A father of four who left the UK without establishing a child support system was tracked down here and forced to pay regularly by the local Child Support Agency. Now an Australian citizen but jobless, he is locked in Oz because the CSA has imposed an administrative order preventing his departure.

Child support: locked in Australia

I left the UK and arrived in Australia half a decade ago, leaving my errant ex-wife and my four beloved children in the UK. I refused to pay spousal maintenance due to the fact that my ex-wife perjured herself in court by denying she was cohabiting with her new partner in a de fact relationship.

In 2010, she got the Child Support Agency to come after me for the shortfall. Unless I could get the UK court to change the order, I was liable. The CSA promptly and without any word of warning, started taking money from my salary. In fact it was about 25% of my salary.

Despite appealing, nothing changed and I had no alternative other than comply. At no stage was I asked for an income/expenditure exercise or were my own needs ever considered. I had to put up and shut up.

Then in August I suddenly lost my job: this is where the real CSA showed their true colours. Instead of sympathising, they expected me to hand over my pay (in lieu of notice) to reduce the debt. Because I didn’t do that, they set up garnishing on my bank account and have now issued a Departure Prohibition Order* (DPO).

I feel like a criminal. I have no right of reply (unless I want to go to the Federal Court) and have no obvious way of remitting the debt until I am back in employment.

I became an Australia citizen in June, believing in the Aussie constitution and way of life. However, the CSA behave like loan sharks and have Big Brother powers that are really frightening.

Yesterday I got another "pay up" phone call where they told me that I was living in a big house. The agent had access to an unlimited source of photos, data and evidence that led her to believe that our 2-bed home was "big". Her implication was that I was loaded and could easily pay up. If this was true, don’t you think I would, just to get them off my back?

I have never felt so humiliated as I do today thanks to the CSA. I am not being treated as a human being and as punishment for losing my job, am now shackled and at the whim of Big Brother. If I had committed a crime, I believe I would have more rights. Australia should be ashamed of its CSA.

I realise there are some "villains" who have forced the CSA to take draconian measures to enforce true "support" for the children. However, my ongoing payments to my children is not even the issue.

The CSA should not adopt a one-size-fits-all approach. Some of us are genuine people who are sincere in meeting our obligations. Treating us as criminals is shameful and is destroying my faith in Australia, a country I truly love.

– A Citizen of Australia

 

  • The CSA in Australia can issue a DPO without going to court for an order.
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2 Comments

  1. What about giving up on your Australian citizenship?

    You do have a British passport, so do that and then go to the GB embassy and ask them to assist you in leaving Australia. You are NOT a criminal, I do not see why they should refuse you. I know, if I was in your place I would not hesitate if I knew I was living in a country that holds me hostage for money.

    These CSA procedures sound more like taken from the Wild West of America.
    I just wonder how long would Australia continue to allow a bunch of nothing but office workers rule the world of so many innocent people (mostly men). This is certainly a disgrace not only to Australia, but also to human kind.

    I say, get rid of this institution named the Child Support Agency. Take the billions that are allocated to their budget and pay that out to children in need of assistance. Let fathers that do care for their children (and I am convinced that this is the vast majority) do what they can to assist and simply let go of those that do not. Ensure that mothers also pull their weight in providing for their children and perhaps if that weight might be too tough, some would think twice before jumping into a “convenient divorce”. Lowering the divorce rate in this way would lower the load on the Family Court and with it the governmental budget for these kind of services, so there will be more money to assist children in need.

    About time Australia does something real and rather innovative in order to lead the way in the free world, something that would be more like the Australian way. Better that than continuing doing what seems more suitable to the medieval era, enslaving people and limiting human rights for the sake of some coins.

    ST
  2. I fully understand your frustration and agree that the draconian methods employed by the CSA may be required to cope withe the real villains. But they are in the minority. The average bloke loves his kids and will do anything for them. The errant wives are just feeding off the system which encourages separation and divorce……

    I was just wondering, if you had not become an Australian citizen, could the CSA still impose the DPO?

    Joe

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