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Thursday, 21 November 1974
Page: 2659

Senator MURPHY (New South WalesAttorneyGeneral) - It will create problems if we take out that provision. This was the view previously taken and, while there are problems in its operation, I think it is necessary to keep it. If we do not have that provision it means that money will be given to bodies which are engaging in all sorts of activities. It would be very hard to ensure that the money was devoted to marriage guidance proper. The next consideration is that we may run into difficulties with churches. There is a no establishment clause in our ConstitutionI think it is section 1 16- and we would certainly be in contravention of the Constitution if we started to hand over money generally to the churches. Already there are some problems occurring in various areas as a result of the application of section 1 16. There is also the problem f»f trying to rationalise these bodies. There has been some duplication and overlapping and I have had them get together and discuss this problem. They are now endeavouring to avoid duplication. It is not easy because they have a tendency to want to expand. There needs to be some kind of rationalisation in the provision of funds. I am afraid that if we get away from bodies which are proper marriage guidance bodies this will multiply the problems. I am well aware of the Smith Family case and the difficulties there.

The collapse of the Family Welfare Bureau, which was mentioned by the honourable senator, is an illustration of what I referred to a little earlier. A lot has been said in the community over the last 12 months or so about the family. Yet the Family Welfare Bureau, which was a well respected institution, gave plenty of notice that it was in grave financial difficulties and was allowed to collapse. I do not wish to provoke any trouble in this chamber. I am endeavouring to avoid it. But some senators might ask organisations which are writing to them and which are in positions of great influence and in command of enormous financial resources how they allowed this to happen. Just what are they doing in some of these areas, apart from talking about their fondness and concern for the family? I do not wish to challenge their sincerity. I am not speaking of anyone in this chamber at all. I am talking about institutions outside. It is very regrettable. I have digressed a little. I think the answer is that this provision ought not to be removed. I am willing to consider any modification of it that might meet the problem because it does cause some difficulties in practice. I think simply to take it out would cause even greater difficulties. I will undertake to look at the problem to see if we can find something that will avoid the difficulties.

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