…because children need both parents

Party Principles and Policies

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PARTY PRINCIPLES

The Australian Government is taking more and more of an intrusive and unnecessary role in the making of decisions that affect our lives.

The Non-Custodial Parents Party seeks to:

1. Minimise government interference in decisions that affect the lives of parents and children of separated families;

     and to

2. Maximise the initiative of individual parents to make and be accountable for the decisions that affect their families.

 PARTY POLICIES

Our policies are essentially related to parents and children after divorce or separation. These policies are also applicable to parents and children from intact families.

We seek to prevent family breakdown and we promote stability in established relationships.

The main issues are as follows:

1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Issues

2. Child Care

3. Crime and Justice

4. Defence

5. Economic Policy

6. Education and Training

7. Employment

8. Environment

9. Family Law and Child Support Issues

10. Foreign Policy

11. Health

12  Housing

13. Immigration

14. Marriage

15. Social Welfare

16. State and Local Governments

17. Superannuation

18. Transport

19. Water

Details are provided below:-

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1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues

The Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) programme has been rolled out between 2007 and 2012.

We support the ACCOS* policy analysis. This is set out in their document titled:

Compulsory Income Management: A flawed answer to a complex issue (June 2010).

It states that there are better solutions that involve self-determination. These solutions are outlined in the above ACCOS document.

We do not see any philosophical difference between the unwarranted Government control of the Aboriginal and the Torres Strait Islander communities and the unwarranted Government control of families, in general. This is particularly through the current family law and child support legislation.

ACCOS: Australian Council of Social Services.

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2. Child Care

Either parent should be able to look after their children should the need arise.

The FAHCSIA Performance Report is contained in their 2007-2008 Annual Report. The Report highlighted the fact that the Family Tax Benefit (FTB) payment was now no longer split between separated parents. This is where care is less than 35 per cent (previously it was a much lower 10 per cent).

This is where the non-custodial parent has care of the children that is less than 35 per cent (previously it was 10 per cent).

This change in 2008  created a hurdle for the non-custodial parent.

This hurdle is that it now provides a financial benefit for the custodial parent not to permit the non-custodial parent to look after the children.

We support the removal of these and any other similar contact constraints in our legislation.

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3. Crime and Justice

To overcome the current social problems that exist in our community, we support the need for strengthened shared parenting legislation. This is to ensure the full implementation of a rebuttable presumption of equal-time shared parenting

The Australian Bureau of Statistics published a report titled “Parental Divorce Or Death During Childhood” in September 2010. This report found that there are significantly reduced future employment, education and income earning prospects for children of divorced or separated parents.

The resulting social problems that we have in our society can be seen from the number of people that are in goal in Australia

As at 30 June 2012, there were 29,383 people in goal in Australian adult prisons. This represents an imprisonment rate of 167 prisoners per 100,000 adult population (ABS Year Book 2012).

This is an increase from the 127 prisoners per 100,000 adult-population figure that were in goal in 1994.

For the last 25 years, the number of people being put in goal has been continually increasing. This is at a rate that is three (3) times faster than the overall increase in Australia’s population.

What is worse is that more than fifty per cent of these people are repeat offenders (15,154 as at 30 June 2008 ABS Year Book 2012.)

Unfortunately our Parliament has passed legislation in December 2012 to rollback shared parenting. (Refer Section 60CC of the Family Law Act 1975).

Children from separated families need both parents when they grow up. Otherwise the social problems, which exist in our community, will continue to escalate. The number of people in jail will continue to increase.

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4. Defence

The operation of the Australian Defence Force should be limited to the protection of Australia.

At present, the army is participating in what is called the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program.

The Aboriginal Community Assistance Program is a co-operative between the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) and the Australian Army within remote Aboriginal communities.

There is a fine line between providing assistance to a community and the taking control of a community. Unfortunately the later is the case in this situation.

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5. Economic Policy

We support less “red tape” and less government and bureaucratic intervention in our community.

We also support the need for some protection of our local manufacturing industries. Whilst local industries may appear not to manufacture goods as cheaply as some overseas countries do, the long-term view should be seen as being more important.

We support the need to maintain some local manufacturing skills here in Australia. Otherwise we will be at the mercy of these overseas countries at some time in the future.

