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Thursday, 21 November 1974
Page: 2651

Senator EVERETT (Tasmania) -I think it ought to be emphasised to the Senate, because this proposed amendment is of extreme importance, that its effect would be that except in very rare cases there could never be a proceeding under this proposed Act unless there were also proceedings for dissolution of marriage. That is the effect of the amendment. The limited exceptions are those which involve cases in relation to nullity of marriage, which are extremely rare, and cases in respect of proceedings for a declaration as to the validity of a marriage or the validity of the dissolution or annulment of a marriage by decree or otherwise. So it is clear that except in less than 1 per cent of cases there could never be a proceeding under this legislation unless there were also proceedings for dissolution of marriage. That, surely, is counter to the whole spirit of the legislation.

Senator Missenhas given one illustration of the extent to which the provisions of the Bill would be stultified if this amendment were agreed to and he referred to clause 90. 1 do not elaborate on what he said. Another example is clause 57 in respect of declaration of interests in property. A third example, of course, is the ordinary- what I will call the State Maintenance Act, as at present- proceeding in respect of maintenance for children. The broad and bold concept of this legislation is that at the appropriate time all such proceedings would come under the jurisdiction of the Family Court or any variant of the Family Court as it is at present conceived. Senator Greenwood's amendment means that concept would be destroyed and that persons would be driven to institute proceedings for dissolution of marriage simply to be able to bring themselves within the ancillary- I will use that expression- provisions of the law. That would be, I suggest, a foolish thing for this Senate to do at the outset of its consideration in Committee of the provisions of this Bill, and I oppose it.

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