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Thursday, 19 November 1959

Sir GARFIELD BARWICK (Parramatta) (Attorney-General) .- Mr. Chairman,the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) does the members of this committee very small credit in making this proposal. We spent until the small hours of this morning debating the ground of separation for five years on the footing that it would be open to a man whose mar riage partner was not guilty of any matrimonial offence and would not take divorce proceedings. We debated all this right through, and the committee, in no uncertain fashion, indicated its view. Would I be saying something too strong if I said it was an impertinence for the honorable member for Mackellar to take the action that he has taken this morning? We have been all through this, and the purpose of the two amendments that he has in mind is simply to undo what the committee did last night. The honorable member has a great deal of knowledge and eloquence. I know that he is persuasive and industrious. But I do not agree with what he has extracted from the report of the Royal Commission on Marriage and Divorce in the United Kingdom. After all, the honorable member, I think, is more used to reading engineering journals than to reading reports of this sort.

I stand by what I said yesterday about this report, and, for my part, I do not propose to debate it further. But I do suggest that the further consideration of this bill should not be delayed by an amendment brought hard on the heels of a lengthy debate in which all these points were thoroughly discussed. I really believe that we ought to give the amendment fairly short shrift.

Dr Evatt - Will the Attorney-General help us by answering a question? The amendment proposes that a decree of dissolution of marriage shall not be made on the ground specified in paragraph (m) where the suit is defended.

Sir GARFIELD BARWICK - That would give to one party a right to veto. That is the very thing that we debated last night.

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