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Tuesday, 26 November 1974
Page: 2785

Senator MURPHY (New South WalesAttorneyGeneral) - I move:

In sub-clause (2) leave out 'commencement of the hearing of the application' and insert 'the filing of the application for dissolution of marriage".

This is a simple amendment, but it is of some consequence. The provision had been that proceedings could be commenced before the relevant 12 months had expired. However that did not mean that a court could give a divorce before the expiration of that 12 months. That period would still have had to elapse. A number of views to the contrary have been expressed. The reasoning behind it has been partly met by the provision of what we described previously, in effect, as a notice of breakdown. It is spelled out and dealt with a little differently, but in effect the distress signal brings into operation the reconciliation and counselling procedures. In the interests of having the Bill passed, I am agreeable to altering this in accordance with the wish of the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, that is, to propose that the 12 months must elapse before the filing of the application for dissolution. I would think there would not be any real opposition to this.

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