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Thursday, 21 November 1974
Page: 2671

Senator MISSEN (Victoria) -There is a somewhat curious situation in regard to this amendment. I have been talking to the Chairman of the Senate Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee and he and I both have a distinct recollection that when this matter was discussed by that Committee the feeling was that the whole of the words proposed in the AttorneyGeneral 's original amendment No. 18 should be deleted; namely the words 'but failure to comply with such a direction does not constitute a contempt of the court'. Somehow it has not made the report and we have overlooked it, but that is my recollection. In fact the accompanying notes from the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) on amendment No. 17, the previous amendment that this alteration is made because it is not considered that any advantage could be obtained by compelling the parties to attend upon a marriage counsellor. It makes amendment No. 18 consequential upon amendment No. 1 7. So it appears that the Attorney-General has different views, we have views, and these do not appear in the amendments before the Committee.

I take the view, quite apart from that, that these words ought not to appear at all in the clause. It is a weakening of the clause and there is no need to say at the end of it that failure to comply with such a direction does not constitute a contempt of the court. I think it does weaken the whole clause to finish it up with that invitation to people to ignore the direction or advice which they are given. I am not sure now whether the Attorney-General has moved amendment No. 18 which stands in his name but in my opinion those words should be excluded. It is my view on the evidence received by the Committee, although the Committee did not recommend finally anything on this aspect for some reason now unknown to me, that the Committee was of the opinion that these words were an unnecessary weakening and writing down of the clause. I hope that when the Attorney-General's amendment is before the Chair we will have the opportunity of voting for it and then removing the words from the end of this clause.

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