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Wednesday, 18 November 1959

Mr KILLEN (Moreton) .- I have just a very brief and blunt comment to make on clause 22. This clause, in my judgment, shows one of the greatest procedural weaknesses in the bill, especially when compared with the bill originally in- troduced by the honorable and learned member for Balaclava (Mr. Joske). I think the granting of federal jurisdiction to State courts, instead of providing a federal divorce court, is a manifest weakness. I say no more about the matter except that I believe that when the State courts assume this added jurisdiction - and there will be added jurisdiction in some States - the delays that are already experienced will be increased. I suggest that in five or ten years' time another Parliament will be thinking about establishing a federal divorce court along the lines suggested some years ago by the honorable member for Balaclava.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment (by Sir Garfield Barwick) agreed to -

In sub-clause (5.), omit " of marriage,", insert " of a void marriage or for a decree of ".

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 23 to 26 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.

Clause 27-

Subject to this Division, a petition under this Act by a party to a marriage for a decree of dissolution of the marriage may be based on one or more of the following grounds: -

(b)   that, since the marriage, the other party to the marriage has, without just cause or excuse, wilfully deserted the petitioner for a period of not less than two years;

(i)   that, since the marriage and within a period of one year immediately preceding the date of the petition, the other party to the marriage has been convicted, on indictment, of -

(i)   having committed an offence involving the intentional infliction of grievous bodily harm on the petitioner or the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm onthe petitioner; or

(ii)   having attempted to murder the petitioner;

(l)   that the other party to the marriage -

(i)   is, at the date of the petition, of unsound mind and unlikely to recover; and

(ii)   since the marriage and within the period of six years immediately preceding the date of the petition, has been confined for a period of, or for periods aggregating, not less than five years in an institution where persons may be confined for unsoundness of mind in accordance with law, or in more than one such institution;

(m)   that, since the marriage, the parties to the marriage have been separated (whether by agreement, decree or otherwise) for a continuous period of not less than five years immediately preceding the date of the petition and there is no reasonable likelihood of cohabitation being resumed;

Sir Garfield Barwick - I suggest that we deal with each paragraph of this clause separately, because the committee will, no doubt, want to debate some of the paragraphs as separate matters.

Ordered that the clause be considered by paragraphs.

Clause to the end of paragraph (a) agreed to.

Paragraph (b).

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