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Tuesday, 11 May 1965

Senator ANDERSON (New South Wales) (Minister for Customs and Excise) . - The first point I want to make is that there is a discretionary power. It is not an absolute power. Proceedings can be taken against the parent or the child as circumstances warrant. The honorable senator raised the question of a parent's being responsible for a child who has left the family circle. Quite clearly, discretion would be used in that case. There is no point in taking action against the parent when the child has left the family group. This opens up a wide issue in law which I will not attempt to debate. It occurs to me, and no doubt to those honorable senators who have children under the age of 21, that a great responsibility still rests with the parents in respect of those children. After all, until a child reaches its majority it does not have absolute freedom if it remains within the family circle. As a generality, the parents still have some rights. All I can say about this quite fascinating point that the honorable senator has raised is that this provision is not mandatory.

Senator Morris - It seems like it to me.

Senator ANDERSON - Despite what the honorable senator says, I am advised that it is not. Provision is made to meet the type of situation to which the honorable senator referred.

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