A letter from a father isn't always the happy occasion the recipient is expecting, says columnist Colin Claridge.
A letter from a father isn't always the happy occasion the recipient is expecting, says columnist Colin Claridge. wisawa222

Why are politicians so reluctant to reform family law?

I GOT a letter from my father the other day.

For most people, I guess that's a happy occasion.

I sat for awhile just staring at the unopened envelope. I've made no secret of the fact that much of my life has been wasted trying to either cut through the family curtain of secrets or trying to get my father to acknowledge my existence.

A couple of days ago, I received a letter from his solicitor. I am apparently supposed to stop trying to contact him. Apparently, he's now decided that he doesn't know my mother from Adam.

Someone's lying and I'm pretty sure I know which one is. Isn't it reprehensible how the kids always seem to get caught up in their parents' rubbish?

But mine is not an isolated case. There must be hundreds if not thousands who have found themselves in this situation.

Being a parent who denies all responsibility has to be one of the lowest acts known to mankind. There should be laws to protect the kids in this situation but there really aren't. Family law is such a tricky area and probably why politicians are so reluctant to reform this sector - at least on a State level.

One of the problems with our Federation is that the states are not in sync when it comes to their family laws.

Children in Victoria for example, have been better off than their Queensland counterparts. In Victoria, an unmarried woman could historically have a fleeing father charged with abandonment.

No such law has existed in Queensland. It seems that in good old Queensland, they're steadfastly holding to the principle that there is no such thing as an illegitimate father. Only illegitimate children.

In a day and age when technology would so easily settle matters of disputed paternity, does it not seem strange that in this state, the law cannot compel a father to a paternity test?

One might be able to drag him to the Supreme Court, but once there, the judge has no power to order him to undergo one.

Consequently, it really comes down to a case of who does the judge believe: the bloke or the mother?

So why are our honourable members so reluctant to review this section of law?

At a time when it appears the state Labor Government looks keen on pursuing reform of the abortion laws - no doubt emboldened by the result of the Ireland referendum - it seems they'll be too busy with that to represent the interests of any children fighting for the fundamental right to their identities.

Perhaps Labor thinks they'll get more votes from reforming abortion laws.

I'm sure it would be a winner in the eyes of men like my father: solve the problem before it's born.

I have been trying for some time to get the LNP and the ALP to listen to the story that I share with perhaps countless other Queenslanders.

These Queenslanders who have been denied their identities because in the eyes of the law, our errant fathers seem to have the upper hand.

The MPs seem to like the status quo rather than rock the boat by reforming the appropriate Act.

Reforms that would place the onus of proof on the errant fathers.

Reforms that would ensure a man cannot refuse to have their name registered with their child's birth just because it doesn't suit them to.

Reforms that would compel them to take paternity tests.

Why are such reforms so unpalatable to our politicians?

Perhaps the answer lies in the disproportionate gender imbalance in the halls of power.

Perhaps such reforms could open a few uncomfortably close cans of worms.

There is of course another term to describe children born out of wedlock. A Biblical term probably better used to describe the errant fathers and those politicians who, by the very act of their inaction, protect them.