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Thursday, 21 November 1974
Page: 2638

Senator MURPHY (New South WalesAttorneyGeneral) - I think the amendment ought not to be accepted. It is true that a good deal of the Bill deals with marriage dissolution but the constitutional power extends further than that. I would think that we would want to have a vehicle to enable us to include matters other than dissolution of marriage. There is nothing terribly wrong with the title Marriage Dissolution Act'. There is nothing wrong with that at all. But the endeavour on my part has been, and I think Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson should share in this, that in dealing in this area we should go much further than dissolution. The Bill incorporates measures dealing with custody, maintenance, declarations on property rights and various other matters which are not necessarily connected with or tied to dissolution including counselling, reconciliation and all sorts of things. The Bill has been discussed in public and it is known as the 'Family Law Bill'. People know what they are talking about when they refer to it as the 'Family Law Bill'. I think it would be very unfortunate to change the name. It lives as a name. I suppose it can be changed but if it were it would cause very great confusion and it would not properly describe the Bill because I think it is bound to end up covering matters which go further than dissolution of marriage. So I urge the Senate with respect not to accept this amendment. It would be a backward step if we were to interfere with the title of the Bill because we would all be wanting to put into the Bill various other matters which go well beyond dissolution of marriage.

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