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Wednesday, 18 November 1959

Mr COPE (Watson) .- I think the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Cleaver) said that he regarded this as a humane provision. I do not believe it is in any sense humane. I repeat what I said previously, that the mother State of the Commonwealth, having 40 per cent, of the population of Australia, has never seen fit, under governments of all political colours, to include insanity as a ground for divorce.

Mr Cleaver - That is no criterion.

Mr COPE - Of course it is not. Neither can it be said that because the ground contained in paragraph (m) of this clause operates in Western Australia, it must be acceptable to the people of Australia. Likewise it cannot be suggested that because a two-year desertion period is accepted as a ground for divorce in that suburb of Melbourne, Tasmania, it must be accepted in the other five States. If that is the kind of argument that is put forward, then I repeat that we should have regard to the fact that there is no ground for divorce based on insanity in New South Wales, and the law there has operated quite successfully for many years under governments of all political complexions. I move as an amendment -

Omit paragraph (1).

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