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Tuesday, 19 May 1970

Mr Whitlam asked the Attorney-General, upon notice:

Can he provide more recent or complete information than his predecessor (Hansard, 10th October 1968, page 1902, and 25th February 1969, page 58) concerning (a) the countries in which persons under the age. of 21 years may marry without the consent of their parents or their, guardian or a prescribed authority and (b) the number and age of minors who have applied to magistrates for consent to marry in each year since the relevant provisions of the Marriage Act came into operation.

Mr Hughes - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(a)   1 can give information of the kind requested in relation to 7 countries, the United Kingdom, Canada. New Zealand, the United States of America, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the U.S.S.R. In these countries, the age at which a person may marry without the consent of a parent, guardian or public official is:


(b)   As mentioned in a previous answer by my predecessor, no statistics of these cases are kept by the Attorney-General's Department or the Bureau of Census and Statistics and the State figures are incomplete. To obtain the details requested would involve State authorities in a great deal of research extending back to 1963 in magistrates' courts throughout Australia. I do not think 1 could reasonably request research of this magnitude to be undertaken by the States.

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