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Wednesday, 22 March 1961

Mr BRYANT (Wills) . - The Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) has answered my question. I also wish to ask to what extent this bill will supersede the requirements of a State act that an aboriginal must apply for permission to marry. In some States it does not matter how old a person is, if he or she is an aboriginal, he or she has to apply for permission to marry. This applies to a full-blooded aboriginal in the Northern Territory who has not been declared a ward. Would a marriage carried out without the approval of the Director of Welfare be a valid marriage in the light of this bill? A lot of aborigines are concerned about their legal position in this matter. They are not legalists in the strict sense. But they feel a sense of inferiority in that regard and also consider that the demand that they apply to some State authority to be married, when they are adults, transgresses their ordinary rights. Would a marriage carried out in accordance with this clause, even if they had not obtained the approval of the State authorities, be a legal marriage or would it be invalid?

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