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Wednesday, 18 November 1959

Mr WHEELER (Mitchell) .- Paragraph (1) of clause 27 refers to a party to a marriage being confined in an institution " in accordance with law ". I believe the basis of this bill is uniformity, and so I ask - in accordance with what law? Is it to be the law of New South Wales, of Victoria or of any other State? Will New South Wales judges, for instance, follow the lunacy law of that State, while Victorian judges follow the Victorian law? I further ask the Attorney-General whether the Commonwealth Government has power to make laws of this kind. I very much doubt that it has. Does this Commonwealth divorce legislation define insanity, or is insanity too difficult of proof? If the basis of the bill is uniformity, then it falls down in paragraph (I), if the courts in the various States are left to interpret the phrase " in accordance with law ". I shall be glad if the Attorney-General will advise me in this regard.

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