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Thursday, 21 November 1974
Page: 2657

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Once again I urge Senator Greenwood to study the document which emerged from the deliberations of the Senate Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee.

Senator Greenwood - If you gave us time to consider this we would all be much better informed.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - If the honourable senator would let me have a few moments to speak I could point out to him that there he will find that the Committee, whilst expressing the wish that all matters involving matrimonial causes should be heard in a Family Court, faced the fact that for reasons of geography and manpower this desirable state will not emerge overnight. In the meantime federal jurisdiction will be conferred on courts of summary jurisdiction as it is at the present time. In the case cited by Senator Wood, an aggrieved wife in Bourke would go to the Court of Petty Sessions in Bourke for the time being. We hope, when this scheme gets off the ground, that magistrates will be excluded from matters concerning the family, that we will have a two-tiered judicial system and that the court will be a circuit court. Surely it is not beyond the resources of this country to bring justice in matrimonial affairs to remote parts of the continent. That is what we hope will happen. In the meantime, citizens in the situation cited by Senator Wood will be in the same position they are in today and will have to go to their local court.

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