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6. Education and Training

There were 3,510,875 children in primary and secondary schools in Australia in August 2010.  (ABS Year Book 2012).

Many of these children come from divorced or separated families.

Some state education departments do have family law procedures in place. For example, New South Wales, South Australia, QueenslandTasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory  have published details on the Internet (details for Western Australia and Victoria are not publicly available).

Unfortunately these documents are generally guidelines only rather than being actual policy.

We would support a  National Schools Family Law Policy that would emphasise the importance of both parents being involved in the education of their children, after divorce or separation.

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7. Employment

Unfortunately forty three (43) per cent (326,960 no.) of liable parents for child support are effectively unemployed. This is according to the Child Support Agency’s latest issue pf the  Child Support Scheme Facts and Figures 2008-09. (It is noted that since the 2008-09 issue the Child Support Agency has chosen not to publicly disclose later reports providing more recent information).

We support the repealing of the Child Support legislation (and the return to parenting orders contained in the Family Law legislation). We also support the adoption of equal time shared parenting legislation. This is to allow both parents to get back into the work force to provide financial stability and independence.

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8. Environment

We wish to secure current economic growth and at the same time preserve the environment for Australians of the future.

We maintain that the source of most of the future power generation in Australia will come from either coal or nuclear fired power stations.

We are opposed to nuclear power on the basis of the inherent safety dangers involved. This leaves coal fired power stations as the main source of power.

There are also other forms of power generation that are alternatives to coal fired power stations namely by using  wind and solar powered generators.

We would support both these types of power generation. However both methods do have problems, particularly with distribution.

Wind Power Generation

The “Roaring Forties” are generally found well south of the Australian mainland. These winds are not located near the main national electrical distribution grid lines. It should be noted that the land mass of Europe is located much further north than Australia is located south. Therefore northern Europe can economically rely on strong winds to produce power. Australia does not have this same advantage.

Solar Power Generation

Economical  sources of solar power generation would have to be located in the less inhabited areas of Central Australia. Unfortunately, these areas are also not near the main national electrical distribution grid lines.

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9. Family Law and Child Support Issues

(Refer to our separate policy on Family Law & Child Support Policy)

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10. Foreign Policy

We support any measures that would avoid having Australia being involved in any unnecessary future confrontation such as the war in Iraq or Afghanistan.

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11. Health

Both men and women are affected by our oppressive family law and child support system. This very often has a severe effect on their mental health and physical well being.

The  Government does have a  National Male Health Policy that is funded. Funding has been allocated in 2010 Budget for a total of $16.7 million over four (4) years. This is still ongoing.

Unfortunately this funding has been specifically restricted to “curing the problem”. No funding has been for “preventing the problem”.

Preventative action is what is required.

For example, the new National Male Health Policy has omitted tackling the following important issues that are a source of many of the problems:

  • Family court issues.
  • Child support problems.
  • Family violence order bias.
  • False sex abuse claims.
  • Gender discrimination.

It should also be noted that the National Health Budget is approximately $74,500,000,000 for the 2011-2012 Financial Year. This is an annual amount. A minuscule $16,700,000 was allocated for the National Male Health Policy. This  over a four (4) year period and did not cover finding solutions to men’s health problems.

We would support a National Health Policy – for both men and women – that would address all of the above prevention issues to provide real solutions. This is to prevent health issues from occurring, in the first instance.

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12. Housing

Either owning or renting a house is getting beyond the reach of the average wage earner.

Unfortunately this is not as a result of true cost increases, it is as a result of Government policies.

In 2011-12, owners with a mortgage had repayment costs that averaged $432 per week or 20% of their average gross weekly income. Tenants renting from a private landlord have to pay $347 per week or again 20% of their average gross weekly income (for completeness, households renting from state and territory housing authorities paid $136 per week. This represents 19 per cent of their average gross weekly income).  (ABS Housing Occupancy and Costs, Australia cat no 4130.0).

Very often, people have been affected by the effects of the Family Law and Child System cannot afford to own  a house or sometimes even to have rental accommodation. This is the result of assets being diluted by people who should not be the main beneficiaries of any family break-up e.g. lawyers, etc.

We would support a complete review of the Family Law and Child Support legislation

There are many reasons for the artificially high cost of housing. One of the other reasons is the general tax legislation. “Negative gearing” is pushing up the cost of houses and the subsequent rental costs.

