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Confirmation of the opening date of the family law act

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Canberra office were not inconvenienced.

Mr Ellicott said that an Ordinance to effect the

extension was gazetted today.

He added that, as the Ordinance had been made

before he was sworn in as a Minister, the former Attorney-

General , Senator Greenwood had signed it.

Canberra '

December 23, 1975

1E/75 : . .



The Commonwealth Attorney-General, Mr R.J. Ellicott,

Q.C., confirmed today that the Family Law Act would come

into operation on 5 January.

He also confirmed that the Family Court of Australia

would commence operations on that date in all States, except'

Western Australia, and also in the Australian Capital

Territory. Family Court registries would be open to

receive applications under the Act in all capital cities

except Perth and Darwin, and also in Launceston.

To date, the Chief Judge, 3 Senior Judges and one

other Judge have been appointed to the Family Court. The

Attorney-General said that he expected that the appointment

of 2 further Senior Judges would be announced by the

Government before the middle of January. He had satisfied

himself that these Judges, together with the Court staff,

would be able to deal with the work of the Court during



Mr Ellicott also drew attention to the fact that,

for the time being, the State Supreme Courts had concurrent

jurisdiction with the Family Court and would therefore be

able to receive and deal with applications under the new

Act. In New South Wales, a Supreme Court Judge would be

sitting full-time during the Court vacation to deal with

family law matters.

The Attorney-General referred to section 41 of the

Family Law Act which provides that, as soon as practicable

after the commencement of the Act, the Australian Government

is to attempt to reach agreement with the States on the

establishment of State Family Courts. These courts would

exercise jurisdiction under the Act, and their establishment

and administration would be financed by the Australian


The Attorney-General said that earlier this year:

discussions had taken place between the then Attorney-

General, Mr Enderby, and the State Attorneys-General as

to whether the States would set up State Family Courts.

Only Western Australia had indicated its desire so to do.

Mr Ellicott said, however, that having regard to

the terms of section 41, it was necessary for the Government

to approach the States again after the commencement of the

Act on 5 January. This would be done as quickly as possible

. The Attorney-General said that if the States

reaffirmed their previous attitude regarding State Family

Courts, early steps would be taken to appoint further

Judges to the Family Court of Australia.


December 30, 1975