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Author Topic: Australian Laws - information only, no discussion please  (Read 8468 times)
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klaasend
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« on: November 01, 2010, 09:12:09 PM »

Tribo is going to give us as much information she can on Australian laws and put it all here in this thread.  She'll start posting later tonight.

PLEASE don't post here, this thread will be for information only with no discussion.

TIA
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2010, 12:32:57 AM »

Thank you for this thread Klaas.

Monkeys I plan to repost the Australian information regarding passports first and then move on to other laws, rules and regulations.  I will watch the current Zahra threads for suggestions of any other official information I can post here that may help.   Thank you.


Passports - Australian child passport application


Service Description

A passport application for a child must be lodged by a parent or other person with a parental responsibility for the child. The person lodging the application must also provide proof of their identity. An Australian citizen under 18 years of age who has never married is regarded as a child.

Children cannot be included in an adult's passport. Each child, including a newborn infant, must be issued with their own passport.

Before a passport may be issued to a child, the written consent of all persons with parental responsibility for the child is needed.

If you are lodging an application for a child overseas, you must complete an Overseas Application Form1.

Note: A renewal form cannot be used to apply for a child's passport. A new application must be lodged on each occasion.

Passport application forms can be filled in and printed online, but not lodged.

Choose the Click to access button below to complete and print an Australian Passport Child application form.

What is needed to use this service?

    * When you apply for a child's Australian passport, you must provide the child's FULL birth certificate as well as any previous Australian passport that the child may have had.
    * If the child was born in Australia, you will need to provide an original document that confirms one parent's Australian citizenship or permanent residency at the time of the child's birth. Applicants born of New Zealand parents must present an "Evidence of Australian Citizenship" or an equivalent citizenship certificate.
    * If the child does not have an Australian birth certificate, you will need to provide the child's full overseas birth certificate (with an English translation if necessary) and proof of the child's Australian citizenship.
    * If the child was born overseas and has no birth certificate, complete Form B6 - Child Born Overseas and No Birth Certificate2.
    * If you are presenting Court Orders with the application, you must complete Form B7 - No Further Court Orders3.
    * You may also be required to complete Form B11 - General Declaration by Passport Applicant4 in order to provide additional information on a particular issue.
    * For children subject to Child Protection Orders under state/territory law, complete Form B10 – Child subject to a state/territory child welfare law5.

Note: Birth extracts and commemorative certificates are not acceptable.

http://australia.gov.au/service/passports-australian-child-passport-application
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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2010, 12:37:18 AM »

Children and Parental Consent

There are laws governing the issue of passports to children.

These laws are designed to protect children from abduction and to safeguard the rights of all people with parental responsibility for children.

This page outlines the requirement for the consent of people with parental responsibility when applying for a child’s passport.
Who needs to give consent?

    It is a requirement of the Australian Passports Act 2005 that before a passport may be issued to a child (anyone under 18 years who has never married) the written consent of all people with parental responsibility for the child is needed.

    Where persons with parental responsibility are in separate locations, the non-lodging person may provide consent through their closest passport office or Australian diplomatic or consular post.

    In most cases people with parental responsibility are the natural parents named on the child's full birth certificate; their parental responsibility can only be removed by an Australian court.

    Where a father is not named on a child's birth certificate but has formally acknowledged paternity by signing a document to this effect, he has parental responsibility for the purposes of the Australian Passports Act 2005 and is required to provide consent prior to issue of a passport.

    As well as the natural parents, a person may have parental responsibility through Australian court orders covering residence, contact, access rights, guardianship, custody, or other specific issues relating to the child.

    Institutions, such as a government welfare agency, may also have parental responsibility under an Australian court order.

What happens if you cannot get consent?

    If the consent of anyone with parental responsibility for the child cannot be obtained after all avenues have been exhausted, and there is no court order permitting the child to travel internationally, a written request for 'special circumstances' under section 11(2) of the Australian Passports Act 2005 may be made. An Approved Senior Officer, an officer delegated by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, will consider the statement in support of the request to determine if a passport may be issued without the other person's consent.

    In such cases, the passport application must be accompanied by:

        * a statement made on Form B8 or B9 in which you state why the necessary consent has not and cannot be obtained, and explain the special circumstances relevant to the application, and
        * the child's full birth certificate, and
        * the originals of all court orders affecting parental responsibility for the child.

Foreign court orders

    Decisions under the Australian Passports Act 2005 are not subject to foreign court orders affecting parental rights and responsibilities unless registered under the Australian Family Law Act 1975. However, foreign court orders, particularly from countries which are party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, should be submitted with the application as supporting documentation of the circumstances. They may be taken into account by the Approved Senior Officer when reaching a decision.

Processing times

    The normal processing times and an option to select priority processing are only available where full parental consent is confirmed at time of lodgement.

    Where a child's application is lodged without the consent of a person with parental responsibility, an additional three to four weeks is generally required to determine whether special circumstances exist. This time is needed for passport officers to make inquiries, which may include writing to the other person to advise them that an application has been lodged and seek their consent. If you are able to obtain the other person's consent yourself in the meantime, a passport will be issued within the normal time frame.

    Note: It is advisable not to make firm travel plans or pay for tickets until you know whether passport approval has been given.

Approved Senior Officer's role

    When an application without consent based on special circumstances is lodged, it will be considered by an Approved Senior Officer having regard to the Australian Passports Act 2005 and the Australian Passports Determination 2005. The Approved Senior Officer will assess the application to determine if a passport may be issued without the consent of all parties with parental responsibility. If people with parental responsibility disagree about the child travelling overseas, the Approved Senior Officer may declare that the matter should be referred to a court for decision.

    If an Approved Senior Officer decides that a passport should be issued on the basis of special circumstances but new information becomes available, in particular from another person with parental responsibility, the Approved Senior Officer will consider cancelling the passport.

Outcome

    There is no guarantee that an application to the Approved Senior Officer will result in a passport being issued to the child. It may still be necessary to obtain a court order permitting the child to travel internationally.

    A passport cannot be issued to a child against the wishes of a person who has parental responsibility for that child unless:

        * the circumstances set out in section 11 of the Australian Passports Act 2005 have been met; or
        * special circumstances are established; or
        * an Australian court order permits the child to travel internationally.

    The Australian Passports Act 2005 and the Australian Passports Determination 2005 are available from this website.

    Who can witness the consent?

    The witness must not be related to the child by birth or marriage or be in a de facto relationship with either of the child's parents, nor live at the same address. The person giving consent must sign the consent in the presence of the witness. A different person may witness the signature of each person giving consent.

    The guarantor of the child may witness the consent but must not be related in any way to the child applicant.

    Information about parental orders and responsibility

    Advice about court orders affecting parental responsibility can be obtained from the Family Court website.

    Step-parents and consent

    A step-parent's consent to the issue of a passport to a child is not required unless:

        * the child has been adopted by the step-parent;
        * the step-parent has a court order giving them parental responsibility or
        * some other form of legal relationship exists.

    Wards of the State

    The relevant Child Welfare Department and all persons having a parental responsibility for the child need to give consent.

    Adopted children

    There is no reason why a child would find out that he or she has been adopted when applying for a passport. The birth certificate will show details of the child's adoptive parents, not the child's natural parents.

