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Tuesday, 26 November 1974
Page: 2791

Senator DAVIDSON (South Australia) - One is a little hesitant to enter into this complex situation but I refer to what I said in the second reading debate on the matter of retaining the fault ground. One criticism of retaining the fault ground has come from people who have expressed concern about the effect that retention of a fault ground has on the re-marriage of divorced persons. This issue, while it may not enter immediately into the matter before the Committee at the moment, is at least something which arises from it. There are exceptions to this concern about the re-marriage of divorced persons because we have in this situation what is described as an innocent party. I am somewhat at a loss to discern clearly in my own mind what is an innocent party. Under the present Act a secular courts' finding as to who may or may not be the guilty party can be a subject for argument. Perhaps it is too simple an answer to the complex question of who is the guilty party and who is the main contributor to the breakdown of the marriage. Therefore the matter of fault arises. In the amendment which Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson moved earlier tonight he refers to it being established to the reasonable satisfaction of the court that the other party to the marriage has behaved in such a way that the applicant cannot reasonably be expected to live with that party, but that behaviour to which Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson refers may or may not have been the fault in this particular situation.

Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson - It is for the judgment of the court, of course.

Senator DAVIDSON - It may, as the honourable senator has said, be subject to the judgment of the court but there are a number of complex factors relating to this situation which lead me to the conclusion that, while I appreciate the arguments that the honourable senator has put forward, at least at this stage I am unable to support his amendment.

Amendment negatived.

Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson - 1 ask that my affirmative vote be recorded.

Senator Laucke - I too ask that my affirmative vote be recorded.

The CHAIRMAN -That will be done.

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