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Thursday, 31 October 1974
Page: 2194

Senator MURPHY (New South WalesLeader of the Government in the Senate) - My understanding, after consultation with Senator Douglas McClelland, is that had the Family LawBill passed the second reading stage the debate on the Superior Court Bill would have commenced yesterday. There have been some developments in regard to that Bill, as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Greenwood) would be aware. For a start, it has been proposed to take one division out of it- that is, the family law division. As I indicated, that proposal was recommended by the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs. It seemed to be a sensible proposal and I indicated acceptance of it. It has also been suggested that we ought to remove from the Superior Court the matters which could give rise to criticism of possible conflicts of jurisdiction. I have indicated that I am amenable to that suggestion. The scope of the Superior Court may be a matter to be discussed in the Committee stage of the debate.

I think there would be no real reason why the matter ought not to proceed in its ordinary course and these matters dealt with in the Committee stage. Certainly the Government wants to proceed with the Superior Court Bill. That was announced on several occasions in the policy speeches. I do not know whether it is convenient to go through all that now, but there has been a good deal of discussion and a good deal of endeavour on the part of the Government to gain acceptance of the concept, which after all was originally advanced by the Opposition Parties when in Government. I think that with a little goodwill from the Opposition we can succeed in getting a piece of very helpful legislation on the statute book. So I ask Senator Greenwood, if he is anxious for the debate to proceed, to endeavour to obtain and express the goodwill of his own Party to our efforts to continue and to get on the statute book the concept which was originally introduced by members of his own Party.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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