For more information see brochure Children and parental consent (html) (Download PDF 245 KB)

https://www.passports.gov.au/Web/Newppt/Consent.aspx
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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2010, 12:43:51 AM »

Passports - Child alert request

Service Description

If you have parental responsibility for a child and you have reason to believe that an attempt may be made to remove the child from Australia or an overseas country, you can complete a Child Alert Request form. A Child Alert Request is a warning to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that there may be circumstances which prevent the issue of an Australian passport or other travel document to a particular child.

This Alert Request relates only to the issue of Australian passports and travel documents. It cannot stop a person from travelling if he/she already has a current Australian passport or can obtain a passport or travel document from another country. In this case you should contact the Australian Federal Police Family Law Unit in your state or territory to arrange for a barrier control alert to be put in place. If the child is already overseas, you should contact local border/police authorities in the country where the child resides.

Choose the Click to access button below to complete and print out a Child Alert Request form.
Who can use this service?

You can make a Child Alert Request if you are the parent of, or person with a parental responsibility for, the child named on the this form.

What is needed to use this service?

    * A certified copy of any court order reflecting parental responsibility for the child named on this form.

    * Accompanying statement (if necessary).

http://australia.gov.au/service/passports-child-alert-request
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2010, 12:48:04 AM »

The AFP and Family Law matters

The AFP's role in the family law process is to act on specific orders of the Court. Those orders are Recovery Orders, Warrants of Arrest and Writs of Possession. The AFP cannot enforce residency, care or contact orders. The AFP Family Law Team will try to assist you where we can and act as quickly as possible in the execution of orders. We understand that Family Law matters are sensitive and an emotional time for all involved.

The AFP cannot provide legal advice. So, if you would like more information about the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Magistrates Court procedures and forms we recommend you look at their websites - www.familycourt.gov.au or www.fmc.gov.au. The contact numbers for the Family Court throughout Australia are located at the end of this kit.

Or, speak to your solicitor if you have engaged one.

Airport Watch List

This system is designed to prevent children whose parents are involved in Family Law proceedings being removed from Australia without the consent of the Court. Generally, the system is used for matters where there is an actual fear that the child may be removed from the Commonwealth of Australia. Sections 65Y and 65Z of the Family Law Act 1975 provide that a child who is subject to family law proceedings or a residence, care or contact specifying non-removal from Australia must not be removed from the Commonwealth of Australia. There is provision for an exception to these sections under Sections 65Y (2) and 65Z (2) which provide for a child to be removed from Australia with the consent in writing (authenticated as prescribed) of each party. Approval to remove a child from Australia may also be obtained via a new court order. A party who removes or attempts to remove a child from the Commonwealth of Australia may be sentenced up to three (3) years imprisonment.

Where an order that specifically restrains the travel of a child from Australia is in existence it will, in most instances, be necessary to obtain another court order to permit travel regardless of the consent of the parents — that is unless the order restraining travel makes specific allowance for removal of the child with parental consent. Orders restraining travel are, in most instances, made under Part XIV of the Family Law Act, which operates independent of Sections 65Y and 65Z. The Watch List is in effect at all international sea ports and airports.

The Watch List is in effect at all international sea ports and airports.

Placing a child's name on the airport watch list

To place a child's name on the watch list, you will be required to obtain a Court Order or an application for an immediate order (often referred to as a restraining or retention order) that directs the AFP to place the name of the child on the Airport Watch List. The direction from the Court must be specific and not implied.
A certified copy of the Court Order must be provided to the AFP.

The Court Order can be issued by the Family Court of Australia, the Family Court of Western Australia, the Federal Magistrates Court or a Local Court that exercises jurisdiction under the Family Law Act 1975. The AFP Family Law Teams prefer the following wording for the court order:

    "That until further Order each party, (first name, second name, surname and date of birth of each party) their servants and/or agents be and are hereby restrained from removing or attempting to remove or causing or permitting the removal of the said child/children (first name, second name, surname and date of birth of each party) from the Commonwealth of Australia AND IT IS REQUESTED that the Australian Federal Police give effect to this order by placing the name/names of the said child/children on the Airport Watch List in force at all points of arrival and departure in the Commonwealth of Australia and maintain the child's/children's name/names on the Watch List until the Court orders its removal".

If either party desires to take the child/children out of the Commonwealth of Australia, they will be permitted to travel only with an Order of the Court. If there is still a genuine need to keep the child/children on the Watch List, the Court can make an Order which allows travel for a certain period of time with a certain party. It is recommended that you discuss your intentions to travel with your solicitor. Unless the Restraining Order is discharged, the Watch List Alert will still activate if an attempt is made to travel. That is why it is important to advise the Family Law Team in your State or Territory of your intentions to travel to seek a variation to the Court Order in plenty of time (where possible one week) before the intended travel to prevent lengthy delays prior to departure.

Removing a child's name from the airport watch list

A child may be removed from the Airport Watch List only with a Court Order. That Order must discharge the Order or specific paragraph which restrained the parties from removing the child/children from Australia and/or direct the AFP to remove the child/children from the Airport Watch List.

A child's name will be removed from the Airport Watch List when the AFP receives a Court Order to that effect. If there is no longer a fear that a child will be taken out of Australia, it is recommended that you obtain a Discharge Order to avoid future difficulties at Australian Ports.
What are my obligations?

Once you have obtained an Order from the Court, you or your solicitor should provide an original sealed copy to the AFP Family Law representative in the State or Territory office for the following as soon as practicable:

   1. All Court Orders issued by the Court which relate to the Airport Watch List; and
   2. All Court Orders issued by the Court while the child/children remain on the Watch List;

If the Court has allowed travel for a certain period of time, it is recommended that you or your solicitor provide a copy of the amended Court Order to the AFP Family Law representative at least seven (7) working days prior to travel dates. Where the parties’ consent has been obtained for travel under section 65Y or 65Z of the Family Law Act 1985, and the parties’ signatures have been witnessed by a person authorised to witness a Statutory Declaration (as required by Regulation 13 of the Family Law Regulations 1984.) it should be presented to the AFP Family Law representative at least seven (7) days prior to travel to allow authentication of consent details in order to avoid lengthy delays at airport terminals or the possibility that travel will be refused. In all other circumstances where a Care, Contact or Residence Order has been made by a Court, a Court Order authorising overseas travel by a child should be provided to the Australian Federal Police at least seven (7) working days prior to travel.

In the event that your child presents at an international port of departure and is prevented from departure by the Australian Federal Police, you will be required to attend at such place and time (to be advised by the AFP) to take delivery of the child. All costs incurred in effecting the delivery (i.e. travel, sustenance for yourself, your agent and the child/ren) WILL NOT be met by the Family Court or the Australian Federal Police. Thus it is important that you notify the AFP of any changes to your personal details as a matter of priority. Additionally, it is important that when providing your details, you nominate a 24-hour contact. This will also assist with confirmation of variations to the order.

http://www.afp.gov.au/policing/family-law/family-law-kit.aspx
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2010, 12:52:35 AM »

Continued from previous post : 

Confirming if a child is on the airport watch list

To seek a watch list entry status to establish whether a child is on the Airport Watch List, you or your solicitor will need to send a written request to the AFP Family Law representative in your State or Territory by fax or mail including the following information:

    * full name, date of birth and gender for your child/children
    * your full name, date of birth and association to the child/children
    * a copy of the last Court Order issued, if available
    * your contact number to advise the status of the Watch List Alert.

Unfortunately, due to the overwhelming workload of the Family Law representatives, we are not able to provide you a response in writing.

