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Thursday, 19 June 1930

Senator DUNN (New South Wales) .^1 have listened with a great deal of interest to the remarks of the honorable senator in charge of the bill, and I appreciate the sincerity with which he advocates his case. Clause 81 of the bill provides that -

A married woman may effect a policy upon her own life or upon the life of her husband, with his written consent, for her separate use ...

Where a happy relationship exists between man and wife, and they can afford the necessary money to take out a policy, there is nothing to prevent a wife suggesting that she shall insure her husband. But that relationship may not exist. A man may be working, for £4 10s. a week, out of which he has to pay £1 10s. for rent and £2 10s. for foodstuffs, making a total outgoing of £4, and leaving a surplus of only 10s. I am aware that there are thousands of housewives in Australia who are thrifty, and that even under those conditions one might put by sufficient money to cause her to oe tempted by the blandishments of an insurance canvasser. The husband would know nothing about it, and a row would result when he discovered what his wife had done. One never knows where that sort of thing will lead. I desire to see incorporated in the bill a provision that there shall be a proper agreement between the parties before an insurance is effected. I believe that Senator Daly has a suggestion on the subject concerning the acceptance of a medical certificate as consent. I realize that many husbands are scallywags, and I wish to see the woman given the benefit of the doubt ; but I must insist upon unanimity between man and wife before the insurance is effected. I shall therefore support the amendment.

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