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Tuesday, 26 November 1974
Page: 2747

Senator BAUME (New South Wales) - During the second reading debate I. made a comment about the place of family courts and Senator James McClelland indicated by way of interjection that some of the things I was hoping family courts could achieve probably had no constitutional head of power. I think that is correct. What were concerning me at that time were matters relating to juvenile delinquency and cases of that kind which ideally should be within the ambit of a family court. If one looks at the structure of family courts throughout the world, the best of them seem to take in not just matrimonial causes but many other matters affecting children. All legal matters affecting children are dealt with in this kind of court in the best kind of atmosphere. If there is a constitutional limit to what can be done by the Commonwealth I think we have a pretty strong argument for inviting the States to be involved in the setting up and operation of family courts. We have a strong argument for inviting the States to come in on a partnership basis and invest the court with these other matters. I would like the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) to consider this point and answer it. There are other matters which should be dealt with in family courts but this can only be done if the States are involved on a partnership basis.

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