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James, Colin --- "Media, Men and Violence in Australian Divorce" [2006] AltLawJl 4; (2006) 31(1) Alternative Law Journal 6




    The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) created a revolution in family law. Marriage was no longer the hallmark of family life. For the first time a person could get a divorce without having to prove fault. Supporters of the reform included progressive politicians in both major parties. Opponents included bishops from major Christian religions and conservative men’s groups.

    Some considered the Act to be feminist inspired, partly because it gave the same rights to both men and women. Indeed, the large majority of applicants for divorce in the 1970s were women.

    Since the 1970s newspaper reports often expressed sympathy for men who were affected by the family law system. Commercial talk-back radio also provided a sympathetic forum for men who felt aggrieved because they were not allowed to physically stop their wives from leaving. The media coverage sometimes implied that domestic violence should be understood in terms of ordinary men trying to preserve their family or to have access to their children after separation. The popular discourse encouraged disaffected men by offering them solace, justification and mainstream understanding if not support for violent acts.

    In the meantime conservative governments, which have always prioritised the traditional male-headed family, became sensitised to the demands of the father’s rights groups and began reforming some of the initiatives introduced by the Family Law Act.

    Background of the Family Law Act

    Australian governments since Federation have been concerned about high divorce rates. Social policy assumed that marriage was the basis of the family, and the family was the basis of society. Consequently, high rates of divorce signaled the collapse of society. Marriage was traditionally ‘til death do us part’, and centuries of religious influence on English common law made it difficult for the ordinary man or woman to divorce. Many agreed that it was better for society if unhappy couples stayed together rather than divorce. When trouble developed and couples parted, typically the wife was blamed for failing to keep her husband and to hold the marriage together.

    By the 1970s there were thousands of married people living separately, unable or unwilling to divorce under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1959 because of the cost, delays, complexity and embarrassment of the legal process. The procedures often involved collusion, sometimes guided by lawyers and anticipated by the courts, a fact that damaged the reputation of both the legal profession and the legal system. The tabloid press offered frequent exposés such as the private detective and photographer bursting into a motel room to catch the adulterous couple (real or faked) in action. The Family Law Act removed the relevance of adultery, and denied the media’s practice of titillation and voyeurism.

    On 8 August 1971 the Sydney Morning Herald reported Senator Lionel Murphy, Labor’s Shadow Attorney General, began an inquiry into the ‘injustices from outmoded, inefficient and oppressive divorce laws’. After several long debates in 1974 the Senate Standing Committee reached ‘a remarkable consensus’ on replacing the notion of matrimonial fault with the grounds of irretrievable breakdown. The major churches opposed the reform and claimed it gave in to social fashion (feminism) and was contrary to the natural family order. On 4 November 1974 the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Catholic Bishop Edward Kelly attacked the government from his pulpit for ‘taking the value out of marriage’ and saying it ‘could go down in history as having begun, at the basic level of the unit of society the destruction of the nation’.

    Many were influenced by the views of the church. Within two weeks of the Bishop’s attack, the Sydney Morning Herald published a letter signed by 132 ‘parishioners of St Leonard’s parish, Naremburn’, expressing their ‘firm opposition’ to the Family Law Bill because divorce was ‘a personal disaster and a social evil’.[1] Protestant churches also opposed the Bill and in February 1975 the Festival of Light organised a campaign against the reform. The Rev Fred Nile was a strident critic of the Labor government and accused it of taking the easy way out rather than building up family life.

    Despite opposition from many quarters and parliamentary debates lasting two years, the Family Law Act was passed on 1 June 1975 and came into effect on 5 January 1976. In theory, marriages that continued after 1975 would be with the free and equal assent of both parties. However, the theory was flawed by the naïve assumption of a ‘level playing field’ for men and women in social, economic and employment opportunities. The theory also assumed there was no oppression or controlling behaviour within marriages to stop women from leaving their husbands if they wished.

