The Joint Select Committee on Australia's Family Law System was appointed by resolution of the Senate on 18 September 2019 and resolution of the House of Representatives on 19 September 2019.
Submissions close: 18 December 2019
Reporting date: 7 October 2020
The committee was originally due to present its final report on or before 7 October 2020. On 31 August 2020, both Houses of Parliament agreed to extend the reporting date to the last sitting day in February 2021.
The committee has recently published a 'Statement on Submissions', 'FAQs – submissions' and 'FAQs - hearings' on its website.
Making a submission to the committee
The terms of reference of the committee's inquiry require the committee to consider Australia's Family Law System. However, submitters should note that the committee is not in a position to consider, examine or make a determination on individual cases or personal disputes. Information in relation to individual cases should only be provided insofar as this information addresses the committee's terms of reference. Please note that in making a submission, it is not necessary to include the names of your children, family members or former partner.
The committee strongly encourages individuals to make submissions using the submission template. You are not required to use the template to make an individual submission. Submissions can be provided via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via the committee's online portal by using the 'Upload Submission' button on the committee's website.
In completing the individual submission template, you will be required to:
- indicate which issues from the committee's terms of reference are relevant to your submission;
- provide a brief summary of your story; and
- indicate any proposed solutions you may have that correspond to the committee's terms of reference.
In completing this template, you may also indicate whether you:
- would be interested in appearing as a witness at a public hearing, and whether you would have any safety concerns with appearing at a hearing. It is a committee decision on when and where to hold public hearings and who to invite to appear at a public hearing; and
- have any supporting documentation to provide to the committee. It is not necessary to provide the committee with this documentation—the committee will contact you if it requires this documentation.
Please note that the contact details you provide to the committee in this template will not be made publically available.
The committee has determined that it will not accept court documents, financial documents or medical records as part of submissions. The committee may decide not to accept or not to publish other material that it considers to be irrelevant to the inquiry's terms of reference or which reflects adversely on others.
Further information on making submissions, including how to write a submission, is available here.
If you would like to make a submission to the committee, but experience difficulties with writing and do not have anyone to assist you in making a written submission, please contact the secretariat on (02) 6277 3439.
Confidential or name withheld submissions
The submission template lets you indicate whether you would like the committee to keep your submission confidential or to publish as name withheld. If you are not completing a submission using the template, include either the words confidential or name withheld clearly on the front of your submission.
Confidential submissions are only read by members of the committee and the secretariat.
Name withheld submissions are published on the committee's website with personal information redacted.
Processing and publication of submissions
Please note that all documents sent to the inquiry become committee documents on receipt, and are only made public following a decision of the committee.
The processing and publishing of submissions is not an automated process and may take some time (ranging from days to weeks). Once the committee has made decisions about accepting and publishing your submission, you will receive a formal acknowledgement advising you of the committee’s decision.
In making decisions about accepting submissions, committees are mindful of the relevance of the following:
- the material's relevance to the committee’s inquiry;
- adverse reflections on other persons;
- issues of privacy (particularly in relation to children); and
- ongoing court proceedings.
It is a committee decision on when and where to hold public hearings and who to invite to appear at a public hearing.
Public hearings serve to complement the primary evidence received by the committee in the form of written submissions. Unfortunately, the committee is unable to invite all submitters to appear as witnesses at a public hearing. The committee has therefore determined that it will invite a cross section of witnesses to appear at public hearings to speak further to the issues that correspond to the committee's terms of reference.
The committee may also decide to receive some evidence in-camera, which means that the identity of the witness and the information they provide will only be available to members of the committee.
Information about public hearings will be available on the committee's website once the committee has finalised a public hearing program.
Please be assured that if you are invited to appear as a witness, the committee will enact safeguards to protect witnesses, particularly those who have experienced family violence or trauma to ensure no further harm is caused to vulnerable people.
If you have any questions about your submission please contact the committee secretariat.
If you or anyone you know needs help, you can contact one of the services below:
- 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Men's Referral Service on 1300 766 491
- MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
- Kids Help Line on 1800 551 800
- Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277
- Family Relationships Online on 1800 050 321
- Financial Counselling Australia on 1800 007 007
- Emergency services on 000 (triple zero) if you are in immediate danger