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Wednesday, 27 November 1974
Page: 2859

Senator DURACK (Western Australia) - I only rise to speak because it may be thought, in view of the fact that I moved for a 2-year period of separation, that I would support this amendment as a second best proposition, bringing in, as it does, not only 2 years separation but the provision that the parties may get a divorce after 12 months separation if both consent. I wish to state that I am opposed to this amendment because I do not believe that it should be easier to get a divorce in any circumstances if parties consent to it. I believe that is contrary to the principles that I conceive should govern a proper divorce law.

There are a great many practical difficulties and objections to the provision as well. Senator Missen referred to the possibility, and the likelihood or even inevitability, of blackmail in order to obtain consent. As well, there is the difficulty of proving consent. There is also the injustice that may operate because it is not always possible, for practical reasons, to obtain the consent of a party. The party may not be available, as happens frequently. Why should a party facing those practical difficulties find it more difficult to obtain a divorce than if the other party is readily available to give consent? I believe it is very dangerous to introduce the concept of consent into divorce legislation. I oppose this amendment because I am entirely opposed to the introduction of such a principle into divorce law.

Question put:

That the amendment (Senator Baume's) be agreed to.

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