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Friday, 22 March 1985
Page: 684


Senator HARRADINE(3.43) —I simply refer to the fact that the Family Law Council has detailed the problems and stark statistics concerning children affected by divorce, custody and access applications and the problems relating to property and maintenance. I do not want to bore the Senate with what I have already repeated on a number of occasions. I simply indicate that I believe I express the view of the whole of the Senate when I say that we are most concerned about family breakdown in Australia. There is a general will around this place to do something about it. I certainly have been considering the matter, and I know that other people have. Maybe the Government and the Attorney-General (Mr Lionel Bowen) will be able to see their way clear to bring in further amendments which might create a better climate within which these tragic human differences can be more satisfactorily conciliated.

I refer to my proposals for required reconciliation processes. Although I have called them 'required reconciliation processes', the proposals were really designed to induce partners to the marriage to come together at an early stage for the purpose of considering the social, economic and legal effects the breakdown will have, as well as the effects of their proposed separation on any children they may have. I believe that consideration has been given within Government circles to pre-marriage guidance issues. We discussed those previously and I do not want to bore the Senate with that. I simply flag them again at this stage and hope that the Government, in its continued consideration, will bring forward amendments which will enhance the stability of marriage, which is so important for this country's future.

Question resolved in the affirmative.