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Wednesday, 18 November 1959

Mr BEAZLEY (Fremantle) .- Mr. Chairman,I should like to ask the Attorney-General a question arising out of paragraph (j). Before I do, I think I should say that it is time we heard an end in this debate to references to clerics and the Churches. When all is said and done, whether or not one agrees with what the Churches have said about marriage and divorce, the existence of the Churches is responsible for those values in this community that make divorce relatively uncommon. The basic thing about Christianity is that it produces a transformation of motive, not so that a person is kept good or his conduct changed because of the law, but so that his nature is changed and he does not want to embark on conduct which would break the law. That is a function of the Churches. It is a different matter, I think, from a lot of the problems that we are facing, and there is no sense in putting lawyers and clerics in juxtaposition in this matter.

Arising out of paragraph (j), I ask the Attorney-General whether the failure to pay maintenance is actually, in respect of this provision, successful evasion. It seems to me that, in other respects, this bill, as a Federal measure, will tremendously tighten up the power of the courts to order the payment of maintenance. It is not unusual for somebody to bolt from one State to another in order to get out of the jurisdiction of a State court which has made a maintenance order, thereby making it very difficult to enforce the order. This measure provides for the attachment of wages and so on. So I take it that the person concerned is a successful evader, and that it is not a question of a loop-hole being left by some other provision in the bill.

Sir Garfield Barwick - No. Has the honorable member noticed proposed new clause 31a in the circulated list? It requires that some endeavour shall be made to collect money. The matter cannot go by default.

Question put -

That the paragraph proposed to be omitted (Mr. Cope's amendment) stand part of the clause.

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