Marguerite Picard Blog

Hi and welcome to my blog.

This blog is a free resource for you with the aim to educate and express opinions about collaborative family law, divorce, separation and child custody. All articles are informative and are up to date with current practices. Please enjoy reading and take care of yourself. - Marguerite.


Rights of Children in Detention

Sister Brigid Arthur

Last week, Sister Brigid Arthur took the cause of four children held in detention to the High Court of Australia. Sadly, the children, Sister Brigid and all Australians lost on Thursday 20th January when the Court decided that the continued detention of the children was lawful under the Migration Act.

The Court’s decision was made against an acknowledgement that detention is known to cause serious harm to children. We may use the word “detention” but these children are imprisoned, and that is in contravention of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Children. It is also contrary to the recommendations which came from the Human Rights Commission Inquiry in 2004. That inquiry discovered appalling instances of physical and psychological harm inflicted on children by migration detention.

If the High Court is bound by the Migration Act, that Act must be changed without delay, otherwise it remains the excuse for our government to continue the abuse and neglect of children in these centres. The states of Australia  long ago legislated to protect children  in recognition of their vulnerability, but our Federal Government continues to sanction the daily neglect and abuse of children in detention in this country.

The Migration Act says that imprisonment of these children, whose families are seeking asylum, is lawful as a last resort. Sister Brigid went to the Court with an offer of alternative accommodation for these young children. How then can continuing to detain these children be said to be an option of last resort?

If we are silent on this issue as a community we are condoning a system which injures children while hiding behind the rule of law. The system can be changed. Now. We can ensure that this happens by joining the advocacy of Sister Brigid and making our voice heard in the same way as we would if these were the children of our own family.

Marguerite Picard

Forced Marriage in Australia: Add your voice to the discussion

It would come as a surprise to most of us that there is no specific law preventing the arrangement of forced marriages in Australia. We do have laws preventing human trafficking and kidnap, but these may not prevent forced marriages being arranged in Australia and taking place in other countries. The Australian Government has released a discussion paper and is… Read more

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Caught in the Crossfire: Divided Lives

The article “Divided Lives” by Christine Jackman in the Weekend Australian magazine 27-28 November 2010 pp 16-21, makes compelling reading. It quotes Dr. Jennifer McIntosh in relation to the report by McIntosh, Smyth, Kelahar, Wells and Long, delivered to the Attorney General in May 2010 about shared care arrangements in high-conflict families. The conclusion of the report was that children… Read more

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Separation and Your Family: Moving from the past to the future

The definition of “family” is complex today, and “family” means different things to different people. This change has happened over time. That “family” is  a cornerstone in the lives of Australians has not changed over time.   What Happens Today During A Permanent Family Separation? Parents and adults in families going through separation express anguish and deep concern about how… Read more

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Tiger Woods Collaborative Divorce

  Collaborative Divorce What Is It? Amicable or friendly Divorce This high profile divorce was not a good news story, but Tiger Woods and his wife Elin Nordegren decided to work with an interdisciplinary team in a collaborative divorce. That is a good news story. My family law and mediation practice is established around working in interdisciplinary teams. I celebrate… Read more

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Dreams and Interdisciplinary Teams

Collaborative family law conference On my recent trip to Washington, for a conference on collaborative family law, I stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the site of Martin Luther King ‘I have a Dream’ speech. His dream of racial equality, of unity and his belief that “We cannot walk alone” ensured the passing of civil rights laws… Read more

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