Children already taken overseas

When a parent believes a child has already been removed from the Commonwealth of Australia, an application can be made for the return of the child under the provisions of an International treaty known as the Hague Convention (Civil Aspects of Child Abduction). Proceedings can be instituted only if the country to which the child has been taken is a signatory to the Hague Convention.

To find out if a particular country is a signatory to the Hague Convention, you can call the Commonwealth Central Authority on 1800 100 480 (free call) or you can check on the website of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the body which administers the Convention. Further information regarding the Hague Convention can be found at International Child Abduction (Attorney General's Website) or speak to your solicitor.
Recovery of Children

A Recovery Order is a court order that directs Federal, State and/or Territory police to recover and return a child mentioned in the order to the person nominated in the order (usually the applicant). A Recovery Order can be issued by the Family Court of Australia, the Federal Magistrates Court or by relevant courts within your State or Territory exercising Family Law jurisdiction, under Section 67Q of the Family Law Act 1975. A Recovery Order is valid for twelve (12) months from the date of issue unless otherwise stated. Recovery Orders also contain an order prohibiting the person (generally the respondent) from again taking or removing the child. If the person again removes the child, they may be arrested without warrant (Section 65Q of the Act).

Even though a person may have a Court Order giving the person residence, care or contact of a child, the police are unable to become involved when the child is removed or not returned to the person unless a Recovery Order has first been obtained. Breaches of a Residence, Care or Contact Order can be reported to the Court. Police will act only on a Recovery Order that is received from the Court in Form 34 format should the State or Territory police be actioning the orders.

AFP will not generally recover a child, except in extraordinary circumstances, until the person to whom the child is to be returned is in a position to receive the child and is close by. This is especially so if the child is very young or does not speak English. If the child is interstate, the applicant must still be as close as possible to receive the child. This reduces the stress on the child and the necessity for the child to remain in police care. Please speak to the AFP Officer in Charge of your Recovery Order for more detail.
The applicant will not be permitted to be present during the execution of the Recovery Order.

To assist the AFP in locating subject children, investigating police require as much information as you have regarding the children's possible whereabouts. Applicants can assist the AFP by completing a Family Law Information Sheet (DOC, 250KB) and providing a copy to the Court when making application for a Recovery Order.

If you do not know where your child/children can be located, the AFP may request that you obtain a Location or Information Order from the Court. It is highly recommended that you discuss these options with your solicitor or the Family Law representative.

Note: It should be remembered that the Family Law representative may work on many Recovery Orders simultaneously. The AFP understands these matters are difficult for all involved and will action these Orders as soon as possible. It is important that the AFP is aware of the background in the matter before an attempt is made to recover a child. The AFP may request the applicant to complete an Information Request for this purpose.

Publication Orders

Publication Orders permit a person to publish in a newspaper or periodical publication or by radio broadcast or television an account of family law proceedings. If a Recovery Order has been issued, the AFP may request that you obtain a Publication Order to permit the AFP to seek assistance from the public, especially when the location of the child is not obtained through a Location or Information Order. Please speak to your AFP Case Officer regarding a Publication Order.

Writs of Possession

Writ of Possession, also known as a Sequestration Order, is a Court Order that directs that the estate of the person against whom the decree has been made be sequestrated. This Order will direct police to remove nominated persons from the premises and to secure that premises.

Emergency Orders

There is an after hours service available through the Family Court of Australia where a judicial officer may be contacted to consider the making of an emergency order. However this is available only in cases of extreme urgency. The AFP will give priority to emergency orders on request by the Courts.

To obtain emergency orders, the judicial officer must be satisfied that there is an immediate risk of a child being removed from Australia or a need for immediate action by the police. If you have immediate concerns for the safety or welfare of a child, contact your local police.

The Family Court Emergency Line number is 1300 352 000. The judicial officer does not have immediate access to a Court file and will not be able to answer questions in relation to your particular Family Court matter.

If an Emergency Orders is made, the judicial officer will advise the AFP at the airport in your State so that immediate action can begin. If the above circumstances relate to you, you can contact the Family Court Emergency Line on 1300 352 000.

Secrecy

Section 121 of the Family Law Act 1975 creates secrecy obligations regarding disclosure of court proceedings and related information.

Further advice

The AFP cannot provide you with legal advice.

If you require further information, speak to your solicitor or visit the websites provided in this form. The list of contact numbers attached may also be useful.

http://www.afp.gov.au/policing/family-law/family-law-kit.aspx
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2010, 12:58:05 AM »

Australian Embassies, high commissions, consulates, multilateral missions and representative offices in Untied States of America.

# UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Australian Consulate-General - New York)
# UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Australian Embassy - Washington DC)
# UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Australian Mission to the United Nations - New York)
# UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Australian Consulate-General - San Francisco)
# UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Australian Consulate-General - Chicago)
# UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Australian Consulate-General - Honolulu)
# UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Australian Consulate - Houston)
# UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Australian Consulate-General - Los Angeles)
# UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Australian Consulate - Denver)
# UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Australian Consulate-General - Atlanta)

http://www.dfat.gov.au/missions/#u
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« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2010, 01:53:23 AM »

Arrested or jailed overseas

Each year almost 1000 Australians are arrested overseas and about 220 are in prisons overseas at any one time. Being detained or jailed overseas, or having one of your relatives or friends arrested and in prison overseas, can be very traumatic, distressing and frightening. Prison conditions in many countries can be significantly harsher than those in Australia.

If you are arrested overseas, you may face a significant period of detention before your case comes to trial. Legal and administrative processes may be substantially different from those in Australia and slow by our standards.

This brochure is designed to provide information to help you understand what consular staff in Australia and overseas can do to assist prisoners and their families during this difficult time.

When Australians travel abroad, they leave behind Australia’s support systems, emergency service capabilities and medical facilities. The Australian Government will do what it can to help prisoners and their families as much as possible within the local and international legal framework. There may be limitations to what can be done and you should have realistic expectations about this. It is recommended you read the Consular Services Charter, available on smartraveller.gov.au, before you go.

Before you go — be prepared

Local laws

Familiarise yourself with local laws

While you are in another country, you are required to respect and abide by that country’s laws as you are required to respect and abide by Australian laws when you are home.

Be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that may appear harsh by Australian standards, apply to you. Some countries impose tough penalties including life imprisonment and the death penalty. Age, health concerns or ignorance are not valid excuses.

International laws

The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations

The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, available at http://treaties.un.org and which many countries are a signatory to, provides the framework upon which a person who has been arrested, detained or jailed overseas is entitled to seek access to consular officers from their country of citizenship. Should you be detained overseas, you should ask to speak to officials from the nearest Australian mission.

Addresses and telephone numbers of Australian embassies, high commissions and consulates can be found at www.dfat.gov.au/missions.

Drugs

Do not use, carry or get involved with drugs.

Do not be fooled into thinking carrying or taking drugs overseas is worth the risk. Australians do get caught and every year, many Australians of all ages are arrested overseas on drug charges. Even the possession of small quantities of so-called ‘soft drugs’ can attract jail sentences or heavy fines.

Avoid getting into trouble with drugs overseas by:

    * obeying the law — do not purchase, take or travel with drugs
    * locking your bags as a precaution against tampering or theft
    * not leaving your bags unattended in public areas or in the care of a stranger
    * never carrying anything into or out of another country for someone else
    * ensuring your medication is not considered illegal overseas by contacting the nearest foreign mission of the country you are visiting before your departure. Contact details are available from www.dfat.gov.au/embassies.html.

