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Wednesday, 19 October 1983
Page: 1963

Mr LIONEL BOWEN (Minister for Trade)(6.50) —We are getting a fair amount of oratory and I appreciate it. Let me repeat that the amendment the honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Cadman) has moved to create proposed new section 15A states that a party 'may' seek to file notice. That is in his amendment. I am suggesting that that provision is already applicable in existing section 15 which states the same thing. The honourable member seems to be adding in the emphasis of his concern that there is some obligation. I draw the honourable member's attention to his wording: It is 'may' seek. In other words, the parties need not seek to file. What is the difference?

Mr Cadman —Refer to clause 21.

Mr LIONEL BOWEN —No, I am talking about the honourable member's amendment now. His amendment is to create proposed new section 15A.

Mr Newman —They cannot have a dissolution without it.

Mr LIONEL BOWEN —Let me make the point that we are not talking about dissolution . We are talking about the fact that they may-and the emphasis is on 'may'-seek to file. The honourable member has wasted a lot of time arguing the fact that this is obligatory. It is not because the wording is 'may'. I only draw the honourable member's attention in strict legal terms-I am not against his sentiments; he has admirable sentiments-to the way the amendment is drafted. As it is drafted of course it means that the parties need not file that notice. That is the position. They need not do it. They may have dependent children and this and all the other matters about which the honourable member is so concerned have to be taken into account. So what are we talking about? Is not the same situation obvious in section 15 when a party to a marriage 'may' seek the same reconciliation, advice and counselling? That is the point I make. I do not think I need dwell on it.

Mr Cadman —Just in brief reply-

The CHAIRMAN —Order! I think the honourable gentleman has already spoken twice in the debate.

Question put:

That proposed new clause 7A (Mr Cadman's amendment) be inserted.