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Thursday, 21 November 1974
Page: 2673

Senator DURACK (Western Australia) - I will oppose Senator Missen's amendment because I do not believe that any directions, even in this field, are of any value at all. I was surprised that the Attorney-General even agreed to amend his own amendment and to have the words inserted. I suppose he thought in the interests of getting some agreement that it might be a wise thing to do. It seems to me to be quite incredible that a court would contemplate the consequences of proceedings for contempt of court against a party who had refused to comply with what would perhaps be even a direction to attend a marriage guidance counsellor. I do not think it is even a suitable field in which a court can make a direction. But in certain circumstancesextreme circumstances, as Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson said- the court may feel that there should be some greater weight to its recommendation or advice; and it may decide to direct. I believe that the majority of people to whom that direction would be given would carry out the direction because they were impressed with the weight of the court's authority and that sort of factors. I cannot conceive that there might be a power under which a court, which had given a direction with which the party did not comply, may then haul this party before it. That party might be the sort of person that would be sent to gaol. We are looking at nothing short of that. The person would be hauled before a judge and sent to gaol because he had refused to go before a marriage guidance counsellor. What possible hope would there be for any reconciliation? What use would there be in going before a marriage guidance counsellor in that atmosphere? I believe it is quite an absurd proposition.

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