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The 2005 Parliamentary Survey on Shared Parenting

 

In late 2005, Fathers4Equality undertook a survey of federal parliament in order to determine the views of each lower house and upper house member. Every member of parliament was approached as much as three times to provide a response.

Some of the members surveyed provided an immediate and explicit response, others were undecided, and yet others simply refused to respond.

Fathers4Equality eventually collated all received responses and reviewed the parliamentary record to determine the views of others.

In this way, Fathers4Equality determined what the ultimate outcome may have been, if a family law amendment incorporating a “legal presumption of equal parenting time as a starting point for child residence negotiations”, was voted on in parliament as a conscience vote.

The responses were overwhelmingly in support of a ‘legal presumption of equal parenting time’ as a starting point for child custody negotiations, by a factor of two to one. The Senate count was just 3 votes short of an absolute majority, with 24 votes unnaccounted for, while the house of representatives was just 5 votes short of an absolute majority, with 48 votes unaccounted for.

House of Representatives:

  • 69 would vote for an equal time presumption amendment
  • 33 would NOT vote for an equal time presumption amendment
  • 4 is undecided
  • 44 unknown

Senate:

  • 37 would vote for an equal time presumption amendment
  • 15 would NOT vote for an equal time presumption amendment
  • 1 is undecided
  • 23 Unknown


What do these results mean? Quite simply, if good laws in this country were decided upon by modern day community standards, as represented by the “unfettered” majority view of our elected officials, or otherwise by the overwhelming views of the Australian public, we would now have family laws genuinely designed to protect the best interests of the child, rather than laws reflecting a by-gone era that have no place in modern day Australia.

Unfortunately, in some cases at least, the laws of a democratic country are ultimately determined by unrepresentative pressure groups who have the resources and influence to promote their vested interests only, at the expense of everyone else. This is one of those cases.


