This article will discuss the Australian Institute of Family Studies Family Law Act 1975. The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) is a national research organisation in Australia that conducts and disseminates research on family well-being and relationships. The Australian government established this organisation in 1980 and is based in Melbourne. This organisation researches issues such as:
- Child development
- Family relationships
- Family policies
The institute also provides training and education programs to professionals working in the field of family support. They also offer a range of resources and information to the public on family-related topics. The goal of AIFS is to improve the well-being of Australian families and children through the provision of high-quality research and evidence-based policy advice.
The Family Law Act also dedicates a section for the AIFS which is Part XIVA. Section 114A of PartXIVA discusses the interpretation of terms that we will also use in this article. The Director is referred to as the director of the Institute, while Institute refers to the AIFS. Read on to know more about the Australian Institute of Family Studies Family Law Act.
Section 114B and 114C: Establishment of the Institute
According to Section 114B of the Family Law Act 1975, a Director and staff are required to establish the AIFS. It’s important to note that the Institute does not have a legal identity separate from the Commonwealth. Hon Dr Sharman Stone was appointed Director of the AIFS on May 1 2022. For the purposes of finance law, the:
- Institute is a listed entity;
- Director is the accountable authority of the Institute;
- Director and staff are officials of the Institute
- Purposes of the Institute include the functions of the Director and the Institute. Below is a table that explains these functions.
|Functions of the Director||Functions of the Institute|
|To promote the encouragement and coordination of research and other appropriate means to promote understanding of marital and family stability in Australia. |
The goal of the functions of the director is to promote families as the natural and fundamental group unit in society.
To advise and assist the Minister in relation to grant-making.
To make grants out of money available under appropriations made by the Parliament for purposes related to the Institute’s functions
Supervise the use of grants.
|Assist the director in the performance of his/her functions|
The Minister may request the Director to arrange for the Institute to engage in research in relation to a particular matter that is within the functions of the Institute. Additionally, the Minister may also specify the priority given to the activity after he/she consults with the Director. Section 144C of the Australian Institute of Family Studies Family Law Act also provides that:
- The Minister may give directions to the Director as to the performance of his/her functions. These directions must be of a general nature only.
- The director must comply with any of these directions given by the Minister.
Australian Institute of Family Studies Family Law Act: Appointment
The Minister can appoint a director of the institute through a process of selection and appointment. The following sections contain provisions regarding the appointment of the Institute Director.
|Section 114D||The Minister is responsible for appointing the Director of the Institute on a full-time basis. It’s also important to know that the Director is eligible for appointment. This provision is stated under Section 33AA of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.|
|Section 114E||The Director may only hold office for a period not exceeding 5 years.|
|Section 114F||The Minister may also appoint a person to act as the Director during:|
A vacancy in the office of the director. This applies whether or not an appointment has previously been made to the office.
Any period or during all periods when the Director is absent from his/her duty or from Australia.
According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies Family Law Act, section 33A of the Acts Interpretation Act provides rules to acting appointments
|Section 114G||The Remuneration Tribunal determines the payment of the Director’s remuneration. |
However, the director receives his/her remuneration if there is no determination from the Remuneration Tribunal. The Director will be paid the prescribed allowances.
This Section is applicable only in accordance with the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973.
Australian Institute of Family Studies Family Law Act: FAQs
Q: Can the Director engage in outside employment?
According to Section 114H, the Director may not engage in outside employment without the Minister’s approval.
Q: Is the Director entitled to have a leave of absence?
According to Section 114J of the Act, the Director of the Remuneration Tribunal determines the leave entitlements of the Director. The Minister may grant the Director a leave of absence, other than recreation leaves.
However, this will depend on terms and conditions determined by the Minister in terms of remuneration or otherwise. Section 144L of the Act also states that the Director holds office on the terms and conditions in relation to matters not under this Act that is determined by the Minister.
Q: How will the Director resign from his/her position?
According to Section 114LA of the Australian Institute of Family Studies Family Law Act, the Director may resign from his/her position by giving the Minister a written resignation. The resignation takes effect on the day the Minister receives the resignation letter or if a later day is specified in the letter.
Q: Can the Minister terminate the Director?
According to Section 114LB of the Act, the Minister may terminate the Director for misbehaviour or physical or mental incapacity. The Minister may also terminate the Director if the Director:
- Becomes bankrupt
- Seeks to invoke any law for the relief of bankrupt or insolvent debtors
- Compounds with his/her creditor
- Makes an assignment of his/her remuneration for the benefit of his/her creditors
- Is absent without reasonable excuse
- Engages with outside employment which breaches Section 114H
- Fails to comply with Section 29 of the Public Governance, Performance, and Accountability Act 2013.
Section 114LD and 114M: Delegation and Staff
Section 114LD provides that the Director may delegate all or any of his/her functions or powers to Senior Executive Service employees or acting SES employees. SES employees are high-level public servants who are responsible for managing the development and implementation of government policies, programs, and services. Please refer to the following sections for other powers of delegation:
- Section 110 of the Public Governance and Accountability Act 2013; and
- Section 78 of the Public Service Act 1999
The delegate must also comply with any written direction of the Director. On the other hand, AIFS staff include people engaged under the Public Service Act. This is mentioned in Section 114M of the Australian Institute of Family Studies Family Law Act. For the purposes of the Public Service Act, the Director:
- And the Australian Public Service (APS) employees together constitute a Statutory Agency
- Is the head of the Statutory Agency is the Director
The Director may instruct people to assist the institute as consultants or otherwise with the Minister’s approval. Additionally, the Director may determine the terms and conditions from time to time regarding the people who are instructed to act as consultants or otherwise.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
The AIFS conducts regular research on family law and the way it impacts Australian families. This organisation provides Australian families with credible data on family law issues such as parenting arrangements, financial matters in family law, and other legal reforms. However, Australian families should also seek legal advice if they are facing legal matters regarding their families.
JB Solicitors is a family law firm dedicated to offer quality legal services to troubled families in Australia. Our team handles family law matters with utmost passion and ensures that families find amicable resolutions. We have mediation and arbitration services for disputed parties who want to seek alternative dispute resolution methods.
Message us today for more information about the Australian Institute of Family Studies Family Law Act.