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Wednesday, 13 November 1974
Page: 2299

Senator WOOD (QUEENSLAND) - I present the following petition from 23 citizens of Australia:

To the Honourable the President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled, this Petition of the undersigned respectfully showeth:

The Family Law Bill, 1974 is causing grave concern to us and it is only to be expected that it is causing the same concern to a vast number of others right throughout the nation.

There are many parts or clauses in this Bill with which we disagree and which we find unacceptable. However, we must be fairly brief in our Petition, as you would expect, and ask you to please reject the Bill in consideration of the convictions of a preponderance of your Electors which we are sure we represent. We feel sure that we are part of what is termed the silent ( except at election-time ) majority '.

It should be quite obvious to all, that the permanency of the married state must be preserved, in the long-term interest of the Community and the Nation as a whole. Hence, the Government should do all that is possible to promote and preserve the permanency of the married state instead of undermining its foundations by providing for easy divorce and thereby creating hardship and frustration for, in most cases, the Mother and Children.

Furthermore, our women-folk must surely and inevitably become chattels or things for men to take as they please, as could also happen in reverse.

High ideals of mankind are forgotten in the Bill. Likewise overlooked, or deliberately left out, is the axiomatic and traditional regard for the Natural Law, the impregnable rock of civilisation, i.e., marriage, as and being, the basis of human society.

Instead of neglecting to preserve the ideals of the married state, there should be statesman-like legislation to help unstable and broken marriages, and every effort to make premarriage counselling a pre-requisite of the contract.

Any one of us would be pleased to hear from any one of you on this subject and to receive advice of your convictions.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.

Petition received and read.

Senator Steele Hall - Mr President,I raise a point of order. Subsequent to introducing a petition myself today on the Family Law Bill I read the Standing Orders and I find that standing order 87 says:

No reference shall be made in a Petition to any Debate in Parliament of the same Session.

As some, if not a considerable number, of the petitions which have been presented refer to the current debate by name and definition concerning the Family Law Bill I should like to have your ruling, Mr President, if possible as to where those petitions stand.

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