    As the Act abolished matrimonial offences, the sole grounds for divorce became irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the evidence was 12 months separation. The new law meant that husbands lost the privileges and status of being the head of the family because no longer could they formally control their wives. Many men were not prepared for the impact this change would have on their personal lives.

    The problem for (some) men

    The divorce reform coincided with the rise of feminism in Australia in the 1970s. Governments were influenced by demands for equality between women and men in all areas of life. The feminist movement in the 1970s received political and bureaucratic support from Gough Whitlam’s Labor government, which came to power on 2 December 1972 after 23 years in Opposition. The reforms initiated under Whitlam were considered by some to be radical.[2] It was no surprise that the government appointed a woman as the first Chief Judge of the Family Court of Australia, Justice Elizabeth Evatt. However, the legislators clearly did not anticipate the reactions to the Family Law Act.

    The Family Court began with a rush from a backlog of separated couples, producing the most significant jump in the divorce rate in the nation’s history. There were 3000 applications for divorce filed in two weeks and in its first year of operation there were 76,564 divorces, far in excess of what was expected.[3] The divorce rate eventually leveled at nearly three times the rate before 1975.[4] Some women were so keen to divorce they went without a property settlement or agreed to an unfair settlement according to law.[5] Some women were not intimidated by the economic consequences of divorce which was later described as the ‘feminisation’ of poverty.[6]

    As most applicants for divorce were women, most respondents were men, many of whom felt victimised as they had no defence against the application for divorce if the couple had been separated for 12 months. A proportion of these men were confused and angry that their wives were able to walk away and ‘destroy’ their marriage with the approval of the Family Court. Most Australian men had been raised in a society with patriarchal values supported by the law, the churches and hundreds of years of culture. Consequently, there was a clear division of labour and separate realms of gender, where women were subordinate to men in both public and private life, and where on marriage women swore an oath to ‘love, honour and obey’ their husbands. Men were privileged beings, sheltered by their mothers and later their wives from mundane chores and the routines of domesticity. Men essentially had two tasks, to be in control of and to provide for the family.

    The Family Law Act overturned laws that had developed over several hundred years. The change impacted suddenly and disrupted the personal lives of many men. Some were aggravated further when the Family Court ordered child custody in favour of their former wives. In these men’s view it was outrageous that a wife, ‘guilty’ of desertion, could be rewarded with custody of the children. However, under the Family Law Act there was no fault, and the court decided custody matters by looking at the children’s best interest. In addition, the Family Court often gave women a greater proportion of the matrimonial property, because women usually had a lower income, little work experience, no superannuation and often had to provide housing for the children.

    The final outrage for some men was being refused legal aid under the means test, although it was approved for their former wives. The Legal Aid Commissions were consequently targeted by men’s groups for bias and accused of being in league with the Family Court and part of a feminist conspiracy against men.

    Men’s groups — outrage and backlash

    Since the Family Law Act was passed, disaffected male litigants have felt the Family Court discriminated against them in disputes involving both children and property.

    However, research found no bias in the outcomes of trials in the Family Court.[7] To the contrary, the involvement of a judge in decision-making statistically increased the likelihood of an outcome more favorable to the man. Nevertheless, the Family Court was increasingly vilified in the media for being feminist inspired and biased against men. Some men organised themselves into small but active groups which routinely lobbied politicians, wrote letters to the editor and demonstrated outside the Family Court and the State Legal Aid Commissions.

    The ‘Divorce Law Reform Association’ was possibly the first conservative men’s group in Australia, forming in the early 1970s during the debates on the Family Law Bill.[8] In an ominous sign of future attitudes, the group criticised provisions in the Bill that empowered ‘spiteful wives’, and for giving women ‘unfair advantages’.[9]

    Another group calling itself the South Australian Divorce Law Reform Association lobbied against the Bill on behalf of ‘fugitive maintenance slaves in Australia’ in 1974.[10] However, it was not until the Child Support Scheme was enforced in 1988 that significant numbers of men complained about having to pay maintenance, and joined the ranks of men lobbying against the ‘unfair’ Family Court system.

