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Thursday, 22 May 1930

Senator RAE (New South Wales) . - I do not like arguing with a lawyer, and particularly with my leader, but we have frequently been told that the inclusion of one thing implies the exclusion of another. Does not the clause imply that a wife could not take out a policy in any other way than that provided? Would it not be illegal for an insurance company to issue a policy without obtaining the consent of the husband ?

Senator McLachlan - As the clause originally stood it was not necessary for the woman to obtain the consent of her husband in orderto take out a policy on his life for her separate use.

Senator RAE - Could it not be provided that if a company issued a policy in contravention of the clause it should be fined £50, or any other sum that was desired? I am just as anxious as anybody else to give to a woman who is cursed with a drunkard or a waster as a husband, the opportunity to obtain a few pounds in the event of his death. It really would not matter much if the cover induced her to shuffle him off this mortal coil. But in view of the possibility of the criminal-minded person misusing the powers of insurance, it is necessary to provide a safeguard. I recall the case of Mrs. Needle, in Victoria, who poisoned her two young children in order to obtain the insurance money. One would not think it possible that anybody could be guilty of such callous brutality. That woman was also supposed to have poisoned her own husband, and it was alleged that she tried to poison her brother-in-law, in order to collect the insurances. It is necessary to provide a safeguard against that sort of thing. Perhaps the acceptance of Senator McLachlan's proposal would confer the advantage that he claims, because both he and Senator Daly tell us that the clause provides no protection whatever. If that is so, what isthe use of the amendment with which the honorable senator is trying to fool me? Is it fair that he should trade on his legal knowledge and press me with an amendment which is as valueless as my original one is now said to be.

Senator McLachlan - The honorable senator is misquoting me. If the words " with his consent " were retained, before a woman could get any benefit under the measure she would have to obtain her husband's consent. She is already given protection up to £100 under an industrial policy, but no protection on a life policy.

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