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Wednesday, 27 November 1974
Page: 2876

Senator MURPHY (New South WalesAttorneyGeneral) - For once I feel myself in the company of Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson, lt is said that marriage is something voluntarily entered into by a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others for life. But this amendment says that it is to the exclusion of all others, except the one to whom you were marriedthe one removed. Somehow or other it seems to be thought that if a person obtains a divorce he can end everything except the financial relations. Notwithstanding that a divorce has been granted, the parties have gone their separate ways and have married others. If it so happens that one of the previous partners wins the lottery or something the other former partner may wake up one day, read of it in the newspaper and say: ' 1 was married to that fellow once and he has won the lottery. Let me go back and get a share of it'. For ever afterwards there is some kind of potential, dependent or contingent interest in the former partner, notwithstanding what we have solemnly put into the Bill about marriage being to the exclusion of all others. It is suggested that we put into parenthesis the words except some person to whom you were once married ', because such a person is not excluded. You can always look back on this kind of proposal.

I understand that the Committee has considered this matter and I do not suppose it will mean very much in practice. In theory I think it goes quite contrary to the notion of dissolution of marriage. I think that once again Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson was right in this respect. I think that the approach of the lawyers to this matter is that forever there must be some right of action, some way, to get some financial contribution. The obligation will be there forever after, notwithstanding even that a marriage has been entered into. To me it seems the height of absurdity. I will vote against the amendment, but 1 think it will mean very little in practice. I certainly hope that the wise judges who will staff the family courts and even the young judges who may, if the wishes of some people come true, staff the State courts will not have a bar of this nonsense which allows a person who has been divorced and gone on to marry someone else to turn back to the former partner and seek maintenance from the former partner.

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