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Wednesday, 18 November 1959

Dr EVATT (Hunter) (Leader of the Opposition) . - I want to add just a word or two, Mr. Chairman. I think that the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) has emphasized something which, no doubt, the Attorney-General recognizes. It seems to me to be probably one of the keys to the administration of this measure that the marriage guidance bodies should be 100 per cent, efficient. The honorable member for Moreton mentioned a possibility which may exist in certain cases, there being so many of these organizations - the possibility that the members of these organizations are not qualified, or not sufficiently qualified, for the job. This job, I suppose, is the most delicate of all in connexion with marriage, and the success of marriages and efforts to reconcile the parties to marriages. All those things are of tremendous importance.

I do not know what the Minister's plans are. I suppose it is quite obvious at this stage that the matter cannot be fully developed and that everything will depend upon the progress of these bodies towards 100 per cent, efficiency. Therefore, I do not think it is at all a waste of time to look at matters like this. The situations which must be avoided are well recognized. You have only to read novels like some of those written by Dickens to find illustrations of situations of the kind which we may get and which may be avoided - and which, I am sure, will be avoided by the Government.

I entirely agree with the proposal that a great body like the Salvation Army, which undertakes an enormous number of activities, need present an account only of its work in marriage guidance in order to attract the proper support of the Government. I think that goes without saying. But it is the broader question that I feel will become increasingly important. The Attorney-General has emphasized the need for safeguards, and many members of this chamber and many citizens have had their attention attracted to the need for safeguards. This is a very difficult sphere of administration, and I am sure that the Government and the Attorney-General want all the assistance from honorable members that can possibly be obtained.

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