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Wednesday, 18 November 1959

Mr BEAZLEY (Fremantle) .- The question of whether the State laws in respect of the period of desertion should be altered from three years to two years before a deserted party may take the initiative, has, I think, only one significance. That is, whether the ground encourages or does not encourage collusion. I understand that certain honorable members are not greatly concerned about collusion. They feel that if each party to a marriage wants to end the marriage, that should be sufficient. That is a point of view with which I do not agree but which I recognize is quite common. Ordinarily speaking, the community has to determine that it has an overriding interest in the marriage institution as well as whether two people just wish to separate. Whether proceedings for desertion may be started after two years or after three years bears a relationship to the degree in which the ground may be used for collusion.

There is a genuine desertion and there is an arranged desertion. Parties to a marriage can say that they have only to wait two years and then the matter is ended. If the period of desertion remains as it is now in most States - three years - it is much less likely to become an arranged ground and more likely to be a genuine one. For that reason I propose to support the amendment moved by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen).

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