    In the 1980s there developed a phalanx of reactionary men’s groups oriented against the Family Court because they claimed it was unfair to men. The groups included the ‘Army of Men’, ‘Abolish Child Support/Family Court Party’, DADS (Dads Against Discrimination), ‘The Family Law Reform Association NSW Inc.’, ‘Parents Without Rights’, ‘Equality for Fathers’, the ‘Lone Father’s Association’; DAWMA (Defence Against Women Marriage & Alimony); FORCE (Fathers Organisation for Revolutionary Custody Entitlement), the ‘Men’s Meeting Place’, the ‘Men’s Confraternity’, ‘Save Our Families’ and ‘Family Action’.[11] As well religious groups such as the Festival of Light and Right to Life continued to oppose the Family Law Act for being contrary to the natural family order.

    Despite the number of men’s groups and their success in using the media there was no indication they represented a significant number of men. Numbers were in fact small and many groups survived because of the tireless efforts of particular individuals.[12] One, for example, was Nevil Abolish Child Support and the Family Court, who changed his name by deed poll, and headed Parents Without Rights for over eight years.[13]

    The beginning of domestic violence

    Domestic violence as we know it in Australia began in the 1970s. There had always been wife-killing and matrimonial cruelty and Australian cases were typical of common law societies where the courts tolerated a moderate degree of wife-beating, within limits, to keep the wife under control and the family together.[14] There was broad acceptance of patriarchal assumptions that a wife should obey her husband although these attitudes were not uniformly accepted and began changing rapidly in Australia in the 1960s.

    The social changes in the 1970s led to a raft of ‘equality’ reforms that impacted significantly on the personal lives of men. Not only did the Family Law Act abolish fault, enable women to leave their husbands, and for the first time reflect equality in the marriage, but anti-discrimination Acts also enabled women to sue for discrimination based on sex.[15] Increasing numbers of women began leaving oppressive marriages, living independent lives, entering the job market and competing with men at many levels in society.

    Many men in Australia were emotionally unprepared for these changes. Their world view was formed by the long history of law that reflected patriarchy and helped subordinate women. The major religions also approved of the male-headed hierarchy in the family and opposed the Family Law Act. Much of the popular media espoused sympathy and understanding for men who were ‘driven to extremes’ by feminists and the Family Court and who were denied legal aid.

    It is understandable that some men felt their masculinity was challenged or diminished because they were no longer considered the family head with control over their wives. The new laws obscured what had been a man’s natural authority and denied men historical privileges enjoyed by their fathers and grandfathers. As desertion was no longer a matrimonial offence, men could do little about their wives who escaped oppression by walking out and taking the children. At that point, some men used threats, intimidation and violence to stop their wives from leaving or to force them to return.

    It is likely that violence by men against women in domestic circumstances increased significantly in the 1970s in reaction to the empowering of women brought about by the Family Law Act. Until that Act commenced, many women with controlling or abusive partners were compliant. They had no option but to tolerate the abuse and remain in their homes. Many women could see no alternative to providing a home for their children. Many were tied to their husbands by social, familial, financial, religious and internalised values including expectations to preserve the marriage and to protect the children from the effects of a ‘broken home’, regardless of the personal sacrifice involved. For these reasons, some women tolerated abuse and mistreatment, acquiescing to control by their husbands. It is likely these men were appeased and their abuse did not progress to physical violence.

