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Thursday, 3 December 1959

Sir GARFIELD BARWICK (Parramatta) (Attorney-General) . - I move -

That Senate's amendment No. 2 be agreed to.

This amendment was introduced in the Senate by the Minister in charge of the bill at my request, and was the result of a suggestion made in this chamber by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth). The amendment inserts a new clause, which bears upon the ground of divorce specified in clause 28 (g), that ground being that since the marriage the petitioner's husband has, within a period not exceeding five years, suffered frequent convictions for crime in respect of which he has been sentenced in the aggregate to imprisonment for not less than three years and has habitually left the petitioner without reasonable means of support.

Honorable members may recall that the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) asked me at the committee stage whether concurrent sentences were to be aggregated for this purpose, and I told him that they would be. He suggested that that would be unfair, and I agreed that in some circumstances it might be. The amendment prevents concurrent sentences from being aggregated for the purpose of this ground of divorce when they arise out of the same acts or omissions. Very often, a man is charged in two or three ways in respect of the one event. If he gets concurrent sentences, this amendment will preclude them from being aggregated. If he is sentenced concurrently in respect of different events, those concurrent sentences will be aggregated.

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