In some countries the presence of illegal drugs detected in blood or urine tests is considered possession. You may also be charged with possessing drugs if trace amounts are found on your body, bloodstream, clothes or luggage. Amounts of 0.05 grams or less can lead to a conviction for drug possession and lengthy minimum mandatory prison sentences.

Being arrested overseas

If you are arrested overseas you have the right to contact the Australian Government, but consular assistance cannot override local law, even when local laws may appear harsh by Australian standards.

The Australian Government cannot get you out of jail.

What we can do to assist

We will do everything in our power to assist Australians who are arrested or in prison overseas, but we must also work within the legal and administrative processes that apply in the country.

We can:

    * visit you while you are detained
    * assist you in getting information about visitor procedures or accessing money or telephones
    * provide you with a list of local English-speaking lawyers
    * if authorised, arrange for your next-of-kin to be contacted and informed of your welfare
    * assist you to organise your family and friends to send you money
    * assist you to maintain contact with your family
    * discuss justified and serious complaints about ill-treatment or discrimination with the local authorities
    * raise medical or dental issues with local authorities, should you fail in your attempts to have these issues addressed
    * arrange a small loan from the Australian Government under the Prisoner Loan Scheme (subject to your location and strict eligibility criteria)
    * monitor your court trials and, in some circumstances, attend as an *******
    * where applicable, provide you with information on the International Transfer of Prisoners Scheme
    * support an application for a pardon, if local law and practice allow.

What we cannot do

We cannot:

    * get you out of jail, or give Local Authorities written guarantees to secure your release
    * determine your innocence or otherwise
    * conduct investigations relating to any alleged offence
    * provide you or your family with legal advice
    * make recommendations as to which lawyer you should choose
    * pay your lawyer’s fees, instigate court procedures or interfere in local judicial processes
    * seek better treatment for you than that provided to the host country’s own citizens or other nationals
    * arrange your bail or pay your fines
    * support you financially in prison, except in some circumstances where the country and your circumstances qualify you for the Prisoner Loan Scheme.

http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/tips/gaolos.html


continued in next post :
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« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2010, 02:06:07 AM »

continued from previous post :

How we assist you

Consular services

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides assistance to Australians who find themselves in trouble overseas. This support is referred to as consular services.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) collects information regarding the overseas arrest or detention of Australian citizens for the purpose of providing consular assistance. Subject to the restrictions of the Privacy Act 1988 and Australian laws, DFAT may be required to pass this information to Australian law enforcement agencies.

Dual nationality

The Australian Government seeks to extend to all its citizens, including dual nationals, the full range of consular assistance. However, under international law, countries are not obliged to recognise dual nationality.

A country may not permit Australian consular assistance to be given to Australian citizens who, according to its own laws, it considers and treats as its own citizen. Additionally, a person might not be regarded as being an Australian if that person was not travelling on their Australian passport, which may also limit the Australian Government's ability to provide consular assistance.

While consular officers will try to assist as much as possible, the extent to which we are able to help is determined by the host government.

Host governments may not allow consular officers to provide consular assistance. They may deny consular visits and may not divulge information relevant to your case. In such cases the Australian Government will register its view with the local government that all Australian citizens are entitled to receive consular assistance, however there is no guarantee that local authorities will make any allowances as a result of these representations.

Consular visits

If you are an Australian detained overseas and request consular assistance, an Australian consular officer will visit you as soon as possible after notification of your detention and once permission is received from the local authorities. Timing of this visit may depend on the severity of the charge, your location and consular staff resources.

Australian consular officers will not make assumptions about your guilt or innocence.
Their primary interest is your welfare.

When providing consular assistance to you when you are detained, consular officers will seek to ensure that you:

    * have regular contact with a consular officer
    * have access to legal advice
    * are treated no less favourably than local citizens detained for similar offences
    * are subject to humanitarian standards of prisoner welfare
    * have your basic needs met.

Consular officers may be able to assist you in obtaining information about local visiting, phone and mail regulations and censorship, privileges and social and welfare services. If available, consular officers will also seek to provide information on whether it is possible for you to work in the prison.

Consular officers will attempt to maintain contact with you throughout your period of detention, and should you be sentenced, your jail term. The frequency of visits will depend on factors such as the location of the prison, length of the sentence, and consular officers being able to obtain the necessary approvals from the local authorities.

You may request that meetings with your consular officer are held in private, away from police or prison officials. This will be at the discretion of local authorities.

Legal assistance

Australian consular officers will provide Australians detained overseas with sufficient information to obtain legal advice.

While consular officers can provide you with a list of local English-speaking lawyers, consular officers are not lawyers and cannot provide you or your family with legal advice or make recommendations as to which lawyer you should choose. You have the responsibility to choose your own lawyer and maintain close interest in your case.

In consultation with your legal representative, consular officers can provide general information about the local legal system. The information may include details on legal aid and prosecution, remand, bail and appeal procedures, so you have a better understanding about what is happening or may happen to you. A consular officer may also attend some of your hearings as an *******. However, consular officers are not able to make representations to the court on your behalf. Consular officers are not able to provide interpreting services and you may need to make arrangements through your lawyer to obtain a suitable interpreter if required.

Family liaison

While you are in detention, we encourage you to maintain direct contact with your family or friends and keep them informed of your health and welfare needs. We also recommend that you allow your family to directly liaise with your appointed legal representative in order for them to keep informed about your case. However, consular officers will not be able to confirm your welfare or situation with your family unless you agree.

If you are not able to make contact with your family, consular officers may be able to assist. Under the Privacy Act 1988, however, consular officers can only pass on information to your family if you agree. If you do not want your family to be notified, your request will be respected and information will be withheld from your family and friends.

Detainees relying on consular officers to provide information to family and friends should nominate one person as a primary point of contact. This ensures information is passed in a coordinated and managed way and avoids confusion.

Other possible assistance available

Financial assistance from family

In many countries Australian prisoners are, with the cooperation of prison authorities, able to operate commercial bank accounts to receive funds from family and friends. If this is possible, a consular officer should be able to assist you with setting up the account or making other arrangements for you to receive funds from your family or friends to pay for lawyers or items (such as phone cards or stamps) you may need to purchase. If prisoners are unable to operate commercial bank accounts, consular officers can assist by providing family or friends with the relevant information (or contact details of the prison, so additional information can be obtained) on the procedures for transferring funds to a prisoner.

Financial assistance from the government

As a general rule the Australian Government will not pay your overseas legal fees or bail.

Irrespective of where you are, Australians are not entitled to receive Medicare benefits while in prison overseas.

Prisoner Loan Scheme

In some instances a consular officer may be able to arrange a loan for you from the Australian Government under the Prisoner Loan Scheme. However, a loan will only be arranged if:

    * adequate food and medical facilities and other essentials such as bedding, clothing and soap are not provided by the prison
    * you are unable to organise for a loan to be provided from family or friends and
    * the country where you are imprisoned is on the approved country schedule.

Loans granted under the Prisoner Loan Scheme must be repaid after your release.

Failure to repay the loan may result in your ineligibility to obtain a new or replacement Australian passport, and your current passport may be cancelled if you have incurred a debt for a loan from the Australian Government while in prison.

Special Circumstances (Overseas) Scheme

If you are involved in legal proceedings overseas you may be eligible, in limited circumstances, to receive financial assistance from the Australian Government to help meet your overseas legal and related costs through the Special Circumstances (Overseas) Scheme.

