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Friday, 29 October 1920

Mr HECTOR LAMOND (Illawarra) . - I do not think this is thebest time to raise the question of the effect of marriage on nationality.

Mr Brennan - I shall raise it in a direct way later on.

Mr HECTOR LAMOND - I want to be sure that the question of making aliens of Australians who marry foreigners can afterwards be raised, if the amendment which the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) has now moved is rejected. If it cannot be raised later on, we ought to have the debate on it now. The Minister should agree to postpone this clause until we have had the discussion on that very important question.

Mr Poynton - The honorable member for Batman's new clause deals with the whole subject; but this sub-clause covers only a phase of it.

Mr HECTOR LAMOND -This subclause would be entirely unnecessary if the proposed new clause were carried.

Mr Poynton - It will be easy to take this sub-clause out if the other is carried.

Mr HECTOR LAMOND - I want the direction of the Chair as to whether, if the Committee decides that this clause is to stand, we shall be precluded from raising the bigger issue on a later clause.

The CHAIRMAN (Hon J M Chanter - That will depend on whether the later clause is in conflict with what the Committee has already decided.

Mr HECTOR LAMOND - That is the point; and I submit that if we allow this clause to stand we shall be precluded from raising the important and broader question later on. Under the circumstances I think the Minister . ought to agree to a postponement of the clause. I do not go as far as does the honorable member for Batman; but if we desire to consider whether Australian women who marry aliens are to abandon their Australian nationality, it is a matter that, at any rate, merits consideration, and the discussion should not be ham pered by any purely technical point such as that suggested by the Chairman.

Mr Poynton - I have already promised to recommit the clause if necessary.

Mr HECTOR LAMOND -That does not meet the case. According to the Chairman, if a later amendment is contrary to what the Committee has already decided, we shall have no opportunity to debate the wider question. The Minister would be in no way prejudiced by the postponement of this clause; indeed, he would save time, because otherwise, I shall debate the matter now. The clause before us provides that under certain conditions a British woman married to an alien may resume her nationality; and if we pass this, we shall be, it seems to me, deprived of an opportunity later of discussing the whole question of the nationality of women who are married to foreigners. Will the Minister agree to a postponement?

Mr Poynton - I do not think so; we have been all the afternoon over this matter, and I do not see that this clause affects the discussion on a later clause dealing with quite a different matter.

Mr HECTOR LAMOND - It is the same matter, but the clause before us deals only with a portion of it. If the Committee decide later that Australianborn women, or British subjects, are to carry their nationality, despite their marriage, then the portion that the honorable member for Batman proposes to omit is meaningless and worthless. The Committee should be able to approach the greater question unrestricted by anything done previously. If the Minister will not give way, it will only mean two debates instead of one. I move -

That the consideration of this clause be postponed.

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