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Thursday, 21 November 1974
Page: 2635

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Webster (VICTORIA) -Is it the wish of the Committee that this Bill be taken as a whole?

Senator Murphy - I suggest that the Bill be dealt with in brackets of clauses. My office has worked out what seems to be convenient brackets of clauses. I shall indicate the brackets of clauses: Clause 1 to clause 8; clause 9 to clause 13; clause 14 to clause 17 and then -

Senator Greenwood - Before Senator Murphy concludes I say that I believe this Bill should be taken clause by clause. We do not know what the arrangements are. I think as we proceed opportunity will arise for some clauses to be taken together.

Senator Murphy - All right.

Clause 1.

This Act may be cited as the Family Law Act 1974.

Senator Sir KENNETHANDERSON (New South Wales) (12.1 )-I move:

In Clause 1, Leave out 'Family Law Act 1974'. insert Marriage Dissolution Act 1974'.

This is not a clause which will take a great amount of time to dispose of one way or the other. I move this amendment because of my fundamental feelings and my views on this Bill. I think that to use the name 'Family Law Act' is humbug. This is not a Bill to preserve and aid the family within the framework of marriage. 'Family Law Act' seems to me to be a singularly inappropriate name. This Bill is intended to make the dissolution of marriage quick and easy. It is nonsense to have a Bill which enables the quick and easy dissolution of marriage tied to the family concept. 1 find the title unacceptable to my thinking. The amendment I have moved will give the Bill its true name. It is a divorce Bill. It is a marriage dissolution Bill so why not call it just that. If that were done the Bill would not be flying under any false colours at all and would be known for what it is. To link family life in the concept of a family law Bill with divorce seems to me to defame all that is good in marriage. In essence marriage is tied to the family. Marriage is an inheritance of love, loyalty and protection particularly for the offspring of the marriage and indeed for the other spouse who is a party to the contract. All this is basic to the happy home.

Family life is the greatest gift that God has given to mankind. I say that with all the force 1 have and all my belief in the use of the word God. Family life, of necessity, has a whole wide perimeter and the very least of it seems to me to be the easy and quick, almost by the press of a button, concept of the dissolution of marriage. I believe that this Bill which makes divorce so quick should be named for what it is, a dissolution of marriage Bill. The Bill only touches the fringe of family life. It is not right for the innocent to be able to look at the BUI and think that it deals with the whole concept of the family. Let me be frank; the name distresses me. There is reference to counselling, conciliation and maintenance, but they are only afterthoughts in the Bill. Senator Carrick, when speaking at the second reading stage of the Bill, said that all the various laws concerning the family are to be found almost entirely in State laws. I do not wish to persevere with my views, but I believe the amendment to be important. I believe that this Bill should not fly under any false colours to any person in this land or any other land. The Bill has as its purpose the dissolution of marriage and I believe my amendment should be accepted and the Bill adjusted accordingly.

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