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Thursday, 21 November 1974
Page: 2655

Senator GREENWOOD (Victoria) - I ask a question of the Attorney-General. Under clause 8 it seems to me that there is the exclusive provision which was a matter of concern to me in the previous debate. Is it intended that there shall be forms which will give effect to this exclusive power? In short, will it be a threshold question as to whether or not a matter is a matrimonial cause so that you could have as that threshold question whether or not you are in the right court?

Senator Murphy - Do I understand the honourable senator to be asking whether there is some way in which the question could arise -

Senator GREENWOOD - I will pose the question by way of an example which will assist the Attorney-General to give me the answer that I am seeking. In the earlier debate there was some discussion about the case, for example, of an assault complaint laid by a wife against a husband, or some other proceeding in which a husband and wife are parties. The issue involved may be a property issue or a civil damages claim or some such claim. The question is whether or not the particular issue is a matrimonial cause. In the ordinary course a matter of that character would come before the ordinary State courts, be it the lowest level court of the Supreme Court of the State. Paragraph (a) of clause 8 (1) of the Bill states: proceedings by way of a matrimonial cause shall not be instituted except under this Act.

What I am getting at is this: Is it intended by some form that there will be a threshold question, which may have to be answered in a host of cases in which husband and wife are involved, namely, are they in the proper Federal court or should they be in the State court.

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