    Once women had an alternative to the abuse, in the form of ‘easy’ divorce under the Family Law Act, some men resorted to violence to maintain control over their wives. Suddenly there was a real need for women’s refuges. While statistics for domestic violence are not available prior to 1975, there was an abrupt and overwhelming demand for places in women’s refuges. In 1974 ‘Elsie’ opened as the first women’s refuge in Australia. It was the result of direct action by Sydney feminists who seized a house owned by the Church of England and then demanded government assistance.[16] Similar direct actions by feminists caused a groundswell and by 1979 there were more than 100 government-funded refuges in Australia and 265 refuges by 1990.[17]

    The first analysis of domestic violence in Australia was a 1975 study of 184 cases that came before magistrates in New South Wales.[18] In the same year, the Australian Institute of Criminology marked ‘International Women’s Year’ by presenting a seminar on ‘Women as the Victims of Crime’ and called for legal reforms and funding for women’s refuges.[19] Following the 1977 Royal Commission on Human Relationships, which found that ‘family violence is common in Australian society … [and] the damage done to women is often severe’, all State governments conducted separate inquiries into domestic violence and independently reached conclusions similar to those of the Royal Commission.[20]

    The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics found that between 1968 and 1981, 43 per cent of all homicides in New South Wales occurred within the family, involving 79 husbands killed by their wives and 217 wives killed by their husbands.[21] In almost all of the cases of husband killing there was a history of domestic violence by the husband against the wife.[22]

    Violence against the court

    In addition to the increase in domestic violence, the Family Court of Australia came under violent attack within five years of its inception. These attacks appeared to be calculated and sophisticated acts of terrorism; however, no arrests were made and the crimes remain unsolved. Much of the media response to the violence against the Court and its judges suggested that at some level the Family Court was responsible for the violence perpetrated against it.[23]

    On 23 June 1980, Justice David Opas was shot dead with a single round from a small calibre rifle in front of his young family outside his Sydney home. Justice Michael Gee was then appointed to replace Justice Opas in the Family Court at Parramatta. At 1.45 am on 6 March 1984 about ten sticks of gelignite demolished the home of Justice Gee while he and his young children were asleep in the rear of the house. Five weeks later on 15 April 1984 another bomb devastated the entrance to the Family Court at Parramatta. Then on 4 July 1984 a bomb was set to explode with a booby trigger at the Greenwich home unit of Justice Ray Watson. His wife Pearl Watson died instantly at 8.12 am that day when she opened her front door.

    The day after the killing of Pearl Watson the leader in the Sydney Morning Herald claimed that some would feel ‘there must be something seriously wrong with the Family Court system for such an outrage to occur’.[24] According to Sydney’s Daily Mirror the incident showed the Family Court was ‘losing the war on divorce’, implying the attacks were broadly based and not the actions of one or a few individuals. Some comments almost invited the reader to commiserate with the perpetrators of the crimes as if they were the real victims with legitimate claims.

    Sydney’s conservative religious leaders, long-time critics of the Family Law Act, sought advantage from the bombings. The front page of the Sydney Morning Herald reported the Dean of Sydney saying: ‘Good could come out of the evil bomb blasts. A review of the Family Law Act is urgent.’[25] And according to the Bulletin on 17 July 1984, an article titled ‘Family courts — too much of a revolution?’ claimed the violent attacks against the Family Court, its judges and their families ‘have exposed serious flaws in our divorce machinery’.

    A subheading on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald on 6 July 1984 read ‘There are a lot of bitter, angry men out there’. Similarly The Australian published a letter from the chairman of the Festival of Light who said ‘such an extreme reaction must have been triggered off by a deeply felt sense of injustice’.[26]

    The legal profession was silent, showing an embarrassing lack of support for the Family Court following the shootings and bombings. A rare exception was Justice Michael Kirby who regretted ‘that the notable silence of the legal profession in defending the Family Court, despite the terrible events … [shows they are] hidebound traditionalists who naively think [we should be] returning to concepts of fault in marriage breakdown’.[27]

    Strategically, the terrorism against the Family Court was successful. The government appeared to ‘get the message’ from the bombings and killings and agreed to talk with the fathers’ rights groups. Then Attorney General, Gareth Evans, wrote to several groups including the Lone Fathers Association requesting a dialogue on changes they would like to see in family law.[28] The Australian reported him as adding ‘there will have to be some more thinking about the whole future of the court’. A week later in the front page article titled ‘Hit List — Three judges named’, the Sydney Morning Herald reported a comment from FLAG (Family Law Action Group): ‘You will get more response from the politicians about changing the Act if a few more get killed’.[29]

    Clearly the government was willing to negotiate with terrorists and its responsiveness confirmed that violence in some cases is justifiable. In the meantime, divorce rates continued to climb and thousands of women and children sought protection from violent men in newly established refuges across the country.

