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Wednesday, 18 November 1959

Mr WHEELER (Mitchell) .- I ask the Attorney-General to say what yardstick will be used to measure the capacity of these organizations. These people may have the best intentions in the world, but they must be skilled in their special sphere of activity. They could be motivated by a genuine desire to help, but if they have not the skill needed for the task, they could do more harm than good. I ask whether the conciliator or the guidance counsellor is to possess training and, if so, what sort of training it will be. Are they to have diplomas or certificates to give them some hallmark of efficiency to undertake these non-official tasks? Will the parties subject to possible reconciliation be informed that the conciliator or the marriage guidance counsellor may disclose information not to the court, which is forbidden, but to their friends, relatives, or other persons? This may be confidential information concerning property or business and private life. I feel that the zeal of a person attempting to guide in these matters may sometimes lead to the disclosure of knowledge which in the end could affect the lives of both parties to the marriage, and they could end up worse off than they were in the beginning.

I ask the Attorney-General to say what will be the guiding rule in appointing these people and what qualifications they will have before these organizations will be appointed to engage in marriage guidance.

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