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Thursday, 21 November 1974
Page: 2658

Senator GUILFOYLE (Victoria) - I want to refer to this Part of the Bill because it relates to marriage counselling organisations. I note that in clause 1 1 there is provision for moneys to be appropriated by Parliament, through the Attorney-General. In clause 12 the voluntary organisations which may apply to the Attorney-General for approval as marriage counselling organisations are set out. I would like some indication from the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) as to what personnel he envisages being involved in the marriage counselling organisations referred to. Does he envisage professional social workers, members of the clergy and specialists in various social sciences being approved? Could we have some indication of whether he thinks there will be an extension of financial assistance available for marriage counselling in the future? I have the impression from many of the marriage counselling organisations in existence now that they, in common with a lot of voluntary organisations, are facing financial difficulties. It seems to me that this is an appropriate time for the Government to consider an extension of financial assistance to them.

I draw attention to the fact, for instance, that the Catholic Family Welfare Bureau would like to start a training course in marriage counselling. If they had access to funds which would enable them to set up a course it could strengthen the work that they do in the community.

That type of organisation is finding that it needs to provide emergency accommodation for children whose parents are temporarily unable to cope for them and because they incur costs in minding these children they are in financial difficulties and as the work that it does prevents the children from becoming wards of the State the Bureau is ineligible for Government help. It seems to me that is an opportune time for the Attorney-General and the Government to give consideration to the type of marriage counselling that would be undertaken in the future with Government help. Perhaps we could get a little clarification from the Attorney-General of the type of personnel he envisages should be involved in any marriage counselling organisation to give assistance.

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