This could lead to a direct confrontation between Muslims upholding Islamic law and practice and Australian authorities. In such instances, Muslims are used to non-Muslim authorities giving way to their demands. We’ll see if that happens here. “Parents may be jailed over forced marriages,” from AAP, November 23 (thanks to Kenneth):
Parents who force their adult children into marriage could be jailed under draft laws the federal government plans to bring before parliament next year.
The government today released an exposure draft of a new bill aimed at toughening Australia’s laws against forced marriage, forced labour and other slavery-like practices.
The bill will explicitly outlaw coercing, threatening or deceiving anyone – underage or adult – into a marriage they don’t want.
Until now, prosecutions have been mounted only against people for forcing minors into marriage.
Offenders – including the other party to the marriage or the victim’s parents – could face up to seven years’ jail in aggravated cases and four years’ jail in other cases.
Status of Women Minister Kate Ellis says everyone has a right to choose whether to marry and whom to marry.
“These offences will reinforce that a marriage must be entered into with the full and free consent of both parties and that forcing someone into marriage is an abuse of human rights,” Ms Ellis said.
The laws will apply both to marriages occurring within Australia and those involving Australians in other countries.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said it was hard to put a figure on how many people were currently being forced into marriage because it was difficult to detect the crime.
“But even if it’s one or two, it’s a serious enough issue considering the impact on that person’s life for the government to pay it the necessary attention,” Mr Bowen said.
The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Slavery, Slavery like Conditions and People Trafficking) Bill 2012 will also introduce a new offence of forced labour.
It will also outlaw harbouring or receiving a victim of trafficking or slavery and improve the availability of reparations to victims….
The opposition welcomed the announcement but warned the laws would only be as good as the enforcement behind them.
Aye, there’s the rub.