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Thursday, 21 November 1974
Page: 2671

Senator EVERETT (Tasmania) - I want to reply briefly to Senator Greenwood by suggesting that if his proposition were accepted the authority of the court would not be enhanced but would be weakened for the simple reason that the clause is expressed to authorise a direction to attend upon a marriage counsellor. I emphasise the words 'to attend'. It is clear that that simply involves a physical appearance. It does not involve any question of co-operation with the counsellor. The person concerned could simply say: 'All right, the judge has directed me to attend upon a marriage counsellor and if I do not do so I could be in contempt of court. I will go but nothing will make me open my mouth and nothing will make me alter my present attitude to the other party.' If the person concerned does that he is not in contempt of court but he might just as well stay outside the door if that is the attitude he is going to take.

I seriously suggest to Senator Greenwood that the authority of the court would be weakened by the proposition he advances and that the court would be put in an untenable position. It could be proved later, in proceedings for contempt of court, that he was not in contempt of court if he went to the marriage counsellor's room, gave the marriage counsellor a piece of his mind and told him what he thought of the judge for having made an order against him under clause 90. That would not be contempt of court. Over centuries the law as to contempt of court has been developed along common sense lines. In 1974 we ought not introduce a Gilbertian note into the doctrine of contempt of court.

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