    Government responses to domestic violence

    In 1980, a Joint Select Committee proposed amendments to allow the Family Court to recognise domestic violence in deciding child custody disputes, but they were rejected by the Liberal government.[30] While official concern about domestic violence increased so too did the rates of violence. In 1985 there was a National Conference on Domestic Violence in Canberra, followed by another National Conference in 1987. By 1989 all the Australian States and Territories had legislated to enable women to apply for restraining orders to discourage male violence.

    The risk of male violence against women increased following commencement of the Child Support scheme in 1988. The father’s rights groups uniformly opposed the scheme and protested that the amounts levied by the formula were too high, and there should be some ‘balance’ between the child support they paid and the child contact they received.[31] In addition the groups alleged that women often made false accusations of domestic violence and applied for protection orders to give them an advantage later in contested child residence and contact disputes.[32] A third common complaint was that many women poisoned the minds of their children against the fathers causing ‘parental alienation syndrome’.[33]

    Complaints by men’s groups intensified in the late 1980s and they continued to oppose the Family Court with the assistance of the media. In 1996, on the day after Jean Majdalawi was killed with five bullets fired by her husband in front of the Parramatta registry of the Family Court, the Sydney Morning Herald gave page-one space to the president of DADs (Dads Against Divorce), quoting him saying ‘men could kill when their children are taken from them, or (when) the mothers frustrated court-authorised access visits’.[34]

    The Family Law Amendment Act 1995 (Cth) was a capitulation. This Act imposed shared parenting of children in some cases, also called ‘joint custody’, which had been a major demand of father’s rights groups since the 1970s. The Joint Select Committee in 1992 had recommended against shared parenting, favouring instead keeping the focus on the best interests of the child, which meant in most cases giving custody to the primary caregiver.[35] It was apparent that ‘shared parenting’ was based more on electoral advice that on the interests of children or considered research. The object was to satisfy a relatively small but vocal number of men who were prepared to take extreme action and who, with the assistance of the press, had represented themselves as having mainstream support.

    One researcher noted the irony in the 1995 Act which imposed ‘equality with a vengeance’ and that while women continued to perform the larger share of care-giving work in families, father’s rights groups did not demand reforms that would give them greater responsibilities for children before separation.[36]

    As the Courts apparently failed to get the government’s message and continued to apply the child’s best interest in custody decisions, the Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Bill 2005 was introduced recently. This Bill imposes a rebuttable presumption of shared parenting. Fathers who ‘win’ joint residence of children would generally need to pay less child support and in many cases would receive a larger proportion of the matrimonial property.

    The Bill makes it more difficult to prove domestic violence, and ignores the research on domestic violence especially the effects on children of witnessing violence and abuse between their parents. It also ignores the experience of other jurisdictions, such as California which repealed similar legislation after nine years.[37] Evaluations there found joint custody further disadvantaged and impoverished women, and destabilised and hurt children, especially where parents were not cooperating.[38]


    In the late 1870s and 1880s Sydney’s Bulletin published vitriolic letters from men railing against activist women.[39] Similarly in the 1970s some of the popular media in Australia published critiques of feminist initiatives, and editorials criticised the Family Court.[40] The churches and conservatives used the media to argue against divorce reform and supported men who felt they were victims of an unjust system. Within 14 years of its commencement the Family Law Act survived 18 constitutional challenges.

    The popular view of the Australian marriage saw it as something women wanted and men avoided. However, research shows that most men get more out of marriage than women, and women usually cope better than men after divorce.[41] The Family Law Act and other reforms imposed significant changes in areas of real and symbolic importance for the self-identity of some men, leading them to experience a ‘crisis of masculinity’. Their violent reactions suggest that at least for some, male identity paradoxically is fragile, rigid and based on self-interest.

