have asthma, felt as if I were drowning when I called 000 was irrelevant. Don't believe swine flu stats, nos much higher
Hospital said I was not in at risk category - as I am over 10, under 60, don't have diabetes, have a good heart, and evidently not pregnant
I don't know if I had swine flu or not. I was not specifically tested for it, but only tested for influenza A, which I had.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Men's groups fear outcome of Family Law Act review: Australian http://ow.ly/ic3R
In the wake of Darcy Freeman's death, Attorney-General McLelland announced review of domestic violence and Family Law Act http://ow.ly/ic3x
"Cured homosexual" gay hate nurse under investigation- for competence: Brisbane Times http://ow.ly/ic19

McClelland announces review of Family Law Act to tackle domestic violence laws

The Federal Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, and the NSW Acting Attorney-General Verity Firth, have announced a joint review of the Family Law Act to deal with how the Act deals with domestic violence.

The review, to be headed by former academic and Family Court judge Richard Chisholm, comes after the death of Darcey Freeman who was thrown off Melbourne's Westgate Bridge earlier this year. Darcey was the subject of Family Court proceedings at the time of her death.

The review is to be into the harmonisation of domestic violence and family law.

“The primary aim of this work will be to address inconsistencies so as to ensure women and children are better protected under both Commonwealth and State laws,” Mr McClelland said. The report, to be conducted by the Australian and New South Wales Law Reform Commissions in consultation with other jurisdictions, will address inconsistencies in the interaction and application of Commonwealth and State laws regarding domestic violence, child protection, sexual assault and family law.

It will also examine ways in which laws can better protect women and children from domestic violence when a case crosses State boundaries and involves multiple jurisdictions. Ms Firth said state Attorneys-General will also investigate the rollout of a national registration scheme for domestic violence orders.

“Some women move to another state to escape a violent relationship and are often unaware they need to re-register a violence order,” Ms Firth said. The report, to be completed by July 2010, will form part of a National Action Plan to address violence against women and children. This follows the ‘Time for Action’ report, by the National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children, which found that there was high level of complexity between Commonwealth and State laws that aim to protect women and children.

Richard Chisholm was a very well regarded judge. Amongst his other judgments was one in 1994 which said that domestic violence occuring between spouses could be relevant even if the children were not present.

Since retirement from the Family Court, Mr Chisholm has co-authored with Jennifer McIntosh research that queries the effectiveness of the shared parenting regime under the Family Law Act.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Saw Fidelio last night. Singing was great, but the set?! Huge letter screaming: "PRISON". it just detracted from the performances.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Same sex adoption row brews in NSW: Brisbane Times http://ow.ly/gR3y

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

NSW recommends same sex adoption, but allowing exemptions for faith based agencies:Aust Gay and Lesbian Law Blog http://ow.ly/gL60

Sunday, 5 July 2009

The 10 golden rules about tax fraud and the Family Court

The 10 golden rules about tax and Centrelink fraud and the Family Court:

  1. Although you cannot be compelled to give evidence that may tend to incriminate yourself (However there is an exception in the Commonwealth Evidence Act that says you can be forced to answer questions, with some limited immunity.), your documents can be used against you.
  2. If you value property or income differently in one document as compared to another (for example, understating income for tax purposes, but overstating it for a loan application), you should expect that the court will take the most adverse view of you. In the right context, this means that your high income [as set out in the loan application] would be expected, along with the low expenses [as set out in your tax return] which could mean less directly for you on property settlement [as you have a higher earning capacity, and possibly an ability to pay spousal maintenance] plus a higher tax debt.
  3. If you think your fraudulent documents with Centrelink and the Australian Tax Office will remain hidden, simply because you don't have any copies, think again. If you don't voluntarily disclose them, the court can force you to get them under Freedom of Information legislation from Centrelink and the ATO.
  4. The court can and will refer people for tax fraud to the proper authorities (and for that matter, if there has been social security fraud, a referral to Centrelink).
  5. In considering property settlement and spousal maintenance, the court can take into account a contingent liability to the ATO ( or for that matter, Centrelink). This might reduce the asset pool. Unless there is specific evidence from an expert, such as a forensic accountant, the figures for a contingent liability might be very rubbery. This might mean that the numbers for the contingent liability would be very small- which means you get referred off, have to pay the penalties, back taxes and interest, but get very little credit for it in the property settlement. [ You know you are going to be buried by the Commissioner so that in the Family Court you might want to make the amount of that contingent liability as big as possible, but discover that the amount allowed by the Family Court is much smaller than you could have imagined.]
  6. As a general rule, those who engage in tax evasion also do not engage properly in disclosure in the court proceedings. Disclosure will be enforced by the court if necessary. If you don't properly disclose your documents and financial affairs, there can be all kinds of consequences. Disclosure has been described as a case of "show and tell" not "hide and seek".
  7. Just because you haven't engaged in evasion, but your spouse has, do not assume that you are immune. Aside from any potential criminal penalties, the amount available might be greatly diminished after the Commissioner has become involved.
  8. Once you have been referred to the Commissioner, good luck! You should expect that the Commissioner will come after you with the full weight of the law.
  9. Former spouses often have mighty fine memories of what they say you have not disclosed to the Commissioner. Whether those memories are accurate is another matter entirely.
  10. If your spouse threatens to report you if he or she doesn't get what they want on the property settlement- get legal advice - FAST! They may have committed the crimes of extortion, attempting to pervert the course of justice, threatening a witness, or compounding a crime. Giving in to a blackmailer might be a very foolish step, and in any case can't prevent them reporting you anyway.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

