Pauline Hanson wants to force couples who split up to sort out custody and financial disputes through self-assessment to reduce the burden on family courts.
The One Nation leader’s private bill was debated in the federal upper house on Monday.
Senator Hanson detailed her personal experience in having two marriage break-ups and being the mother of a parent who had been denied custody of their children.
“The love of a parent denied the right to see their children, for no reason other than a nasty custodial parent,” she told parliament.
The veteran Queensland politician said she had suffered from non-physical domestic violence as a result of alcohol abuse in her second marriage.
Senator Hanson believes assets brought into a relationship should stay with their original owner in the event of a break-up.
“This will prevent those gold-diggers who only come into a relationship for what they can get out of it,” Senator Hanson said.
The legislation requires each partner to get a minimum of 35 per cent of the value of the family home unless one can prove ill health or special circumstances.
Couples would have to self-assess their remaining wealth on an internet portal, with the financially disadvantaged partner assured of getting half the value of their relationship property within 60 days.
The bill’s explanatory memorandum says the financially disadvantaged person is female in 94 per cent of cases.
Child custody disputes would also be self-assessed, with the residential parent – usually the woman – forced to articulate reasons for not giving standard contact hours to the father.
People would be able to take their cases to court after the initial resolution, but Senator Hanson expects the incentive to litigate will be reduced, similar to tax self-assessments.
Labor senator Pat Dodson said the One Nation reforms were confusing, unworkable and did not act in the best interests of children.
“The bill proposes differential treatment based on gender stereotypes,” he said.
Government senators Paul Scarr and Perin Davey praised Senator Hanson for her commitment to reform but were keen to stress a range of changes aimed at tackling problems in family law.
The government is weighing up its response to 60 recommendations stemming from a major review of the ailing system.