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Thursday, 21 November 1974
Page: 2646

Senator EVERETT (Tasmania) - What Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson has just done requires that I make submissions to the Committee different from those I would have made a moment or so ago. It is quite clear that the original amendment proposed would have been a purposeless one which would have introduced into the Bill a completely mutually inconsistent position. I do not know how the courts would have dealt with the situation of dissolving marriages, which they have power to do, when those marriages are denned by the Act giving them that power as being indissoluble. Despite the intimation from Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson I state that again in my own words to indicate that it was misconceived that this definition should be in this Bill at all. In saying that I do not wish to be understood as being in any way critical of those who hold the view that this is an appropriate definition of marriage. I respect those views, acknowledging that others hold different views.

It seems to me that, even with the most recent amendment foreshadowed by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson, it would create an ugly situation to put into a statute which deals not only with dissolution of marriage but also with many of the other consequences- custody, maintenance, etc.- a conditional definition, if I may use that expression. All it seeks to do is to put into the definition clauses of the Bill a definition which has acceptance outside the provisions of the Bill, and to try to make it look right by using the words subject to the provisions of this Act or any other Act'. We cannot have a definition of this type in a vacuum. It has to be for the purposes of the Act and once we qualify the ecclesiastical definition, if I may use that term, by the words 'subject to the provisions of this Act or any other Act' we destroy that definition. It has no meaning from a practical point of view in the context of this legislation. I would agree with others that the proper place for the expression of this viewpoint, if it was the Senate's will, would be in the Marriage Act or possibly in a later provision of this Bill which sets out some of the duties of the court. I suggest to those who adhere to the viewpoint expressed in the definition that it would not be inappropriate to endeavour to set this concept out in the matters which the court is required to take into account. They are dealt with in a subsequent proposed amendment. Ideally I would have thought that this concept, if acceptable to the Senate, ought to be in the Act which deals specifically, and to the exclusion of other matters, with marriages. For that reason I oppose even the latest amendment indicated by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson.

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