Legislative Council: Tuesday, October 31, 2023


Parental Alienating Behaviours

The Hon. S.L. GAME (15:14): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Attorney-General regarding parental alienation.

Leave granted.

The Hon. S.L. GAME: Parental alienation is a widespread issue that has for too long now gone unaddressed. It is mostly an unrecognised crisis for thousands of South Australian families, yet the Malinauskas government has yet to even acknowledge the problem exists. It is a well-documented issue which extends to grandparents and other family members including all those who play an important role in a child's upbringing. To ignore its existence is to perpetuate family violence.

I understand the Eeny Meeny Miney Mo Foundation, which dedicates its efforts to advocate for targeted parents and works towards the reunification of children across Australia, wrote to the Attorney-General on 17 May seeking assistance. My questions to the Attorney-General are:

1. Will the Malinauskas government acknowledge the existence of parental alienation and when can the Eeny Meeny Miney Mo Foundation expect a response to its correspondence with the office of the Attorney-General?

2. Why was the office of the Attorney-General unable to confirm it had indeed received correspondence from the Eeny Meeny Miney Mo Foundation following an inquiry from my office on 25 October?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:15): I thank the honourable member for her question and I note that this issue is something that the honourable member's federal party, through Senator Pauline Hanson, has talked about extensively in the federal parliament, and particularly in reference to Senator Pauline Hanson's personal family experience and downplaying the experience of victim survivors who are women who have experienced domestic violence.

There is very little that I agree on with Senator Pauline Hanson, and the idea that many women in particular are using criminal processes and the Family Court in particular to alienate children from their parents is one that I think is exceptionally contested in much of the research and much of what I have seen.

I had my office check, and in relation to specific correspondence that I receive, I think back in May I received some correspondence offering the same sort of views about parental alienation and the role that courts or others play. I think this particular piece of correspondence referred to, and I will quote from it, 'the women's DV industry'.

When I hear that sort of language that seeks to downplay and minimise the effect that domestic family violence has on women survivors it is often a red flag as to what people's views are, and so when people use language such as 'the women's DV industry' to belittle and downplay, I think that says a lot about the rest of the views that sometimes many people hold.