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Tuesday, 19 May 1942
Page: 1343

Mr ROSEVEAR (Dalley) .- The definition of "deserted wife" is: "a wife who has been deserted by her husband for a period of not less than six months ". Does the Minister propose that a pension shall be payable to every wife who has been deserted, irrespective of who is responsible for the desertion? Under the New South Wales law, a deserted wife who is a claimant for relief payable under local charitable legislation must prove that at least she has endeavoured to compel her husband, by means of a court order, to observe his financial responsibilities. There is no such qualification in this measure. I raise the matter in order that the Minister may realize the possible result. Great difficulty will be experienced in proving that a wife who is living apart from her husband has been genuinely deserted, and that her husband is shirking responsibility for her maintenance, unless she furnishes to the Deputy Commissioner evidence that satisfies him that she is in fact a deserted wife and has taken court proceedings to compel her husband to maintain her if he is able to do so. There should be some proof apart from her own statement that she is a genuinely deserted wife. Many marriages are dissolved by mutual consent. A wife may be as willing to be apart from her husband as the husband to be apart from her.

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