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Wednesday, 30 October 1974
Page: 2166

Senator McLAREN (South Australia) - In addressing myself to the second reading debate on this Bill, I express my gratitude to all senators, in particular those members of the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs who have given searching and deliberate consideration to this Bill. Many points of view have been put, and I am satisfied that all the broad aspects have been fully covered in the second reading debate in the Senate on this occasion and in speeches on other occasions when the matter has been discussed in this place. I am fully aware that a number of attitudes will be expressed during the Committee stage. It would be reasonable to assume that ample opportunity would be given then to canvass fully any aspects of the Bill which in the minds of certain senators still remain obscure to some degree.

Like other senators, I have had many representations made to me about this subject. During my term as a senator I have had personal approaches from people pleading that steps be taken to eliminate the high costs, the delays and, above all, the indignities which they were experiencing under the existing Matrimonial Causes Act. Being a happily married man for over 33 years, I have a very deep concern for those people who have not been as fortunate in marriage as I have been. To my mind, the people who have approached me with their personal plea have been more convincing than have those people who posted a stereo-type letter to me. They have been more convincing than the 5,000 eople who signed petitions and about whom Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson spoke. I believe that in any matter such as this, when one can sit down and talk to a person, one gets right to the heart of the problem. I have done this on numerous occasions. My opinion is that everything that could be said in a second reading debate has been said. I think it would be appropriate at this stage for the Senate to express itself on the broad terms of the Bill. Accordingly, I move:

That the question be now put.

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