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Thursday, 7 May 1970

Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:

(1)   What alterations or clarifications have been made in the bilateral agreements between each State and Territory and other countries for the enforcement of maintenance orders since the answer to me on 25th October 1962 (Hansard, page 2034).

(2)   Does Australia still not comtemplate acceding to the 1956 United Nations Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance (Hansard, 5th May 1966, page 1593).

Mr McMahon - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Since the answer given to the honourable member on 25th October 1962, the Australian States and some Territories have enacted new maintenance legislation, based on the uniform Maintenance Bill prepared at the direction of the Standing Committee of Commonwealth and State Attorneys-General. This legislation made some alterations to the substantive maintenance law. It also varied the basis for making reciprocal arrangements with overseas countries. Where the laws of a country enable its courts to make maintenance orders of a kind that may not be made in Australia, the Australian legislation provides for reciprocity on a restricted basis only. As a result, the arrangements referred to in the previous answer do not in all cases continue to be effective. The Commonwealth, on behalf of the States and Territories, examines the legislation of overseas countries to see whether reciprocity can be arranged under the new legislation. Action is then taken by each State or Territory. The following countries and Canadian Provinces have been declared reciprocating countries for the purpose of the Australian Capital Territory Ordinance (with full reciprocity):

Provinces of Canada - Alberta

British Columbia Manitoba Newfoundland Ontario

Prince Edward Island Saskatchewan Other countries - Ceylon Cook Islands Cyprus India Kenya Malawi New Zealand Nigeria Niue Pakistan Singapore South Africa United Kingdom Zambia

The list of countries so far proclaimed by the States is, with some minor exceptions, the same as the above list.

(2)   Australia does not contemplate acceding to the United Nations Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance.

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