    The media was culpable for reporting the violence uncritically, giving a voice and therefore credibility to the perpetrators. The press assumed the role of neutral observer presenting a ‘balanced’ view, as if violence had as much integrity as non-violence. Editorial decisions supported the perpetrators by implying their violence was reasonable in the circumstances.

    The political response was and remains one of expediency. In attempting to preserve the marriage-based family, governments have justified male violence as a means to an end. The imposition of joint residence of children, albeit in the guise of ‘shared care’, will reduce child support payments in some cases, increasing the incidence of child poverty and make a proportion of women in violent relationships hesitate before deciding to leave. Some women will tolerate their unhappy situation for longer and remain with their abusive partner rather than risk the implications of a legal fight over child residence they are likely to lose. The rules forcing courts to consider the option of joint residence ignores the fears of these women and the lessons from history. Matrimonial fault has been reintroduced by default inviting a new era in male-dominated family life.

    [*] COLIN JAMES is a solicitor and teaches law at the University of Newcastle Legal Centre.*

    © 2006 Colin James


    * A fuller referenced version of this article will be provided on request to the author.

    The author acknowledges that this article is based on a paper presented at a symposium titled ‘Moral Panics, Media and the Law: An International Symposium’ at University House, Newcastle on 28-29 September 2005.

    [1] Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney), 28 November 1974, 21.

    [2] In its first year Whitlam’s ALP government abolished the death penalty, ratified the ILO Agreement 111 against discrimination on the basis of sex, abolished sales tax on oral contraceptives, promoted childcare services, established the Australian Legal Aid Office, passed the Trade Practices Act and the Racial Discrimination Act, introduced the Human Rights Bill, the Federal Court Bill and the Family Law Bill.

    [3] ‘Family Court Not to Blame, Attorney-General’, Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney), 4 April 1978; ‘3,000 Applications for Divorce in Two Weeks’, Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney), 22 January 1976, 4.

    [4] ‘Divorce Increases almost Fourfold in One Year’, Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney), 5 May 1976, 10; Gordon A Carmichael, ‘The Changing Structure of Australian Families’ (1985) 57 Australian Quarterly 102.

    [5] ‘Divorce is Still a Long Painful Operation’, Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney), 20 December 1977, 7.

    [6] Ruth Weston, ‘Money Isn’t Everything’, in Peter McDonald (ed), Settling Up: Property and Income Distribution Divorce in Australia (1986) 270–307, esp 307.

    [7] F M Horwill, ‘The Outcome of Custody Cases in the Family Court of Australia’ (1979) 17(2) Conciliation Courts Review 31-40. F. Horwill and S. Bordow, ‘The Outcome of Defended Custody Cases in the Family Court of Australia, Sydney’, Research Report No 4 (Family Court of Australia, 1983).

    [8] ‘Stop Divorce Advice — Judge’, Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney), 14 August 1973, and ‘”Disgraceful”, Judge Tells Reform Body’, Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney),16 March 1974.

    [9] ‘Fraser Amendment on Divorce Bill Attacked’, Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney), 28 May 1975.

    [10] Evidence to Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Parliament of Australia, Parliamentary Paper 315 (1974) 251.

    [11] Reg Graycar, ‘Equal Rights versus Fathers’ Rights: The Custody Debate in Australia’ in C Smart and S Sevenhuijsen (eds), Child Custody and the Politics of Gender (1989).

    [12] Miranda Kaye and Julia Tolmie, ‘Fathers’ Rights Groups in Australia and their Engagement with Issues in Family Law’ (1998) 12 Australian Journal of Family Law 19, 22.

    [13] ‘Nevil With a Cause’, The Age (Melbourne), 3 October 1987.

    [14] See for example Egan v Egan (1910) 26 WN (NSW) 184, Anderson v Anderson ((1927) 44 WN (NSW) 9 and Maney v Maney [1945] TASStRp 2; [1945] Tas SR 15.

