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Wednesday, 10 October 1984
Page: 1607

(Question No. 975)


Senator Coates asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 21 August 1984:

(1) Has the Attorney-General seen the explanation of a child's domicile in the Australian Taxpayers' Association publication Taxpayer, of 5 May 1984 that it ' changes with the father's and that if a father is alive, the child takes his domicile. If there is no father, only then does the child take the mother's domicile'.

(2) Is this explanation correct; if so, does the Attorney-General intend to propose alterations to the law, if not, what is the correct explanation.


Senator Gareth Evans —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) I have seen the explanation of a child's domicile in the publication in question.

(2) The explanation is not correct, insofar as it fails to take account of the Domicile Act 1982 (Commonwealth) which came into operation on 1 July 1982 with the object and effect of making certain reforms to the law relating to domicile, for the purposes of the laws of the Commonwealth.

The Act provides that where, at any time, a child has his principal home with one of his parents who, whether married or not, are living separately and apart, he has the same domicile as that parent. It should also be pointed out that the article fails to take account of the Domicile Act 1982 in another respect. It says that 'in law a wife automatically takes the 'domicile' of her husband' whereas the Act provides that the rule of law whereby a married woman has at all times the domicile of her husband is abolished.

All States have now passed legislation similar to the Commonwealth Act, applying similar rules to matters within their own jurisdictions.