I spoke about family law and related issues this morning to the QUT Queer Collective, a pleasant outing on such a blustery day
IVF blunders destroy baby dreams: News Ltd http://ow.ly/gtnj
Study will try to trace genetic trail of bipolar disorder- Brisbane Times http://ow.ly/gteu

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Indian court decriminalises gay sex; overturns 1861 colonial era law: Australian Gay and Lesbian Law Blog http://ow.ly/glwd

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

California Evidence-based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare adds another 7 screening and assessment tools: http://ow.ly/gfHj
Lesbian couple allowed to be foster parents, but banned from adopting: Govt to entrench those rules: Bne Times http://ow.ly/gfGB
Breastfeeding research may have impact in Family Court: Australian Divorce Blog http://ow.ly/gfFN

Breastfeeding can impact on attachment, therefore impact in Family Court?

The Australian Institute of Family Studies has carried out a detailed study of breastfeeding, and the differences for children who are breast or non-breast fed.

Here is part of the summary. What interested me was the possible impact on attachment, and how that might intersect or conflict with statutory requirements of the Family Law Act, particularly the relationship between separated fathers and their breastfed children:

The results show that breastfed infants spend more time being held or cuddled and being read or talked to, and less time sleeping, or eating, drinking or being fed other foods. They also cried slightly more, and watched television slightly less than infants who were not being breastfed. Those who breastfed spent more time with their parents, and in particular, almost one additional hour a day alone with their mother compared to non-breastfeeding infants.

... The possibility that cognitive advantages for breastfed children may arise from their distinct patterns of time use and social contexts during the breastfeeding phase is an important area for future research...

Being breastfed during infancy contributes to positive developmental outcomes, as well as to good nutrition and health. Expert guidelines for optimal infant feeding recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2003) and, along with appropriate complementary foods, continue to be breastfed for up to two years and beyond (World Health Assembly, 2001).

While being breastfed during infancy is known to improve developmental outcomes, the pathways by which this occurs remain unclear. Components of breast milk are known to be important to brain development, but an important question remains as to whether the observed developmental advantages of children being breastfed also represent unobserved differences in the early life experiences of infants who were breastfed compared to those who were not. For example, there may be aspects of the breastfeeding mother's behaviour or her interaction with the infant that differ from the non-breastfeeding mother. One possible yet unexplored mechanism is that breastfed infants may spend their time differently to infants who are not breastfed. Time use research provides a potentially useful tool for further investigation of this issue.
A possible link between time use and children's outcomes has a basis in the literature on infant development - for example, attachment theory - which indicates that positive interactions with caregivers have implications for secure attachment and socio-emotional development. Children's development opportunities may therefore be affected by who they are with across the day, and where they are. Further, associations between somewhat older children's time use and their development have been explored, with some relationships apparent, which lead us to question whether such relationships may also be apparent for infants. In addition to exploring the association between breastfeeding and time use, this paper also provides a broader examination of infants' time use, to help understand the possible development opportunities for these infants.