    [15] A distinct jurisdiction of law began with passage in Victoria of the Equal Opportunity Act 1977 (Vic), followed by all other States and Territories.

    [16] Anne Summers, report in Sydney Women’s Liberation Newsletter, May 1974.

    [17] ‘Women’s Budget Statement 1990-91’ (1990) 110; Judith Healy, After the Refuge: A Study of Battered Wives in Adelaide (Dept for Community Welfare South Australia, Adelaide, April 1984).

    [18] NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Domestic Assaults, Statistical Report 5, Series 2 (1975).

    [19] Resolutions 13 to 21; John P Noble, Women as the Victims of Crime, Australian Institute of Criminology (1975) 7–9.

    [20] Commonwealth, Royal Commission on Human Relationships 1977, The Family 133.

    [21] NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics, Homicide in New South Wales: 1968-1981.

    [22] Wendy Bacon, Women Homicide Offenders in NSW (Feminist Legal Action Group, 1982); Stella Tarrant, ‘Something is Pushing Them to the Side of their Own Lives: A Feminist Critique of Law and Laws’ (1990) 20 Western Australian Law Review 573; Stella Tarrant, ‘A New Defence in Spouse Murder’ [1992] AltLawJl 27; (1992) 17(2) Alternative Law Journal 67.

    [23] Térèse Taylor, ‘Australian Terrorism: Traditions of Violence and the Family Court Bombings’ (1992) 8 Australian Journal of Law and Society 1, 18.

    [24] Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney), 5 July 1984.

    [25] Rev Lance Shilton, Dean of Sydney, Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney), 9 July 1984, 1.

    [26] The Australian (Sydney), 12 July 1984, 89.

    [27] Victoria Green and Robin Gurr, ’The Media and the Family Court of Australia: A Marriage of Inconvenience?’ (1987) 12(6) Legal Service Bulletin 243, 245.

    [28] Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney), 6 July 1984, 1.

    [29] Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney), 13 July 1984, 1.

    [30] Joint Select Committee on the Family Law Act, Australia Parliament, Report, Parliamentary Paper No 150/80 (1980).

    [31] Joint Select Committee on Certain Family Law Issues, Australia Parliament, Inquiry into the Operation and Effectiveness of the Child Support Scheme (1998).

    [32] Submissions to the ALRC reference on Children and the Legal Process, Issues Paper 18 (1996).

    [33] Carolyn Quadrio, ‘Parental Alienation in Family Court Disputes’, Child Sexual Abuse, Justice Response or Alternative Resolution Conference, Australian Institute of Criminology, Adelaide, 1-2 May 2003.

    [34] Sydney Morning Herald, (Sydney), 22 March 1996.

    [35] Joint Select Committee, The Family Law Act 1975: Aspects of its Operation and Interpretation (1992) 111.

    [36] Helen Rhoades, ‘Posing as Reform: The Case of the Family Law Reform Act’ (2000) 14(2) Australian Journal of Family Law 142, 156.

    [37] Renata Alexander, ‘Law Ignores the Reality of Split Families’, The Age (Melbourne), 16 December 2005.

    [38] Margaret A Little and Hugh McIsaac, ‘The Impact of the Custody Plan on the Family: A Five-Year Follow-Up’, Statewide Office of Family Court Services, State of California, 1991); Parenting Our Children: In the Best Interest of the Nation (US Commission on Child and Family Welfare, September 1996).

    [39] The Bulletin, 28 March 1885, cartoon entitled ‘Relief’, and 5 June 1886. See also Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney), 29 November 1875.

    [40] Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney), 28 May 1975.

    [41] Peter K. Jordan, ‘Men Hurt: The Effects of Marital Separation on Men’, Research Report No 6, (Family Court of Australia, 1985); Peter K. Jordan, ‘Ten Years On — The Effects of Marital Separation on Men’, (1997) 11 Australian Journal of Family Law 133.

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