|from||Mike Murphy |
|sender time||Sent at 17:43 (GMT-04:00). Current time there: 18:02. ✆|
|date||25 October 2009 17:43|
|subject||Caroline Overington "Replace shared care with Canada model"|
My Dear Editor:
Re: Caroline Overington "Replace shared care with Canada model", October 29, 2009 http://www.theaustralian.news.
I have followed Ms. Overington's feminist rants over the years and always wondered why there was no counter balancing to these views which are often factually incorrect. There is no exception with this article. I also find it interesting she gets her facts wrong from the Australian women's movement frequently but now dares venture to the top of the world and quotes from feminist lawyers reports which are famous for their lack of veracity and use of mendacity.
There is no difference in feminist discourse it appears no matter its national source. The information used is to promote feminist privilege and maternalist superiority often through the use of cherry picked statistics or pure fiction.
In Canada judges order maternal custody in over 90% of cases. They offer breadcrumbs to dads through the use of a legal fiction called joint custody but physical custody goes to mom who rules. Possession is not just 9/10ths of the law it is the whole of the law. Is this the model Australia aspires to by going backwards. Why doesn't Overington discus the Danish, Dutch, Belgian or French model? Perhaps even the German Cochem example? All are representative of shared parenting in practice and working for children and parents alike.
A few observations on her lack of sources and citation. "THE Rudd government has been urged to replace shared parenting laws with a model similar to that of Canada..." Urged by whom?
"The Australian understands that the Canadian model has been put to Attorney-General Robert McClelland..." Put to the AG by whom - a feminist lawyer group with less than 50 members in a country of 31 million? She quotes not just herself as "understanding" but your newspaper.
Overington is using the non-existence of a shared parenting regime in Canada to propose Australia, in effect, go back to the status quo. Interesting circular logic. We call that a Non sequitur in most English speaking countries and indeed others.
"Canadian states and territories spell out some of the tests for the "best interests" principle." Overington needs to do more research on the socio-political and geographic nature of Canada. We have no states but we do have 3 territories on top of the world, one of which lays claim to the North Pole housing a magical figure called Santa Claus. Some of Overington's statements and conclusions are just as magical perhaps even mythological.
The Canadian Divorce Act, and most Provincially related Family legislation, is gender neutral but yet judges still award maternal custody in a 9-1 ratio to moms. I would suggest our judges need direction, as did yours, in balancing the gender difference. Our research by experts like Professor Edward Kruk, at the University Of British Columbia (the latter a Province) shows parents need a minimal 40% contact rate to maintain a parental bond. He also describes numerous negative social outcomes for children in sole care homes.
Can I recommend you hire a male reporter to help balance your reporting and opinion columns by feminists. It might make those like Overington actually do real research.
Caroline Overington | October 26, 2009
THE Rudd government has been urged to replace shared parenting laws with a model similar to that of Canada, where shared parenting after divorce is not necessarily considered in the best interests of the child.
The Australian understands that the Canadian model has been put to Attorney-General Robert McClelland as an option to consider as he wrestles with changes to the reforms introduced by the Howard government in 2006.
Canada places the interests of the child ahead of the right of either parent to insist upon a shared-care arrangement.
Unlike the Australian family law regime, Canada does not require a court to presume that the best interests of the child are met by shared parenting.
It encourages the courts to take into account the benefit to children of having a relationship with both parents after divorce, but also takes into account the roles played by each party before separation, and the consequences to children of too much disruption in their lives.
It is unlikely that a breastfeeding baby would be placed in a shared care arrangement, as happens in Australia under the shared parenting law; nor is it likely that children would be ordered into an arrangement that sees them woken from naps to visit their other parent, as also happens here. It is understood that the Canadian model has been put to Mr McClelland in the form of submissions from women lawyers, and from women's groups opposed to the shared parenting laws.
It is also understood that the main group representing divorced and separated men, the Shared Parenting Council, has put up no alternative to the current regime.
The group missed the deadline for submissions to the review of the law being chaired by retired family court judge Richard Chisholm. Rather than proceed without a paper from the fathers group, Professor Chisholm has offered to take a late submission.
Child custody in Canada is governed by the Divorce Act, which says that courts shall "take into consideration only the best interests of the child of the marriage".
That formulation is supported by case law, which also puts the interests of the child first.
Canadian states and territories spell out some of the tests for the "best interests" principle.
Some say any disruption of the child's life must be taken into account before shared care is considered.
Men's groups have tried to bring shared parenting to Canada, most recently in August, but so far they have failed.