Assistance under this Scheme is provided only in the most exceptional circumstances, usually if you are facing a lengthy period of imprisonment or the death penalty.

In the absence of special circumstances that fit within the scope of the Scheme:

    * a lack of financial means to pay for legal fees is not sufficient in itself to justify the provision of financial assistance and
    * the availability of legal assistance in the overseas jurisdiction will usually mean you will not be eligible to receive financial assistance under the Scheme.

Any financial assistance provided under the Scheme is not intended to be used to hire a private lawyer in place of an overseas court-appointed lawyer or public defender. As one of the Scheme's criteria is the extent of the applicant's connection with Australia, financial assistance is not usually available under the Scheme for Australians who have left Australia to settle overseas.

How to apply

For further information about the Scheme contact the Attorney-General’s Department on 02 6141 6666 (within Australia) or +61 2 6141 666 (outside Australia) during business hours.

If you wish to apply for financial assistance for legal fees you will need to complete the relevant form, available from the Attorney-General’s Department website at www.ag.gov.au.

Your welfare and the legal process

Australian consular officers aim to ensure Australians arrested overseas are treated no less favourably than local citizens detained for similar offences, are subject to humanitarian standards of prisoner welfare and their basic needs are met.

With your permission, consular officers, in consultation with your legal representative, can take up any justified and serious complaints about ill-treatment or discrimination with the local authorities. Should you fail in your attempts to receive medical or dental treatment, consular officers may raise these concerns with prison officials. Whenever possible, prisoners should first make their complaints through the prison system and/or case manager prior to raising their concerns with consular officials.

You should be aware that the Australian Government can generally only make representations to local authorities if:

    * you are receiving inferior treatment to that which would be given to a local prisoner
    * there are lengthy and unreasonable delays in bringing the case to court or with the subsequent trial (in comparison to similar cases for locals in the country of your arrest)
    * you are not receiving medical care
    * your welfare is at risk.

The Australian Government may also consider making formal representations to the host government in support of applications for pardon or clemency and, if a prisoner is facing a death sentence, converting that sentence to a prison term.

While the Australian Government will closely monitor the case and expect procedural fairness, there can be no guarantee that our actions will achieve your desired outcome or that the local government will listen to our representations.

http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/tips/gaolos.html


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« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2010, 02:10:22 AM »

continued from previous post :

Health concerns

If you have health issues, it is your responsibility to discuss these in the first instance with the prison authorities and ask to see the prison doctor or dentist. If you have ongoing health concerns, for example if you are or think you may be HIV positive, you should discuss this with the prison doctor. Should you believe your concerns have not been dealt with by prison authorities, you should advise your consular officer and seek their advice and support.

International Transfer of Prisoners Scheme

Under the International Transfer of Prisoners Scheme, Australia has agreements with a number of countries which can, if certain conditions are met, enable Australian prisoners to serve out the remainder of their sentence in an Australian jail.

If you receive a lengthy prison sentence overseas and all appeal avenues have been exhausted, you may wish to ask your consular officer whether there is any possibility your sentence could be served, in part, within Australia. While there are no guarantees on the outcome, consular officers will assist you as much as possible.

When can a prisoner be transferred to Australia?

You may be able to transfer back to Australia if:

    * you are an Australian citizen, or an Australian permanent resident who has community ties with an Australian State or Territory, such as having close relatives living in that State or Territory
    * you are imprisoned in a country with which Australia has a transfer agreement. Australia is currently able to undertake transfer with Thailand and Hong Kong, through bilateral agreements and with over 60 countries through the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. A full list of countries is available at www.ag.gov.au
    * the terms of transfer have been agreed to by the Australian Government, the government of the country in which you are being held, yourself and the government of the Australian State or Territory to which you wish to transfer
    * your transfer is not likely to prevent your surrender to an extradition country
    * you have at least six months of your sentence remaining to be served (unless this condition is waived or varied)
    * neither the sentence of imprisonment nor the conviction on which it is based is subject to appeal
    * the offence for which you are serving a sentence would also be an offence in Australia (unless this condition is waived).

Your consular officer will be able to:

    * tell you whether the country you are held in is covered by an agreement
    * provide further information on eligibility requirements and conditions for transfer. Further information is also available at www.ag.gov.au or by emailing the Attorney-General’s Department on itp@ag.gov.au
    * give you an application form
    * keep you updated on the progress of your application.

Pardons

Consular officers cannot get Australians out of jail or provide the arresting authorities with any written guarantees to secure your release from prison.

The Australian Government may, if requested, initiate or support your application for a pardon. This is only where local law and practice allow and where you have served a sentence approximately equivalent to the sentence that you would have served had the offence been committed in Australia, less one year to provide time for the local authorities to process the pardon application.

The granting of a pardon is entirely a matter for the authorities of the country in which the person has been imprisoned.

Adapting to life in prison overseas

There are often a number of things that you can do to help yourself while in jail overseas. Even though conditions in some prisons may be difficult, you should try to adapt and find activities, like sport or regular exercise, or employment to keep yourself occupied.

Prison conditions and management vary from prison to prison, so you may need to learn new rules and routines to adjust to the prison environment.

You may wish to ask the prison authorities for advice on:

    * whether there is an opportunity for you to learn the local language (if you are imprisoned in a country where English is not widely spoken)
    * how many letters you are allowed to send. Sometimes remand prisoners can send more letters which will give you a greater opportunity to get your affairs in order
    * if and how often you are able to make telephone calls
    * if there is an opportunity to undertake study, or if you are permitted to arrange to study through an external educational institution
    * if it is possible to work inside the prison, whether working is compulsory, and whether this work will provide you with an income.

If you have difficulties communicating with the prison authorities, or arranging activities, you should discuss your options with your consular officer.

Passport cancellation and/or refusal in relation to serious foreign offences

You should be aware that under the Australian Passports Act 2005, the Minister for Foreign Affairs may cancel your Australian passport (or other Australian travel document) if you are the subject of an arrest warrant issued in a foreign country in respect of a serious foreign offence, or if you are prevented from travelling internationally by a legal order or direction issued under the law of a foreign country (including imprisonment) in connection with a serious foreign offence. The Minister may also refuse to issue you a further Australian passport pending the outcome of all legal proceedings in a foreign country in relation to a serious offence(s).

The cancellation or refusal of your Australian passport in these circumstances does not affect your status as an Australian citizen or your rights to Australian consular assistance.

Returning to Australia

On return to Australia, DFAT consular officers can provide you with the contact names and numbers of prison support organisations in your state or territory. These organisations can assist you to re-establish your life in Australia.

Information for family members

If you have concerns about a family member arrested or detained overseas or would like an update on their situation, you should contact DFAT’s Consular Operations Branch in Canberra. We suggest you contact DFAT directly as our Canberra office has the overall responsibility for consular case management.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Attn: Consular Operations Branch
R. G. Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent
BARTON ACT 0221

Phone 02 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 (24 hour number, cost of a local call).

While we can help you and you can contact us at any time, our primary client is the person who is detained.

If you would like to visit your family member detained overseas, you should contact us for information on visiting arrangements before leaving Australia. Prison visiting arrangements vary widely from country to country and we recommend you make arrangements before you depart.

Consular officers can also provide advice or contact details of prison authorities that can provide specific information on what can be sent or taken into prisons overseas, provide you with the full postal address and telephone number of the prison, details of the prisoner’s legal representative and information about court proceedings.

