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Thursday, 16 December 1993
Page: 4875

Senator PANIZZA (5.38 p.m.) —I certainly support my colleagues Senator Herron and Senator Harradine on the matter that we have just been discussing. If the Minister for Family Services (Senator Crowley) is not prepared to answer, then I presume that she pleads guilty by her silence to what she was attempting to do. The minister owes me an answer to a question concerning the definition of a `family' that I asked just before we adjourned at 7.30 p.m. on 24 November. Clause 5(2)(b)(iv) states:

. . . the person and other person are not within a prohibited relationship for the purposes of section 23B of the Marriage Act 1961.

Then such a relationship is described at the bottom of the page. Bearing in mind the fact that the minister has always said that her prime concern is for the child—and Senator Lees has said the same—I asked her to tell me, just before we ran out of time, how a child in the care of persons in that situation would be treated.

  However, my main aim is to ask the minister how she defines, in that section, what sort of a relationship it is. When someone, presumably living in the household, is described as an ancestor or descendant of the other, or brother or sister, whether of whole blood or part-blood, how do we define whether or not there is a prohibited relationship? As I said previously, a brother and sister may be running a household for reasons I put forward the other day—the sister could be widowed, divorced or a single mother.

Senator Teague —Or never married.

Senator PANIZZA —Or never married. I ask the minister to tell me how we define, without invading the household, whether the relationship is what is called a prohibited relationship or whether it is, as I describe it, a household of convenience.