Men's Rights Agency ~ Child Support

Update on CSA Changes

Australian Men's Rights Asscoation spoke yesterday (10/9/97) to Mal Brough's assistant (Mal is the secretary for the CSA Sub-Committee for CSA changes) and we were advised Cabinet discussion of their recommendations has been delayed, due to the PM's recent illness, until the 15th September 1997. Then apparently the issues have to be discussed in the "Party room".

Promises of legislation being before Parliament by Christmas are fading with each passing day.

Trying to encourage paying parents to hold on just a little longer for the pending changes becomes soul destroying with news of delays. Enough time has elapsed since the first inquiry into the problems CSA legislation is causing.

Of course, there are other issues impacting on family breakdown that the Government should be solving at the same time. One cannot fix one area, such as CSA without addressing the effect of other legislation, including Family Law, and Social Security. Each department has its own agenda, but each has become an integrated pawn in the whole sorry mess that has played a role in escalating the breakdown of families and marginalising the crucial role fathers play in raising their children.

We would suggest the Government turn it's attention to the ease with which one can obtain a sole parent's pension. The unilateral decision of one party to walk away from a relationship is enough reason for a pension to be granted. There are no checks or balances in place to validate the necessity of separation. There is no provision for compulsory counselling to determine whether separation is the only option or if the couple, with some assistance could resolve their difficulties.

Before we hear the cries of rejection from the feminist lobbyists we plainly state that we are not suggesting the denial of support for those who have been abandoned, or for whom separation has been the only viable option. We are recommending a course of action that may well result in saving a marriage/relationship for the benefit of all the parties, particularly the children. Marriages/relationships are hard work and most encounter some difficulties during their lifetime. With the provision of easily obtained government support we fear too many are walking away from their responsibilities when faced with the slightest little hitch or just because they have become bored with their situation

As a consequence of this growth in sole parenting, liable parents (and taxpayers) are paying for the rod that the government made for it's own back when it spawned this burgeoning industry.

Hopefully, the politicians won't capitulate by deciding the changes are too hot to handle. Obviously there will be significant rejection of any changes that might favour paying parents, from both the government financial watchdogs who are trying to balance their books and from the various interest groups lobbying to protect the custodial parents' status quo.

If this happens we will end up with watered-down, ineffective changes (that have not yet been released) that will contribute little in undoing the harm that has been caused to date. Growing unemployment and suicide among liable parents are a direct result of the unsustainably high levels of child support demanded from them. Most liable parents that we have contact with want to provide for their children, but they also need some money left to support themselves, so they can continue to earn the money that will provide the support in the first place!

Stay in touch with your local Federal MP - we haven't seen any changes yet and until we do it is important to keep their interest in the issue at the optimum level.

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