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Wednesday, 22 March 1961

Mr BANDIDT (Wide Bay) .- I support clause 1 1 as it stands. I think there is good reason why the male, in normal circumstances, should be at least eighteen years of age before he gets married. When he is married, he has to face up to heavy responsibilities and, as a general rule, he is not capable of carrying those responsibilities until he is at least eighteen years of age.

If I may, I should like to repeat what I said when the previous Marriage Bill was being discussed. That is that, in appropriate circumstances, it should be possible for both intending parties to a marriage to obtain special permission to marry even though they are younger than eighteen and sixteen years respectively. Under clause 12 of this bill, a girl of fifteen may apply for special permission to marry a boy of eighteen years of age, assuming she has obtained her parents' consent but, if the boy is seventeen years of age, which is under the permissible marriageable age, a girl of fifteen cannot apply for permission to marry him. She may apply fox permission to marry only if the boy whom she proposes to marry is of permissible marriageable age. The boy, on the other hand, can apply for permission to marry the girl only if she is at least sixteen years of age. The suggestion I made previously and which I repeat now is that it should be possible, in appropriate circumstances, for a young girl of fifteen to marry a lad of seventeen if special permission is obtained under the law governing marriageable ages, although I do admit that, generally speaking, it is wise to provide that the marriageable age shall be eighteen for the boy and sixteen for the girl. Apart from the special circumstances I have mentioned, I support clause 11 as it stands.

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