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Tuesday, 17 September 1974
Page: 1123

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Perhaps I could add something on this. Senator Durack actually spoke to me this morning about the matter which he has now raised. In my capacity as Chairman of the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, I immediately set in train the preparation of an interim report from the Committee on what has happened in respect of the general reference. I understand from the Secretary of the Committee that this interim report is in an advanced stage and will be circulated- if it has not already been circulated- to members of the Committee this afternoon. It was my intention to suggest that the Hansard report of the Committee proceedings, containing all of the evidence and submissions to which Senator Durack has referred, should be annexed to this interim report. In that way the Senate, in debating the second reading of the Family Law Bill, would have the advantage of the matter which has been considered by the Committee up to date on the general philosophy of matrimonial causes legislation. The Hansard record would not include the evidence which we took only last week in Melbourne from a couple of experts including Mr Watson, Q.C., who has been referred to, because that is a separate transcript. I see no objection to that being included. On reflection perhaps there is an objection, seeing that this goes to the specific examination of the clauses of the Bill. So perhaps the latest Hansard record of the proceedings should not be included in the interim report. But I suggest that the Hansard record of the deliberations and evidence taken by the Committee with respect to the general reference relating to matrimonial causes should be available to the Senate when this matter is being debated at the second reading stage.

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