A Tasmanian Family Court barrister says it is incorrect to claim fathers are routinely being denied access to children by the courts, and the tendency to "gild the lily" in custody battles is not a gendered issue.
While the legal fraternity was wary of a third review of Australia's family law system in three years, Kate Mooney SC - chair of the Tasmanian family law committee - said it was another opportunity to outline problems plaguing the courts.
A 2017 government inquiry into a "better family law system" made 33 recommendations, and an Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry released this year made 60 recommendations. The government has not responded to either review.
Instead, the government announced another review this month, to be co-chaired by One Nation senator Pauline Hanson, who made allegations of widespread lying by women to stop fathers accessing their children.
Ms Mooney, who has 23 years experience in family law, said the statistics did not support this assertion.
"The number of fathers who seek access, or time, via Family Court and don't get it is absolutely minuscule," she said.
"The statutory pathway that is set out by the Family Law Act encourages judges to contemplate not only shared parental responsibility, but also equal time.
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"It's extremely rare to have a no contact ruling."
Ms Mooney said lying during the course of proceedings could come from either the father or mother.
"The abandonment of truth does not belong to either gender exclusively, especially when their most precious possession - their children - or access to their children, is at stake," she said.
"Memories aren't video tapes. Everyone remembers an incident differently, so people do have different recollections of the same situation coloured by their own experience."
Recommendations from the ALRC review included removing mandatory considerations of living arrangements, stricter case management to resolve disputes quicker and limits on interim appeals over children's orders. Ms Mooney said a "rigorous response" to this review would be a better use of time.
Last year, the government proposed merging the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court, a move that widely angered the legal fraternity.
The wait for matters to appear in the Family Court in Tasmania is up to 18 months, however this is far quicker than most mainland states.
Complete denial of access to children only occurs in extreme cases, including child abuse, substance abuse and in significant mental health cases.
Northern Tasmania sexual assault support service Laurel House shared the concern at yet another review of Australia's family law system, and believed the ALRC review and 2017 review contained all the relevant information the government needed.
Chief executive officer Justine Brooks said the limited powers of the Family Court to investigate family violence was putting children at risk.
"The review conducted by ALRC found that the federal Family Law Court system posed an 'unacceptable risk to children' with the most urgent concern being that the federal Family Courts have limited powers to investigate allegations of family violence and child abuse," she said.
"Instead, they must rely on state agencies to do that work and share information.
"From our experience, working with women, men and children, the family court process is unnecessarily stressful and some people are compromised due to factors such as having limited access to resources which can lead to a tendency to settle for less than satisfactory outcome or the ability to challenge final decisions."
A study by the Institute of Family Studies found that false allegations about child abuse were "rare" and were more likely to come from fathers who did not have the primary care of the children.
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