Getting help overseas

Consular services

The Australian Government will do what it can to help Australians in difficulty overseas, however there are legal and practical limits to what can be done.

The Consular Service Charter sets out the standard of services all Australians can expect to receive from consular staff, including what they can and cannot do, and is available on smartraveller.gov.au.

A directory of Australian overseas missions appears in the ‘Getting Help Overseas’ section of each edition of Travel Smart: hints for Australian travellers. This publication is issued with your passport and available online at smartraveller.gov.au. Canadian missions providing consular assistance to Australians are also listed in the Travel Smart: hints for Australian travellers publication.

The 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre (CEC) in Canberra can also be contacted for assistance from anywhere in the world on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 (local cost within Australia).

Counselling services

Australians overseas in need of counselling services can contact our Consular Emergency Centre on +61 6261 3305 to be transferred to a Lifeline Telephone Counsellor.

   1. Take out travel insurance to cover hospital treatment, medical evacuation and any activities in which you plan to participate.
   2. Before travelling overseas register your travel and contact details online at smartraveller.gov.au or at the local Australian embassy, high commission or consulate once you arrive so we can contact you in an emergency.
   3. Check the latest travel advice for your destination at smartraveller.gov.au before you go. Subscribe to receive free email notification each time the advice is updated.

While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia’s diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Smartraveller is provided by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/tips/gaolos.html
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« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2010, 02:14:09 AM »

Getting help overseas

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) provides help to Australians who find themselves in trouble overseas. Through this support, known as consular services, the Department's consular officers provide a lifeline to Australians who are away from home.

The Australian Government will do what it is able to help Australians in difficulties overseas. Whether this is helping Australian victims and survivors of a terrorist bombing, assisting Australians to repatriate the body of a loved one from overseas, or providing comfort and advice for a young Australian in an overseas prison, our consular staff often help Australians through the worst days of their lives.

But Australians need to appreciate that, when they go abroad, they leave behind Australia's support systems, emergency service capabilities and medical facilities. There are legal and practical limits as to what consular officers can do for travellers overseas and Australians need to have realistic expectations.

Australians are now making over 6 million overseas trips each year, which is an increase of 20% over the last three years. In the 2008-09 year alone, the Department assisted over 35,000 Australians in difficulty in over 163 countries and handled over 600,000 public inquiries.

The Australian Government cannot decide for Australians where to travel and how to behave when they get overseas. Australians are intrepid travellers and are going in ever greater numbers to out-of-the way, sometimes dangerous places. These are personal choices which the government respects. But, Australians need to accept responsibility to minimise risks to themselves. Consular functions are governed by international agreements and the Australian Government cannot impose Australia's laws, rules or standards on other countries.
What we can and cannot do

Examples of what we CAN DO to help Australians overseas include:

    * help during crises, such as civil unrest and natural disasters, by confirming the number of Australians involved and providing advice to family members at home
    * provide advice and support in the case of an accident, serious illness or death, or if an Australia is a victim of a serious crime, and arrange for next-of-kin to be informed. This may involve facilitating communication between the local hospital, the victim and their family, monitoring the victim's welfare and if necessary, assisting in arranging a medivac
    * visit or contact Australians who are arrested and arrange for their family to be informed (if they wish)
    * contact relatives and friends on an Australian's behalf and ask them to assist with money or tickets
    * provide some limited financial assistance in real emergencies (subject to very strict criteria)
    * provide information on a government scheme under which eligible Australians can apply for financial assistance in limited circumstances to help with legal costs overseas
    * provide a list of local doctors, lawyers
    * issue passports, including emergency passports.

There are limits to the levels of assistance consular officers can provide. Examples of what we CANNOT DO to help Australians overseas include:

    * give legal advice, investigate crimes overseas or intervene in court proceedings
    * get Australians out of prison or obtain special treatment for Australians in prison
    * provide medical services or medications
    * arrange visas, work or residence permits for other countries, or help Australians to obtain them
    * pay or guarantee payment of hotel, medical or any other bills, including the cost of returning lost luggage to Australia
    * act as a travel agent, bank or post office, or store luggage
    * become involved in commercial disputes or take up complaints about local purchases
    * provide translation, interpreter, telephone or photocopy services.

The Consular Services Charter sets out the standards of service all Australians can expect to receive from consular staff.

Further information is also available on:

    * Helping Australians arrested or detained overseas
    * Helping Australians hospitalised or missing overseas
    * The Australian consular service and your privacy

If you have received consular assistance we encourage you to provide feedback.

http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/getting_help_overseas.html
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« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2010, 02:16:14 AM »

Children's issues

Arranging Child Care Overseas

If you are planning to place your child or children in a child care facility or employ the services of baby sitters or nannies overseas, you should satisfy yourself about the standards of child care provided in the country concerned.Overseas child care centres are not bound by Australian regulations and standards of child care can be very different from those in Australia.

Child Protection Workshops in Bali and Fiji

Child Wise, a leading child protection agency, has been engaged by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to conduct child protection workshops for hotel staff in Bali and Fiji.

Children's Passports

Under Australian law, children cannot be included in an adult's passport. Each child, including a newborn infant, must be issued with their own passport.

Child Sex Crime

It is a criminal offence to have sexual relations with children under the age of 16 years whether in Australia or in another country.

Child Custody and Dual Nationality

A child whose birth is registered either in a foreign country or at a non-Australian embassy or consulate may have foreign citizenship with no recognition by that country of their Australian citizenship.Parents travelling with a child who may be considered a national of the country they intend to visit should seek the advice of a solicitor or lawyer to discuss custody and other family law issues before travelling to that country.

International Parental Child Abduction (external site)

In some circumstances, family disagreements over child custody rights can result in one parent removing a child to, or retaining a child in, a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.In such circumstances, the other parent may have recourse to the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction.

International Child Adoption (external site)

State and Territory Government authorities in Australia are responsible for authorizing international adoptions.In addition, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship is responsible for assessing and deciding applications for visas in accordance with the requirements of the Migration Regulations.

Travelling with Children

Some countries require children (under 18 years of age) travelling alone or with one parent/guardian to present a letter of consent for travel (signed by both parents) as well as the child's birth certificate.Travellers are advised to check the entry requirements for children of their intended destination before travelling.

Exchange students

Every year more parents send their children overseas on student exchange programs. Parents need to be aware that the standards of selection and screening of host families may vary. If you are considering a student exchange program, you should satisfy yourself that proper practices are in place to protect your child.

The National Coordinating Committee for International Secondary Student Exchange acts as a forum organisation for state/territory exchange registration authorities. Their national guidelines outline the areas of responsibility for Exchange Organisations, governments and exchange students.

Separated parents

Separated parents overseas can keep in touch with the Child Support Agency through a secure online messaging system and receive a response at any time of the day. For more information visit CSAonline or call the Child Support Agency during Australian Business hours on +61 131 272 or +61 3 6216 0864 (international call charges apply).

http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/children/
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« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2010, 01:40:21 AM »

Baby Bonus

    * What is the Baby Bonus?
    * How much is the Baby Bonus?
    * Can I get the Baby Bonus?
    * How is the Baby Bonus paid?
    * When can I claim the Baby Bonus?
    * How do I claim the Baby Bonus?
    * Where do I go for more information?

What is the Baby Bonus?

Baby Bonus is paid to families following the birth (including stillborn babies) or adoption of a child. It recognises the extra costs incurred at the time of a new birth or adoption.

