Single mothers and their children have been seriously disadvantaged by legislation and reforms implemented by the previous Howard Government and continued (validated) by the Rudd Government.
Sole parent families experience higher rates of poverty and social isolation then two parent families and are among the poorest in this country.
These families struggle to survive on welfare payments which do not reflect the real costs of living while being threatened by unreasonable "welfare to work" obligations to maintain their welfare payment or face losing their entitlements.
Motherwork, volunteer work, study, disability, caring for children and family with disability are not being taken into consideration and mother's are still obligated to look for work, often that is low paid, demeaning and inflexible.
Motherhood is undervalued in Society in general but current legislation further undermines the work and responsibilities of single mother's whilst caring for their children. Single mother's receiving Parenting payment are forced onto Newstart allowance which undermines their role and work as mother's and primary carers of their children who should have the same right to their mother's care and time as any other child in Australia.
Many single mothers don't have family or other social support so are suffering in silence whilst living in poverty doing their best to care and provide for their children.
The harsh obligations and scrutiny of Welfare to work is pushing single mother's to breaking point and this is surely not a good outcome for women and their children. Welfare to work needs to be repealed for single mother's, primary carer sole parents and/or primary carer sole parents of children with special needs and/or too young to be left unsupervised.
Currently many fathers are taking advantage of Family law acts "Shared parental responsibility" and "a child's right to know both parents" etc...only to continue abuse and control (especially emotional and psychological), over their ex-partners. Primary carers are finding themselves unable to protect vulnerable children because of fear of contravening orders.
It is very apparent that the best interest of the child comes secondary to "a meaningful relationship with both parents" as experienced by many concerned single mother's. Judges and mediators (Family dispute resolution practitioner's) bare no accountability to decisions that place women and children at risk of harm. Relationship centres and Family dispute resolution practitioner's are failing to put children and women's safety and well being first and are insensitive to the needs and service of women and their children and the hardship women and their children endure as a sole parent family especially when there is conflict between parents or in cases of Domestic Violence, child abuse/neglect.
Family law needs to be made safe, fair, dignified, just and inclusive of all women and their children.
Family Law and other concerning legislation needs to be urgently reviewed and reformed in regards to the negative impacts on children and women. Judges and Family dispute resolution practitioner's need to be held accountable if their decisions place children and women at risk of harm. The best interest and safety of the child MUST be considered before "their right to know both parents".
The new child support reforms have put less money into the hands of those who actually feed and care for their children while putting more money into the pockets of those who rarely have contact with their children and are already financially better off.
Changes are needed to provide a safe, fair, just and dignified existence for single mothers and their children, to empower and support women to care for and protect their children and to assist them out of the poverty trap not force them into one.
We, the undersigned, call on the Federal Government to end all discriminative legislation that negatively impacts against single mothers and their children.
Repeal Welfare to work obligations entirely for Single mother's, primary carer sole parents esp. primary carer sole parents of children with special needs, and/or too young to be left unsupervised. Reinstate PPS to all supporting single mothers and increase this payment to reflect the true cost of living.
Make Family law safe, fair, just and inclusive of all women and their children. To review and reform current legislation and Family Law Act (esp."child's right to know both parents" and "Shared parental responsibility/Shared Parenting Time") and it's negative impact on women and their children.
Review and reform both Compulsory Roundtable Dispute Management mediation (RDM) and Relationship Centres and it's negative impact on women and children as a result of it's process and outcome.
Make child support reflect the true cost of raising children. Review and reform current CSA legislation and it's negative impact on women and their children.
The Stop the Erosion of Women's and Children's rights petition to Federal Government was written by Suzana Zuzek and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.