Nov 162006

Last weeks High-Court ruling, denying a man the right to re-dress an unjust child support situation and claim against his former wife for financial loss and damage, has raised the ire of Alby Schultz, federal Liberal backbencher. This ludicruous ruling, which overturns on appeal a previous win for Mr Liam Magill, who took action against his former wife for deceit, shows clearly the built-in bias in Australia’s family law statutes in favour of women.

The ruling, which states that Mr Magill failed to prove deceit in law, which is stated as

knowingly misrepresenting a fact with the intention that it be acted on by someone likely to suffer damage as a result

clearly defines a father in terms of fiscal responsibility as he who was previously paying for the maintenance and upbringing of a woman’s children, in blissful ignorance of his real paternal status, regardless of whether the man actually has a paternal claim to the children.
Refreshingly, it seems the Howardian camarilla is which adds detail to the story, in the fact that the damages case was brought and supported by Mr Magill’s partner, Cheryl King. Mr Magill had this to say of Ms King:

“She had the guts to stand up on her own, with no legal representation against the might of the Child Support Agency and the Government and whatever legal weight that they had,”

The emphasis is mine. I can totally and completely identify with those sentiments in regard to my own wife. My ex-wife, of some 19 years prior to 1998, hadn’t been unfaithful to me nor borne children to another man, however she did employ the auspices of the Child Support Agency (CSA) as is her right, despite a more than favourable agreement existing between us since we parted company. As an aside, I have no qualms about caring for and supporting my children, and have paid for their maintenance in accordance with legislation until October this year when the youngest turned 18. That’s not to say that I didn’t have enormous difficulties with the CSA, because I did. If not for my wife, her support and the thankless task she took on in handling the financial issues, I’d probably have surrendered and taken a path that many supporting fathers do. Suicide.  Melodramatic? You have to suffer the arrogance and incompetance of the CSA mucking around in your life to fully understand my meaning.
Changes to child support legislation, long overdue, and slowly and painfully making their way through our Parliamentary system. Perhaps together with this latest accession by the Prime Minister that not all appears well and warrants further investigation, family law in this country might just become more balanced than it currently is.

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