Please Note: This payment replaced the Maternity Allowance and Baby Bonus (administered by the Australian Taxation Office) from 1 July 2004.
How much is the Baby Bonus?

For current rates of payment for the Baby Bonus, go to Family Assistance Payment Rates.

If there is a change in care during the 26 week eligibility period following the birth, the payment may be apportioned between two carers.

Please Note: Baby Bonus is indexed in July of each year. Baby Bonus is not taxable and it is not considered income for Family Assistance or Social Security purposes.

Can I get the Baby Bonus?

To be eligible for Baby Bonus you must:

    * be the primary carer of a dependent child or the partner of the primary carer
    * have the care of the child within 26 weeks of the child's birth and be likely to continue for at least 26 weeks
    * in the case of adoption, have the child come into your care as part of the adoption process before the child is sixteen years of age
    * not have received or be receiving Parental Leave Pay for the child
    * have adjusted taxable income of less than or equal to $75,000* for the period of 6 months from the date of birth of the child or six months from the date that an adopted child entered into your care as part of the adoption process, and
    * meet Australian residency requirements for family assistance purposes.

*Note: This income limit will next be subject to indexation on 1 July 2012

Parents are required to formally register the birth of their child as a condition of receiving the Baby Bonus. This requirement does not apply to parents whose child is stillborn, adopted or born outside Australia.

How is the Baby Bonus paid?

Baby Bonus is paid per eligible child in 13 equal fortnightly instalments.

You cannot receive Parental Leave Pay and a Baby Bonus payment for the same child. If you are eligible for both Parental Leave Pay and the Baby Bonus, you can access the Paid Parental Leave Comparison Estimator to help you make an informed decision about which payment to claim.

If you have twins, you could receive a Baby Bonus payment for each child. If you have twins and are eligible for Parental Leave Pay, you could receive Parental Leave Pay for one child and Baby Bonus for the other.

When can I claim the Baby Bonus?

You can claim the Baby Bonus (and other payments such as Family Tax Benefit and Parental Leave Pay) up to three months before the birth of a child or an adopted child entering your care as part of the adoption process.

Your claim must be lodged no later than 52 weeks from the day after the child's birth or, in the case of adoption, no later than 52 weeks from the day after the adopted child comes into the adopting parent's care.

How do I claim the Baby Bonus?

You can make a claim for the Baby Bonus using Online Services. You will need to register to use Online Services.

You can call 13 6150 for assistance in completing your online claim or to request a hard copy form. You can also download the claim form or visit the Family Assistance Office located in Medicare offices and Centrelink Customer Service Centres to collect a hard copy.
Where do I go for more information?

    * Call the Family Assistance Office on 13 6150 between 8:00AM and 8:00PM (local time), Monday to Friday.
    * Visit the nearest Family Assistance Office located in all Centrelink Customer Service Centres and Medicare offices.

http://www.familyassist.gov.au/payments/family-assistance-payments/baby-bonus/


My note :  Baby bonus only applies to new born babies or adoptions, but I have posted here as there has been questions about "baby bonus".


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« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2010, 01:42:02 AM »

Family Tax Benefit

    * What is Family Tax Benefit?
    * How much is Family Tax Benefit?

1
What is Family Tax Benefit?

Family Tax Benefit is a payment to help families with the cost ofraising dependent children. Family Tax Benefit has two parts - Part A and Part B.

Family Tax Benefit Part A is the primary payment designed to helpwith the cost of raising children. It is payable to a parent/guardianor an approved care organisation for a child aged under 21 years or adependent full time student aged between 21 and 24 years.

Family Tax Benefit Part B is designed to provide extra help tofamilies with one main income earner, including sole parent familieswith a dependent full time student up to the age of 18 years.

2
How much Family Tax Benefit can I get?

The amount of Family Tax Benefit you can receive will depend on your family's individual circumstances.

The easiest way to work out how much you could receive is to use the Online Estimator.You can also work out how your payments might change if you have achange in circumstances. This service is part of a range of onlineservices available from the Online Services page.

http://www.familyassist.gov.au/payments/family-assistance-payments/family-tax-benefit/
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« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2010, 01:43:55 AM »

Family Assistance Payments

The Family Assistance Office can help you with the costs of raising children. The available family assistance payments are:

    * Baby Bonus
    * Paid Parental Leave scheme
    * Family Tax Benefit
          o Family Tax Benefit A
          o Family Tax Benefit B
    * Maternity Immunisation Allowance
    * Child Care Benefit
    * Child Care Rebate
    * Make an Online Claim

We also offer other types of assistance:

    * Large Family Supplement
    * Multiple Birth Allowance
    * Rent Assistance
    * Health Care Cards
    * Double Orphan Pension
    * Jobs, Education and Training Child Care fee assistance
    * Economic Security Strategy Payment
    * Household Stimulus Package Bonus Payments

Medicare Australia also offers the following range of services to assist families.

    * Australian Childhood Immunisation Register
    * MedicarePlus Safety Net
    * PBS Safety Net

Note: In the 2009-10 Budget, the Australian Government announced further reforms to family assistance payments.

http://www.familyassist.gov.au/payments/family-assistance-payments/
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« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2010, 01:46:17 AM »

Payment Options

    * Payment options
    * Your instalment payments may be stopped
    * Your payment options to reduce the risk of an overpayment
    * Automatic adjustment of your Family Tax Benefit payments
    * Your payment choices for Family Tax Benefit Part A
    * Your payment choices for Family Tax Benefit Part B
    * Your payment choices for dependent children with income
    * Your payment choices for Child Care Benefit
    * How to elect or change a payment option

1
Payment options

You can choose to get your Family Tax Benefit either:

    * paid fortnightly into your bank or credit union account, or
    * paid as a lump sum payment after the end of the financial year.

If you get your Family Tax Benefit paid fortnightly, there are a number of choices for how and when you can get your payments. All families are different so these choices have been designed to help you match your payments to your family's circumstances and to reduce the risk of being overpaid.

2
Your instalment payments may be stopped

From 1 January 2010, your Family Tax Benefit instalment payments may be stopped if you and/or your partner have not lodged income tax returns or informed the Family Assistance Office that you are not required to do so within the required timeframe.

3
Your payment options to reduce the risk of an overpayment

There are many options available to you to reduce your risk of an overpayment of Family Tax Benefit. The options provide you with the flexibility to adjust your payments as your income and family's circumstances change throughout the year. Selecting a payment option will help to reduce or recover any potential overpayment. You can change your payment option at any time.

4
Automatic adjustment of your Family Tax Benefit payments

Generally Family Tax Benefit recipients can choose to receive their payments fortnightly through the Family Assistance Office or claim Family Tax Benefit as a lump sum payment at the end of the financial year.

If you receive FTB by fortnightly instalments and your family’s income estimate or circumstances change part way through the financial year, you may have already been paid too much.

When your income estimate or maintenance income changes part way through the year, your Family Tax Benefit payments for the remainder of the year may be automatically adjusted. This automatic adjustment aims to reduce potential overpayments and the need for families to pay back Family Tax Benefit debts after the end of the financial year.

This automatic adjustment will not apply to Child Care Benefit. However, you can reduce the chance of overpayment by telling the Family Assistance Office to adjust your Child Care Benefit to account for an increase in income.

