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Tuesday, 17 September 1974
Page: 1124

Senator MURPHY (New South WalesAttorneyGeneral) - in reply- I think the suggestion is a wise one. It seems incongruous that the Senate should not have access to documents when in some cases the evidence has been printed in the daily Press. I think there is power under the Parliamentary Papers Act or the Standing Orders of the Senate for the Committee to make documents public by its own order. But in order to make the position clear I propose on the resolution of this motion to seek leave to move a motion to enable the Committee to present an interim report and also- if it is not already covered- to give the Committee power to table any of the evidence or documents which have been put before it. The Committee may use its own discretion in that regard.

I take the opportunity also to inform the Senate that I have taken note of the proposal that the Family Court, which under the Bill is included in the Superior Court, be taken out of that Court and that a separate Family Court be established.

I propose to put before the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs some clauses which would achieve that objective so that it may also advise the Senate on that matter.

Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson - Does that mean that there will be subsequent amendments to the existing Bill? You are talking about a separate court.

Senator MURPHY -Yes, there would be at least an alternative proposal put before the Senate. It should not be very difficult to provide for a Family Court outside the structure of the Superior Court. It was proposed, in effect, to have it inside the structure of the Superior Court. This could be put at least as an alternative by those who took that view. Perhaps the question will be resolved before we get to the Family Law BUI. One cannot foretell the fate- good or bad- of the Superior Court Bill. We may be able to do it in the way that has been suggested. I ask that the Standing Committee be given the opportunity to continue for this short period which has been proposed. I indicate that when this question is resolved I will move that consequential motion.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senator MURPHY(New South WalesAttorneyGeneral) by leave- I move:

That the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs be empowered up till the time of presenting its final report to table all of the evidence or documents presented to any of the Standing Committees on Constitutional and Legal Affairs.

I understand that it is empowered by its charter to present interim reports, so there is no need to refer to that.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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