Hide details for WOULD VOTE FOR Shared Parenting AmendmentWOULD VOTE FOR Shared Parenting Amendment 53
Hide details for House of RepresentativesHouse of Representatives 38
Alan Cadman Liberals House of Representatives 1
Alby Shultz Liberals House of Representatives 1
Andrew Southcott Liberals House of Representatives 1
Barry Haase Liberals House of Representatives 1
Barry Wakelin Liberals House of Representatives 1
Bob Baldwin Liberals House of Representatives 1
Bronwyn Bishop Liberals House of Representatives 1
Bruce Billson Liberals House of Representatives 1
Christopher Pyne Liberals House of Representatives 1
David Fawcett Liberals House of Representatives 1
David Tollner Nationals House of Representatives 1
De-Anne Kelly Nationals House of Representatives 1
Dennis Jensen Liberals House of Representatives 1
Jim Lloyd Liberals House of Representatives 1
Joanna Gash Liberals House of Representatives 1
John Murphy ALP House of Representatives 1
Judi Moylan Liberals House of Representatives 1
Kay Elson Liberals House of Representatives 1
Kay Hull Nationals House of Representatives 1
Kelvin Thomson ALP House of Representatives 1
Ken Ticehurst Liberals House of Representatives 1
Kerry Bartlett Liberals House of Representatives 1
Kym Richardson Liberals House of Representatives 1
Malcolm Turnbull Liberals House of Representatives 1
Michael Ferguson Liberals House of Representatives 1
Michael Johnson Liberals House of Representatives 1
Pat Farmer Liberals House of Representatives 1
Patrick Secker Liberals House of Representatives 1
Paul Neville Nationals House of Representatives 1
Peter Dutton Liberals House of Representatives 1
Peter Slipper Liberals House of Representatives 1
Sophie Panopoulos Liberals House of Representatives 1
Steve Georganas ALP House of Representatives 1
Stuart Henry Liberals House of Representatives 1
Tony Abbott Liberals House of Representatives 1
Tony Windsor Independant House of Representatives 1
Trish Draper Liberals House of Representatives 1
Warren Entsch Liberals House of Representatives 1
Hide details for SenateSenate 15
Alan Ferguson Liberals Senate 1
Barnaby Joyce Nationals Senate 1
Bill Heffernan Liberals Senate 1
Brett Mason Liberals Senate 1
David Johnston Liberals Senate 1
Eric Abetz Liberals Senate 1
Gavin Marshal ALP Senate 1
George Brandis Liberals Senate 1
Jeannie Ferris Liberals Senate 1
Nicholas Minchin Liberals Senate 1
Paul Calvert Liberals Senate 1
Russell Trood Liberals Senate 1
Steve Fielding Family First Senate 1
Steven Parry Liberals Senate 1
Ursula Stephens ALP Senate 1
Hide details for WOULD VOTE AGAINST Shared Parenting AmendmentWOULD VOTE AGAINST Shared Parenting Amendment 25
Hide details for House of RepresentativesHouse of Representatives 21
Annette Ellis ALP House of Representatives 1
Anthony Albanese ALP House of Representatives 1
Carmen Lawrence ALP House of Representatives 1
Catherine King ALP House of Representatives 1
Chris Hayes ALP House of Representatives 1
Chris Pearce Liberals House of Representatives 1
Duncan Kerr ALP House of Representatives 1
Jennie George ALP House of Representatives 1
Julie Owens ALP House of Representatives 1
Kelly Hoare ALP House of Representatives 1
Kevin Rudd ALP House of Representatives 1
Kim Beazley ALP House of Representatives 1
Lindsay Tanner ALP House of Representatives 1
Nicola Roxon ALP House of Representatives 1
Peter Andren Independant House of Representatives 1
Sharon Grierson ALP House of Representatives 1
Steve Gibbons ALP House of Representatives 1
Sussan Ley Liberals House of Representatives 1
Tanya Plibersek ALP House of Representatives 1
Wayne Swan ALP House of Representatives 1
Wilson Tuckey Liberals House of Representatives 1
Hide details for SenateSenate 4
Andrew Bartlett Democrats Senate 1
Andrew Murray Democrats Senate 1
Claire Moore ALP Senate 1
Ruth Webber ALP Senate 1
Hide details for UNDECIDEDUNDECIDED 5
Hide details for House of RepresentativesHouse of Representatives 4
Bruce Scott Nationals House of Representatives 1
Chris Bowen ALP House of Representatives 1
Maria Vamvakinou ALP House of Representatives 1
Sharon Bird ALP House of Representatives 1
Hide details for SenateSenate 1
Kate Lundy ALP Senate 1
Hide details for LIKELY TO VOTE YES - but unconfirmedLIKELY TO VOTE YES – but unconfirmed 53
Hide details for House of RepresentativesHouse of Representatives 32
Alexander Downer Liberals House of Representatives 1
Alexander Somlyay Liberals House of Representatives 1
Andrew Laming Liberals House of Representatives 1
Andrew Robb Liberals House of Representatives 1
Anthony Byrne ALP House of Representatives 1
Bob Katter Independant House of Representatives 1
Danna Vale Liberals House of Representatives 1
David Jull Liberals House of Representatives 1
Don Randall Liberals House of Representatives 1
Gavan O’Connor ALP House of Representatives 1
Greg Hunt Liberals House of Representatives 1
Ian Causley Nationals House of Representatives 1
Jackie Kelly Liberals House of Representatives 1
Joe Hockey Liberals House of Representatives 1
John Anderson Nationals House of Representatives 1
John Forrest Nationals House of Representatives 1
John Howard Liberals House of Representatives 1
Julie Bishop Liberals House of Representatives 1
Kevin Andrews Liberals House of Representatives 1
Louise Markus Liberals House of Representatives 1
Luke Hartsuyker Nationals House of Representatives 1
Mal Washer Liberals House of Representatives 1
Mark Baker Liberals House of Representatives 1
Michael Keenan Liberals House of Representatives 1
Peter Lindsey Liberals House of Representatives 1
Peter McGauran Nationals House of Representatives 1
Phil Barresi Liberals House of Representatives 1
Philip Ruddock Liberals House of Representatives 1
Ross Vasta Liberals House of Representatives 1
Steven Ciobo Liberals House of Representatives 1
Tony Burke ALP House of Representatives 1
Warren Truss Nationals House of Representatives 1
Hide details for SenateSenate 21
Alan Eggleston Liberals Senate 1
Amanda Vanstone Liberals Senate 1
Chris Ellison Liberals Senate 1
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells Liberals Senate 1
Gary Humphries Liberals Senate 1
Grant Chapman Liberals Senate 1
Guy Barnett Liberals Senate 1
Helen Coonan Liberals Senate 1
Helen Polley ALP Senate 1
Ian Campbell Liberals Senate 1
John Hogg ALP Senate 1
Julian McGauran Liberals Senate 1
Mark Bishop ALP Senate 1
Michael Forshaw ALP Senate 1
Michael Ronaldson Liberals Senate 1
Rod Kemp Liberals Senate 1
Ron Boswell Nationals Senate 1
Ross Lightfoot Liberals Senate 1
Sandy Macdonald Nationals Senate 1
Santo Santoro Liberals Senate 1
Steve Hutchins ALP Senate 1
Hide details for LIKELY TO VOTE NO - but unconfirmedLIKELY TO VOTE NO – but unconfirmed 23
Hide details for House of RepresentativesHouse of Representatives 11
Anna Burke ALP House of Representatives 1
Bernie Ripoll ALP House of Representatives 1
Craig Emerson ALP House of Representatives 1
Harry Quick ALP House of Representatives 1
Jenny Macklin ALP House of Representatives 1
Jill Hall ALP House of Representatives 1
Julia Gillard ALP House of Representatives 1
Julia Irwin ALP House of Representatives 1
Kirsten Livermore ALP House of Representatives 1
Peter Garrett ALP House of Representatives 1
Roger Price ALP House of Representatives 1
Hide details for SenateSenate 12
Bob Brown Greens Senate 1
Chris Evans ALP Senate 1
Christine Milne Greens Senate 1
Dana Wortley ALP Senate 1
John Faulkner ALP Senate 1
Kerry Nettle Greens Senate 1
Lyn Allison Democrats Senate 1
Natasha Stott Despoja Democrats Senate 1
Penny Wong ALP Senate 1
Rachael Siewart Greens Senate 1
Robert Ray ALP Senate 1
Stephen Conroy ALP Senate 1
159

