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Wednesday, 18 November 1959

Mr REYNOLDS (Barton) .- I have some queries about the voluntary constitution of marriage guidance bodies. I hope that the bill will not mean some little piecemeal sort of effort but rather that marriage guidance will be comprehensive, scientific and thorough. I hope, for instance, that research activities will be included. I hope that this work will not be dependent merely on the goodwill of people who are anxious to see marriage endure. These bodies should include some people with professional knowledge. I hope that there will be an insistence that the bodies shall include people who are skilled, not only in psychological techniques and social case work, but in the follow-up techniques that are necessary in order to check upon the effectiveness of the methods that are being used. These things require skill and training. They require something more than just a person in the community who has a sense of morality and an interest in the well-being of others. I hope therefore that the marriage guidance bodies will not merely observe symptoms and treat what may be regarded as results. I hope that they will be equipped, both with staff and finance, to carry out fundamental inquiries into sociological problems. I hope that they will be able to go into the larger question of the causes of marriage breakdowns. What part does human personality play in these problems? The answering of this question requires knowledge of techniques of personality measurement. It may be necessary to devise techniques or mechanisms for this procedure. Provision should also be made for follow-up inquiries of a comprehensive kind in order to ascertain the effectiveness of the procedures and the techniques used. I hope that the selection of members of marriage guidance bodies will depend on more than goodwill so that these bodies may constitute a thorough, comprehensive and scientifically based project.

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