6.8.4 False & Misleading Statements

Context

Both child support Acts create offences if a person provides false or misleading information. The offences and the penalties that can be imposed are different under each Act. Because both of the child support Acts can apply to a case, the circumstances in which the statement was made are important in determining which offence has been committed.

Act references

CSRC Act section 119

CSA Act section 159, section 159A

CSRC Act

If a person makes a statement to a DHS officer that is false or misleading in a material particular, they commit an offence (CSRC Act section 119(1)). If a person omits any matter or thing from a statement that makes the statement misleading in a material particular, they commit an offence (CSRC Act section 119(1)).

The person has a defence if they can prove that they either did not know or could not reasonably have been expected to have known that the statement was false or misleading (CSRC Act section 119(2)).

The officer to whom the statement was made must be exercising powers under the CSRC Act (CSRC Act section 119(3)).

This offence is punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding 20 penalty units (see 6.8.7 for penalty unit amount) (CSRC Act section 119(1)).

CSA Act

If a person makes a statement to a DHS officer that the person knows is false or misleading in a material particular, they commit an offence (CSA Act section 159(1)). If a person omits any matter or thing from a statement that makes the statement misleading in a material particular, they commit an offence (CSA Act section 159(1)).

The person will be taken to have known that the statement was false or misleading if having regard to their abilities, experience, qualifications and other attributes, and all the circumstances surrounding the alleged offence, they ought to have reasonably known that the statement was false or misleading (CSA Act section 159(2)).

The officer to whom the statement was made must be exercising powers under the CSA Act (CSA Act section 159(3)).

This offence is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for a period not exceeding 6 months (CSA Act section 159(1)).

If a person recklessly makes a statement to a DHS officer that is false or misleading in a material particular, they commit an offence (CSA Act section 159A(1)). If a person recklessly omits any matter or thing from a statement that makes the statement misleading in a material particular, they commit an offence (CSA Act section 159A(1)).

A person is 'reckless' if having regard to the circumstances and their abilities, experience, qualifications and other attributes, they have acted without taking reasonable care about the accuracy and completeness of the statement (CSA Act section 159A(2)).

The officer to whom the statement was made must be exercising powers under the CSA Act (CSA Act section 159A(3)).

The maximum penalty for this offence is 5 penalty units (see 6.8.7 for penalty unit amount) (CSA Act section 159B(1)).

Material particular

A 'material particular' must be significant or relevant to The Registrar. The Registrar will consider the effect of the statement and the possible advantage gained by the parent.

Last reviewed: 20 September 2017