Survey Question:

Date: November 2005Dear [Name]Please consider answering the following question which would lead our group (Fathers4Equality) to a better understanding of your views on this very important issue.You may choose to answer with one of the following five choices, in response to the below comment:

“Should an amendment be submitted to the family law act to incorporate a ‘legal presumption of equal parenting time in the event of separation, ***rebuttable*** if child abuse can be reasonably substantiated, or if the parents mutually agree to an alternate arrangement.’, then if it went to a conscience vote, I would vote for the amendment.”

(A) I agree
(B) I disagree
(C) I withhold my view
(D) I am undecided

Please understand that this is not (as commonly mis-represented) a one size fits all approach. This is merely a starting point for child custody negotiations that would begin on a level playing field but the outcome would be determined by either the rebuttal, or the practical realities of the parents’ circumstances. It would deny a winner takes all mentality, and re-focus efforts on arrangements that best meet the child’s best needs.

If you are honestly uncertain, then you can choose option (E) for a more detailed view of our proposed joint residence amendment.

Responses – Upper House

Liberals Senate: Vote YES Confirmed: 11 Vote YES Likely: 14 Vote NO Confirmed: 0 Vote NO Likely: 0
Nationals Senate: Vote YES Confirmed: 1 Vote YES Likely: 2 Vote NO Confirmed: 0 Vote NO Likely: 0
ALP Senate: Vote YES Confirmed: 2 Vote YES Likely: 5 Vote NO Confirmed: 2 Vote NO Likely: 6
Democrats Senate: Vote YES Confirmed: 0 Vote YES Likely: 0 Vote NO Confirmed: 2 Vote NO Likely: 2
Greens Senate: Vote YES Confirmed: 0 Vote YES Likely: 0 Vote NO Confirmed: 0 Vote NO Likely: 4
Independants Senate: Vote YES Confirmed: 0 Vote YES Likely: 0 Vote NO Confirmed: 0 Vote NO Likely: 0
Family First Senate: Vote YES Confirmed: 1 Vote YES Likely: 0 Vote NO Confirmed: 0 Vote NO Likely: 0
Senate Totals: Vote YES Confirmed: 15 Vote YES Likely: 21 Vote NO Confirmed: 4 Vote NO Likely: 12
Senate Combined Totals: Vote YES Totals: 36 /76 Vote NO Totals: 16 /76

Responses – Lower House

Liberals Reps: Vote YES Confirmed: 30 Vote YES Likely: 22 Vote NO Confirmed: 3 Vote NO Likely: 0
Nats Reps: Vote YES Confirmed: 4 Vote YES Likely: 6 Vote NO Confirmed: 0 Vote NO Likely: 0
ALP Reps: Vote YES Confirmed: 3 Vote YES Likely: 3 Vote NO Confirmed: 17 Vote NO Likely: 11
Ind Reps: Vote YES Confirmed: 1 Vote YES Likely: 1 Vote NO Confirmed: 1 Vote NO Likely: 0
Reps Totals: Vote YES Confirmed: 38 Vote YES Likely: 32 Vote NO Confirmed: 21 Vote NO Likely: 11
Reps Combined Totals: Vote YES Totals: 70 /150 Vote NO Totals: 32 /150