Your payment choices for Family Tax Benefit

Deferring payment of one FTB fortnightly payment:

You may choose to receive one FTB payment (Part A or Part B) as a fortnightly payment and the other as a lump sum payment at the end of the financial year

5
Your payment choices for FTB Part A

There are three different ways you can get Family Tax Benefit Part A:

Option 1 Base Rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A paid fortnightly

You may like to be paid the base rate of your Family Tax Benefit Part A fortnightly and receive the rest after the end of the financial year. This is a particularly good choice if your income is above the lower income threshold (that is the income limit at which you can receive the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A).

Please Note: If you pay private rent you can choose to receive any Rent Assistance you are entitled to either as a fortnightly payment or after the end of the financial year.

Option 2 - Receive all Family Tax Benefit Part A as an annual payment

If your income is extremely variable, or you are not confident that you can estimate your income accurately, this may be the best choice for you. You may also like to take this option if you have one child and your family's income is above the higher income threshold (that is the income limit at which the base rate of FTB Part A begins to reduce)

Option 3- Continue to receive Rent Assistance fortnightly and defer payment of more than base rate Family Tax Benefit Part A

If you receive rent assistance with more than base rate FTB Part A, you can choose to retain fortnightly payment of the rent assistance and receive base rate FTB Part A only and defer the rest of the more than base rate FTB Part A until the end of the financial year.

Option 4- Deferring FTB Part A other than rent assistance:

If you receive rent assistance with your FTB Part A you are able to choose to retain fortnightly payment of your rent assistance and defer the payment of FTB Part A until the end of the year financial.

6
Your payment choices for Family Tax Benefit Part B

There are two different ways you can get Family Tax Benefit Part B.

Option 1 - All of your Family Tax Benefit Part B as a fortnightly payment

If you are a single parent or a stay-at-home parent with a partner who works full-time, you may like to receive all of your Family Tax Benefit Part B as a fortnightly payment. This is a particularly suitable choice if your partner earns less than the primary earner income limit and you do not expect to earn an income at any time during the financial year.

Option 2 – receive ALL Family Tax Benefit Part B as an annual payment

Taking all of your Family Tax Benefit Part B annually is a good choice for couple families where the primary earner’s income is close to the primary earner income limit and one member of the couple is out of the work force temporarily to care for the children. It is also a good choice if the lower income earner is not confident about estimating their income accurately.

7
Your payment choice for dependent children with income

If you have older children, you can be at risk of being overpaid if your child earns over the child income limit in the financial year. This limit applies to children aged between 5 and 15 who are not studying full-time, as well as all dependants aged between 16 and 24.

If your child does earn more than the child income limit, all of the Family Tax Benefit Part A paid for that child in that financial year will need to be repaid. If you also get Family Tax Benefit Part B and this is your only child, you will also need to repay all of the Family Tax Benefit Part B you received.

To reduce the risk of having to repay Family Tax Benefit for the child with income, the family can choose not to receive any Family Tax Benefit for that child throughout the financial year. At the end of the financial year, when the child's actual income is known, the family may receive a top-up payment if the child has earned less than child income limit.

8
Your payment choices for Child Care Benefit

For more information regarding how Child Care Benefit can be paid, see payment options.

9
How to elect or change a payment option

You can choose or change your payment option at any time.

For more information, contact us to discuss the options that might help you, or change your payment option online.

http://www.familyassist.gov.au/payments/payment-options/
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« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2010, 01:49:10 AM »


Family Assistance Payment Rates


Please note: The easiest way to work out how much you could receive is to use the Online Estimator.

Family Tax Benefit Part A

    * Income Limit for Maximum Rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A
    * Maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A
    * Income limit beyond which only Family Tax Benefit Part A base rate may be paid
    * Base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A
    * Income limit at which base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A begins to reduce
    * Income limit at which fortnightly payments of Family Tax Benefit Part A are no longer paid
    * Income limit at which Family Tax Benefit Part A including the supplement is no longer paid
    * Family Tax Benefit Part A Supplement


http://www.familyassist.gov.au/payments/payment-rates/

Tables are easier to read at website.
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« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2010, 01:52:04 AM »

Change in Circumstances

You should contact us as soon as possible if your circumstances change as you could be at risk of an overpayment. If you get an overpayment you will have to repay the amount you should not have received.

The following information includes examples of changes which may affect your entitlement.

    * Changes to your work
    * Government payments
    * Changes to your personal circumstances
    * Holidaying or moving overseas

changes-1   Changes to your work

You should tell us if you and/or your partner:

    * Start or restart work
    * Change jobs or become self employed (this can be full-time, part-time or casual work)
    * Have changes to income from employment
    * Start doing voluntary work
    * Commence a training course
    * Have an increase in earnings. This includes working overtime, additional working hours, pay rises and work bonuses.

changes_2  Government payments

You should tell us if you and/or partner:

    * Claim or start to receive another Government pension or benefit. This includes payments from Centrelink and the Department of Veterans' Affairs
    * Become disabled or commence care for an adult or child who has a disability
    * Have a child who starts to receive other Government payments such as Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY. This includes payments from Centrelink and the Departments of Veterans' Affairs

changes_3  Changes to your personal circumstances

You should tell us if any of the following changes happen:

Children

    * A child comes into your care, including a new born baby or a foster child
    * A child leaves your care
    * The number of children in your care changes
    * Your child dies
    * Your child starts or leaves school
    * Your child's income changes or is likely to be $13,010 or more
    * Your child is granted a pension, benefit or allowance

Child care

    * You change your child care service provider
    * You stop using child care for any of your children
    * You or your partner's situation changes and you now need child care for more than 24 hours per week or more than 50 hours per week

Accommodation and residency

    * You change address
    * The amount of rent you pay changes
    * You start to share accommodation with another person
    * You move into a retirement village
    * You are admitted into a nursing home or hostel
    * Your Australian residency changes

Other personal circumstances

    * There is a change of care or contact arrangements. You must tell us within 14 days of any changes in care or contact arrangements.
    * Your relationship status changes, you separate from your partner or you divorce, marry, become widowed, get back with a former partner or live with a new partner
    * You change your nominated bank or credit union account
    * The amount of child support you receive changes
    * You and/or your partner are imprisoned
    * You and/or your partner are sent to a psychiatric institution
    * You become disabled or commence care for an adult or child who has a disability

changes_4  Holidaying or moving overseas

You should tell us if:

    * You and/or your partner go on holidays or move overseas. You should contact us at least six weeks before departure and on your return to Australia (this is to ensure you are aware of your entitlements to payments and benefits while you are overseas); or
    * Your child goes on holidays or moves overseas.

If you are unsure whether a change will affect your payment, you should contact us.

http://www.familyassist.gov.au/payments/change-in-circumstance/
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« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2010, 08:28:17 PM »

I have spent the past two days searching for any information on our Privacy Laws that could relate to this case.  So far I have only found Government, Business and Company laws pertaining to what they are allowed to collect and keep or disclose to other parties.  Some are Federal and others are State laws.  All large Companies or Websites also publish their Privacy requirements. And we all realise that Government departments know more about individual citizens than we know ourselves.

I will keep looking for anything that may assist persons outside Australia understanding how we are legislated with restrictions on publicising personal information in any media or otherwise. 
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« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2010, 08:53:46 PM »

Links to Townsville Hospital and Cancer Clinic websites, also Camp Quality  :

http://www.health.qld.gov.au/townsville/


http://www.health.qld.gov.au/townsville/Services/cancer_centre.asp


http://www.campquality.org.au/public/home.aspx

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....And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars..  A.B (Banjo) Paterson
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