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Marriage: prescribed authorities

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SENATOR EVANS - asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 18 September 1979:

(1) Does Victoria have only three Prescribed Authorities available outside office hours for the purpose of determining time-shortening applications by couples lodging Notices of Intended Marriage. '

(2) Does New South Wales have at least six such Prescribed Authorities as well as certain Justices of the Peace with similar powers.

(3) Can hardships arise in particular cases if Prescribed Authorities are not available outside office hours for shortening of time urgent cases.

(4) What is the reason for the apparent disparity in the availability of services in this respect between Victoria and New South Wales.

SENATOR DURACK - The answer to the honourable senior* 1s question is as follows:

(1) In Victoria twenty-five persons have been

appointed as prescribed authorities for the purposes of the Marriage Act. Most of these authorities are available outside office hours to consider urgent applications for shortening of time for lodgment of a notice of intended marriage.

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(2) In New South Wales there are over three

hundred prescribed authorities appointed for the purposes of the Marriage Act and sixty-seven of these are Justices of the Peace. I am informed that most of these authorities may be approaced outside office hours in urgent cases involving a request for shortening of time for givin notice of

intended marriage.

(3) It is conceivable that hardships could arise

in the circumstances outlined. As indicated in the answers to (1) and (2), prescribed authorities will generally make themselves available after hours to deal with urgent cases.

(4) Because of its greater geographical area and larger population, New South Wales requires more larger

prescribed authorities than Victoria to provide a comparable level of service. The number of location of prescribed authorities was initially determined in consultation with the various State Governments when the Marriage Act came

into operation. In the light of experience, the New South Wales Government has now decided that non-official prescribed authorities are to be gradually phased out.

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23 November 1979 Page 2976/2977 1


(Question No.. 1836)

SENATOR EVANS - asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 30 August 1979: .

(1) Was Mr Thomson of the Australian Legal Aid

Office (ALAO) correct in stating, during a hearing of Senate

Estimates Committee B, that there are no written