We would support the removal of the “negative gearing” provisions in the current tax legislation.

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13. Immigration

We support controlled immigration.

In 2010-11, there were 423,897 arrivals to Australia and 253,618 departures, providing a net gain of 170,279 people (ref.  ABS Migration, Australia 2010-11. Cat no 3412.0).

This represents more than half the population gain for a year

Australia’s total fertility rate (TFR) was about 1.90 babies per female in 2009  (ABS Cat no. 3301.0 Births Australia 2009). It is recognised that without immigration, the TFR should be at least 2.1 for sustainability.

Australia needs controlled immigration to remain a vibrant and sustainable country.

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14. Marriage

Marriage is an important stepping stone to the development of our Society.

In 2011, the crude marriage rate was 5.4 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population,. This is  compared to 7.6 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population in 1991.

ABS Marriages and Divorces, Australia (3310.0)

Falls in the crude marriage rate indicates that there is a dissatisfaction with marriage.

To counteract that dissatisfaction, we would support a fundamental reform process of the Family Law Act 1975, with a view to making divorce laws more equitable for all concerned.

We would support similar comments made in item 11 of the Marriage Manifesto

Adobe Acrobat PDF copy of the Marriage Manifesto

We also note that we do not oppose same sex marriage. People have a right to choose which type of relationship that they wish to live in. This is without Government interference.

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15. Social Welfare

The largest component of Australia’s Annual Budget is the income support and benefits that is paid by the Government.

Over 4.2 million people, or more than one in five individuals, are direct beneficiaries of income support payments at any one time. The cost to the taxpayer in 2010-11 was $89 ,736, 967, 000 (ref. ABS cat no. 1301.0 Year Book 2010-11).

This is almost half of the National Budget.

To reduce this expenditure. the Federal Government is reducing payments to selected groups of the Community e.g. single parents. This is without solving the issues that cause the need for the income support and benefits in the first place.

Many of these people have been unnecessarily affected by these reductions.

Changes outlined in our Child Support and Family Law Policy would encourage those who can work to do so.

We believe that the implementation of these reforms would significantly reduce some of the above outlays made on social welfare.

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16. State and Local Governments

We support many of the functions, now being carried out by state government departments, being transferred to the Commonwealth Government.

Australia is over-governed. These changes would result in less unnecessary, bureaucratic intervention on the part of state governments being removed.

The Federal Government, State Governments and Territories and Local Government all handle, to varying degrees:

  • Roads  – including national, main roads and local roads.
  • Public Health – including Medicare, hospitals and local council health centres.
  • Education – including universities, primary and secondary schools and local council pre-schools.
  • Environment – emissions trading scheme, waste management and local recycling.
  • Tax Collection – including income tax, GST revenue, various state levies and stamp duties and local council land rates.

It is appreciated that many state government departments (and local government authorities) do view their roles as being important. The reality is that the true power resides with whoever collects the taxes. That power now resides with the Commonwealth Government.

This is simply because the bulk of taxation revenue, i.e. income tax and GST revenue – is raised by the Federal Government.

It would be very simple for the Federal Government or Local Council to take over any role that is now currently being done by the State Government.

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17. Superannuation

Funds held as superannuation are considered to be property by the Family Law courts. Our policy on superannuation can be found in our separate policy on NCPP(EP) Family Law & Child Support Policy.

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18. Transport

We support funding that would go towards overcoming deficiencies in public transport rather than on building more and more new freeways. This is not just for environmental reasons. It is also for reasons of logic. Public transport can simply transport a lot more people.

In March 2006, three-quarters (75%) of adults living in capital cities travelled to their usual place of work or study using private motor vehicles as their main form of transport. In addition, 19% of adults used public transport, and a further 5% either walked or cycled as their main form of transport to work or study. (Source: ABS Year Book 2012).

This current lack of public transport infrastructure indicates that our state and federal governments have been deficient in their planning duties for a number of years.

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19. Water

By far the largest consumer of water in Australia is the agriculture industry. Agriculture accounts for about two-thirds (67%) of total water consumption in Australia (ref Australian Bureau of Statistics Cat no. 4610 – Water Account Australia 2010-11

Therefore water is a scare but necessary resource for our rural communities.

We would support the amalgamation of the state-run water authorities under one National water authority.

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