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Thursday, 21 November 1974
Page: 2663

Senator CHANEY (Western Australia) - There may be some misunderstanding about the effect of this amendment because if these words are removed lawyers for the parties will not be prevented from making representations to the court on behalf of their clients. In other words, the lawyers will still be able to make submissions relating to the attitude of their clients towards reconciliation. So I think that the primary fear that Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson voiced will not really arise if the amendment is carried. The real deficiency in leaving the words in the Bill is that it suggests that the attitude of the lawyer himself is relevant- this is the point which the Committee was picking up. It is not the attitude of the lawyer but the attitude of the parties which counts and which the court ought to be taking into account. But the parties do not lose their rights and they do not lose the facility which the lawyer provides for them to put the point of view forward. I think that the primary fear really does not arise.

Senator Sir KENNETHANDERSON (New South Wales) (4.29)- I am not clear, and Senator Chaney who has just spoken has perhaps confused me a little more. What is the situation in relation to one party wanting to be represented by a legal practitioner and the other not wanting to be represented? I seem to remember reading something about having a fool for a client when you represent yourself.

Senator Greenwood - That is when lawyers appear for themselves.

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON -Yes. I have said some hard words about lawyers in my time. I want to be satisfied that one of the parties is not being disadvantaged and that, in a situation dealing with 2 parties to reconciliation and counselling, ignorant persons are protected. Some of us who are involved in charitable work are confronted all the time with broken marriages and problems and we find very often that people are unable to express themselves and put across the message of their problem and the troubles in the home. I want to be certain- this has been canvassed by the Committee- that no party seeking a reconciliation will be prejudiced because of his or her inability to express feelings, emotion and concern, which an advocate with his heart in his work and doing a good job for his client could express far more adequately, thus ensuring a better chance of ultimate reconciliation.

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