The Australian Government has sought comment on an exposure draft of the Family Law Amendment Bill 2023
Information on the Bill is available from the Attorney-General’s Department.
The draft legislation aims to reduce delays in the court system, improve access to support services and be more responsive to family violence, child abuse and neglect. It introduces a simpler approach to parenting arrangements focused on the best interests of children and protecting those involved from exposure to family violence.
The consultation material does not address how the law changes may affect the distinctive needs of LGBTIQ+ children and families.
LHA’s submission includes consideration of preventing stigma to ensure the best interests of children; accommodating non-traditional family structures and parenting models; recognising distinctive forms of intimate partner and family violence; and engaging effectively with LGBTIQ+ community-controlled organisations to deliver safe, trusted, inclusive and culturally safe support for LGBTIQ+ children and families.
Without explicit and inclusive policies and practices, LGBTIQ+ people can be fearful of the treatment they will receive. To protect themselves, they may hide or modify their relationships, which can compound the invisibility of LGBTIQ+ families and lead to inadequate responses within the family law system.