Montgomery v Child Support Registrar [2015] FCA 891

The applicant was $46,596.87 in arrears for child support, and was prevented in leaving Australia due to a Departure Prohibition Order, and subsequently filed for an appeal of this decision in Montgomery v Child Support Registrar [2015] FCA 891. The lengthy notice served by the applicant contained 81 separate statements which the applicant required the respondent to admit. The grounds included that the DPO was ultra vires, harsh, oppressive, unlawful and criminal, and that he had no debt, contract or agreement with, nor consented to be a customer of the Child Support Agency. He further alleged the Child Support Agency was engaging in slavery and crimes against humanity, attaching a right of ownership over the applicant and imposing involuntary labour, debt bondage and servitude, and that the DPO is invalid because the effect of it is to contravene several International treaties and the Magna Carta.

The court held that the applicant had not established any factual basis for his allegation that the respondent breached the Criminal Code by making the DPO, but it was made in pursuance of the objects of the Child Support Act, which includes ensuring that children receive from their parents the financial support that the parents are liable to provide. It held that in any event, the respondent is protected under section 10.5 “Lawful authority” which provides that “A person is not criminally responsible for an offence if the conduct constituting the offence is justified or excused by or under a law.”

The court also held that it is well established that international treaties do not form part of Australian law unless validly incorporated into municipal law by statute, citing Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs v Teoh (1995) HCA 20 at 286-287, and that the applicant’s argument that the effect of a DPO is to infringe the Magna Carta cannot succeed, citing Chia Gee v Martin (1905) HCA 70 (at 653) and Skyring v ANZ Banking Group Ltd [1994] QCA 143, in which it was stated that an enactment is capable of repealing Magna Carta either completely or to the extent that it is inconsistent with that enactment, and therefore the Child Support Act prevails.

Click to access montgomery-v-child-support-registrar-2015-fca-891.pdf

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