50 signatures reached
To: The Hon Jenny Macklin Minister for Disability Reform, The Hon Mark Dreyfus Attorney-General and The Hon Julia Gillard Prime Minister
Where is the Love? Help keep disabled parents and their children together!
The Australia Family Law Act must be amended to support parents with a disability and their children. Minister, I ask that you use your position and voice in Parliament to put forward a proposal to amend the Australian Family Law Act so that it is no longer in breach of the United Nations conventions protecting the rights of the disabled and their children.
Why is this important?
I read with great concern in the news recently (http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/a-child-taken-a-mother-grieves-20121214-2bfd9.html of the case of a mother with a mild cognitive disability who has lost custody of her 8 year old daughter on the basis of this disability.
I was even more dismayed to read that even though there was no evidence that the child was at risk of harm or neglect, the Family Court found in favour of the elderly relatives of her estranged partner. This was despite the evidence pointing to her being a warm, caring and loving mother with a supportive mother of her own and a circle of caring friends.
The article states that “The case has deeply concerned lawyers and human rights workers, who believe Rebecca is the victim of an inflexible Australian Family Law Act that discriminates against disabled parents in breach of United Nations conventions protecting the rights of the disabled and children.
For some, there are disturbing parallels with the Stolen Generations - the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children forcibly removed by the state because their parents were deemed incapable of properly caring for them.”
As the mother of a young child, I can imagine the pain, loss, anger and fear that this mother is feeling, at losing her child over something that she did not ask for and that she cannot change but that has not prevented her from being a loving, caring mother.
Our Government should be doing everything possible to keep children in the care of their natural parent/s, and supporting them to raise their children in a loving environment. It is grossly unfair to treat disability as a barrier to parenting, in the same way that drug addiction is treated as a barrier to parenting and even worse to disregard the actual facts of their situation when making a ruling.
The Australia Family Law Act must be amended to support parents with a disability and their children and ensure they are dealt with on the actual basis of their case and not on an irrelevant technicality, so that no other Australian family should face such a needless tragedy.
How it will be delivered
I will deliver this petition by email to all of the above mentioned ministers and I will also endeavor to deliver it to each of them in person.