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Wednesday, 22 March 1961

Mr CHRESBY (Griffith) .- Far from agreeing that the marriage age should be reduced as suggested in the amendment that has been moved by a member of the Opposition, I hold the contrary view. I do not think the minimum age should be eighteen years for a lad and sixteen years for a girl; I think it should be at least eighteen years for both.

Mr Chaney - That is a novel approach.

Mr CHRESBY - Like some other honorable members1 here, I am not in the least impressed by the suggested standardization of individuals to one pattern or form. I think we would be doing ourselves a graveinjustice if, under existing circumstances, we allowed, ourselves to be blinded by some international body and accept something which might be all right in other conditions in other parts of the world but would not be acceptable to the majority of people in Australia.

Mr Chaney - How old1 was Juliet when she stood on the balcony?

Mr CHRESBY - I do not care how old Juliet was on the balcony or what balcony she was on. In this day and age, we have to consider this serious question in the light of modern times. Even older persons who have gone into marriage have found it difficult at times to carry on. After all, marriage is an attitude of mind of one person to another.

Mr Whitlam - Do not be platonic.

Mr CHRESBY - I know the attitude ot the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. I do not believe I am being old-fashioned when I say that, at fifteen years of age, children cannot, except in the rarest cases, have an attitude of mind compatible with an ideal state of marriage. One might say that even at eighteen years of age they would not have the proper attitude of mind. I have given considerable thought to this matter and I believe that we are more likely to find a better attitude of mind to marriage in persons eighteen years old than we will find when they are fifteen. I strongly oppose a reduction in the marriage age. On the contrary, I would like to see the minimum age for both sexes eighteen years.

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