Pauline Hanson is a danger to single mums and their children
Pauline Hanson's family law inquiry will be a victim-blaming shaming farce designed to vilify single mums and domestic violence survivors, writes SHERELE MOODY.
PUTTING Pauline Hanson in charge of the family court and child support inquiry is as dangerous as putting George Pell in charge of a clergy sex abuse investigation.
Hanson's loathing of women and her fandom of fanatical men's rights activists is widely documented.
Under Hanson's leadership - and that of her anti-divorce proponent co-chair Kevin Andrews - this inquiry promises to be a victim-blaming and shaming farce where single mums and female domestic violence survivors will be publicly vilified.
The One Nation leader has had it in for single mums since she first came to power two decades ago and not a lot has changed.
Parroting the main grievance of disenfranchised fathers, Hanson told the ABC on Wednesday: "There are people out there who are nothing but liars and who will use that in the court system. I am hearing too many cases where parents are using domestic violence to stop the other parent from seeing their children; perjury is in our system but they are not charged with perjury."
By people, she means single mums.
Hanson's comments are unfounded and ridiculous and they seem to be driven by the anger she has over her own son's involvement in the family court arena.
Fake allegations of domestic violence - like fake allegations of rape - are extremely rare. There is reams of research to show this, but why let the truth get in the way of politics?
When abuse does exist, mums are more often than not advised by lawyers to keep any reference to it out of the family court.
This is because judges consider allegations of abuse to be detrimental to the relationship between children and the parent who poses the risk.
Hanson also thinks single mums - or 'gold diggers' as she snarkily defines them - form partnerships with unsuspecting males to get their money and their assets.
She pushes the myth that females fall pregnant then run off with the kids so they can bleed dads dry via the child support system.
Of course, this is not the case and you only have to look at the national child support debt to get the real picture.
Australian fathers currently owe their children more than $1.57 billion compared to mums owing around $50 million.
Many paying parents provide on average, the princely sum of a little over $30 a month.
This is not enough to feed, clothe, house and educate kids, let alone live an extravagant lifestyle of holidays and fast cars.
Hanson's biggest furphy is her repeated claims that the family court is biased towards women.
Newsflash: It is not.
Very few cases reach the stage of trial and judgment.
Most parents come to care agreements - under their own steam - via mediation.
Often these agreements are then turned into court orders to provide stability and surety for all involved.
Most women end up with primary care of children simply because the father has - and still is - the primary income earner.
Men forgo equal shared care because they do not want to be stay-at-home dads, then a few whine about never seeing the kids and it is all mum's fault. It is these angry blokes Hanson feeds off and taps into.
Let's face it, blokes are not the only people separated from their kids, required to pay child support or feel aggrieved, but instead of playing the "woe is me" card, women move forward with their lives.
Hanson may think the judges, report writers and children's lawyers are pussy whipped, but nothing could be farther from the truth.
When challenged to present evidence of biased courts and fake domestic violence claims, Hanson simply directs journalists to speak to men's rights organisations.
The same groups who give voice to manipulative and abusive perpetrators of violence.
The same groups that encourage men to self-harm or suicide in public.
The same groups that spread the fictional "#21fathers are dying of suicide each week due to family law matters" statistic that was dreamed up as a PR stunt.
The same groups that teach deadbeat dads how to dupe the child support system and avoid equitable property divisions.
Australia's family law system is supposed to make decisions that are in the best interest of the child.
Sometimes the judges get it right.
More often that not, they get it very wrong.
And in the most appalling of cases, in the court's fervour to keep children connected to abusive parents, violent deaths occur.
We've had multiple investigations into Australia's family law system over the past decade or so and all have concluded that it repeatedly fails women and children impacted by domestic and family violence in favour of keeping abusive men connected to their kids.
Yet, instead of responding and implementing reform recommendations, our leaders simply tinker at the edges.
Scott Morrison's decision to push ahead with merging the Family and Federal Circuit courts is a prime example of moving dirt around but not filling any holes.
Appointing Hanson as the co-chair of the new inquiry stinks of capitulation for her vote on vital legislation while appeasing the LNP's conservative male constituents and their female supporters.
If Morrison wants women to come forward and tell their stories, he needs to turf Hanson, putting in her place an independent expert who really understand the trauma and the tragedy that is our family law system.
We also need to have someone in this role who understands the nuances of family and domestic violence while being able to see the issues through the eyes of mums, dads and children.
In other words, he needs to appoint someone who understands that in the family court, there are no winners, only losers.
Sherele Moody is a multi award-winning journalist, 2019 Our Watch fellow and the founder of The RED HEART Campaign and the Australian Femicide & Child Death Map.
For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636. The Suicide Call Back service is on 1300 659 467.