The Morrison Government should be urgently implementing meaningful reform to the child support system instead of making things worse by chasing down unpaid debt.
One Nation leader Senator Pauline Hanson, who has been driving family law reform since her election in 2016, said the government’s new measures to secure unpaid child support risked ‘robo-debt’ style raids on wages, more parental conflict and an increase in domestic and family violence.
“I’ve faced this system and all of its horrors,” Senator Hanson said. “I know what it’s like being a single mum with no child support, and I know that ‘robo-debt’ style raids on parents’ wages will only push more parents to the brink. We could very well see more conflict, more unrest, more domestic violence and more suicides as a result of these punitive measures.
“Even if successful, the government’s tough measures will not even recover 10% of the child support debt pool,” Senator Hanson. “The government is tinkering around the edges of the broken child support system instead of implementing practical reforms to fix it and make it fair.”
Senator Hanson said she had secured a commitment from the Morrison Government to establish a taskforce to examine her recommendations to make the child support system fairer. The recommendations included:
• assessing net rather than gross incomes;
• ensuring payments did not leave parents with an income below $27,000 a year;
• assessing salaries on a 38 hour week;
• basing child support on the number of children at the time of separation and not on additional children to other partners;
• assessing residential costs individually;
• including Family Tax Benefit in assessing incomes;
• not including Workcover, TPI or superannuation payouts in assessable income; and
• having child support payments paid to a separate child support account, with the payee held to account for expenditure by Services Australia.
“One Nation’s recommendations to Parliament’s family law inquiry have already helped our family law courts run more efficiently with less trauma for the families involved,” she said.
“Instead of chasing down a fraction of Australia’s child support debt and only make things worse, the Morrison Government should be prioritising meaningful reform to our broken child support system and implementing practical solutions that will make the system fairer and obviate the need for intrusive measures to recover payments.
“This move by the government is a disaster in the making. The government needs to listen to parents who’ve been through this system, not punish them.”