Australia is a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Abduction Convention).
The International Family Law Section is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Abduction Convention) in Australia. The Abduction Convention is an international treaty under which arrangements are made for the return of children who have been wrongfully removed from, or retained outside, their country of habitual residence.
The Abduction Convention sets up a Central Authority in each country to deal with applications for the return of children taken to or from each country. The International Family Law Section of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department is the Central Authority for Australia (CCA).
The CCA makes a decision whether or not to accept all applications to/from Australia for the return of abducted children and ensures that they meet the requirements of the Abduction Convention. Applications for the return of children brought to Australia are sent to the relevant State Central Authorities for action. Applications for the return of children taken from Australia are sent to the relevant foreign Central Authority. The usual issues relevant to a residence or contact dispute between parents are not relevant in Convention applications and court hearings. The Abduction Convention is concerned with forum (appropriate jurisdiction to hear custody disputes) not making orders for custody or residence.