23rd Parliament · 3rd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took, the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– Will the Minister, representing the Treasurer inform me- precisely to what school text: books sales- tax at the rate of 124- per. cent, applies?: ls sales tax at this rate payable on text books required for all grades in primary and secondary schools?
– I am sure that the honorable senator realizes, that I would have to look at the sales tax. schedules to see what books attracted sales- tax. I had’ the impression that school text books were free of sales tax. I shall be pleased to have a look at, the question and let the honorable senator, know the result of my inquiries.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs noticed that a suggestion was made recently in the House of Commons- that Australia be invited to accept West Indian nationals as immigrants, and that, as reported, the answer by the United Kingdom Prime Minister, Mr. Macmillan, avoided any reference to Australia’s immigration policy? Does this indicate that the United Kingdom Prime Minister is unaware of our immigration policy as it applies to West Indian nationals? If the- answer to the last question is considered to be “ Yes “, would: the Minister- for. External. Affairs consider it to be a necessary precautionary step that he advise the United Kingdom Prime Minister of the- manner in which our immigration policy operates in respect of West. Indian nationals?
– I have seen the newspaper reports relating to the matter to which the honorable senator has referred. It would, appear that the United Kingdom Prime Minister, in answering a question on this matter in the House- of. Commons, gave a reply which could be regarded as equivocal and which could lead’ to- some doubt, about’ whether he knowsof Australia’s- immigration policy; although
I think that he does know of it. I think it would be more straightforward if he left no. one in any doubt, that, he does know of our immigration, policy, and that he is not able to. influence it..
Senator- COLE. - r direct a question tothe Leader of the Government in the Senate. In view of the number of companies, especially finance companies, that, have gone into liquidation or appear likely to go into liquidation, with resultant loss by investors, will the Government- consider the establishment of a securities commission similar to that operating in the United’ States of America?
– I- am sorry to say that I have no knowledge of the securities commission that operates- in the United States of America. I take it that it provides some form of guarantee for the repayment of advances. I think that that would be an extraordinarily difficult thing to do in Australia, having regard to the division of powers between the Commonwealth and the States. I do not think, that the Commonwealth, could take to itself, without the concurrence of the. States, power in relation to transactions with companies, particularly since- 1 understand that a good deal, of agreement has already been reached in relation to. uniform company legislation.
– The attitude of the Government- to all marketing boards is that they, being the- properly constituted authorities* are solely responsible for the marketing of the- products with which they deal. The usual practice is for the board concerned to make a report to the Government that certain business has been transacted. All wheat sold to red China to date has been sold on a cash against documents basis. The honorable senator has asked whether previous sales of wheat have been made on credit. I presume that his question relates to the period since the inception of the Australian Wheat Board.
– That is correct.
– I understand that during the years that the board has been operating, all its trading has been done on normal commercial terms. It could well be, although I have no specific knowledge, that from time to time during those years parcels of wheat have been sold on a shortterm credit basis, which could come under the heading of sales on normal commercial terms.
– My question is addressed to either the Minister representing the Prime Minister or the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. I ask the appropriate Minister to advise the Senate whether the Prime Minister, either in his capacity of Minister for External Affairs or of Prime Minister, has noted that Dr. Verwoerd is reported to have said, in respect of the Government’s migration policy -
Mr. Menzies follows this policy for no other reason than for self-preservation of the whites in Australia, because if he did not, Australia would be overwhelmed by millions from Asia.
I ask also whether it has been noted that Dr. Verwoerd further stated, in respect of Australian Government policy in the administration of Papua -
In Papua he is practising a policy almost identical to that of the Union.
As this report has been disseminated through world news channels subsequent to the Prime Minister’s statement to the Parliament denying that Australia’s position in relation to those two matters had been misconstrued and wrongly presented to other nations, will the Prime Minister make a statement setting out the facts, thereby removing any misconception that Dr. Verwoerd’s statements may have caused throughout the world? Further, will the Prime Minister see to it that the statement receives publicity as wide as that given toDr. Verwoerd’s misleading comments?
– The answer to th& honorable senator’s question is that, we have noticed the remarks made by Dr. Verwoerd and that thepolicies followed in South Africa have noparallel at all in policies followed either in Papua or in Australia. In the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, we have undertaken certain obligations willingly under chapters 11 and 12 of the United Nations Charter, for the development of the peoples of the Territory. Our aim is. not apartheid. Indeed, we have only recently enacted legislation under which half of the elected members of the Legislative Council of the Territory shall be indigenous natives. They will sit in Parliament and freely deliberate, on an equal’ basis, with the Europeans and government officials of the Territory. Furthermore, there is no social discrimination in the area. All the people living there, whether Chinese, Papuans or others, belong to the same clubs and no discrimination of any kind is shown against them.
In regard to Australia itself, the policy followed by the Government is the exact opposite of apartheid since our policy isdesigned to bring into the Australian community as quickly as possible the aborigines living in this country and not to keep them out of the Australian community. There appears to be. no parallel whatever betweenthe policy being followed by South Africa and that being followed by Australia. I shall endeavour to see that as much publicity as possible is given to this difference in administration. I think that is all I can say in answer to the honorable, senator’s question.
– I have discussed this matter with my colleague, the Minister for Health. Dr. Donald Cameron, who has advised me that this year there is a great demand for influenza virus vaccine. There are now some shortages in supplies, but they are not considerable. The Minister can see no reason why there should be a long delay in delivery of the vaccine to Queensland or to any other State, and he is confident that the orders for all States will be fulfilled.
– Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate confirm a news item which was broadcast over the national news service on 27th March, 1961, to the effect that a party of American tourists will be visiting Australia later this year and that most of their time in this country will be spent roughing it in the outback areas? Can the Minister inform the Senate whether or not the party will be watching whales being caught at Carnarvon and Albany, and does he know whether or not the Americans will hunt buffalo in the Northern Territory? If it is established that a buffalo hunt is to be undertaken, will the Minister make every endeavour to ensure that the buffalo that are slaughtered are slaughtered in a humane manner? Is the Minister aware that in some buffalo hunts buffalo are only wounded by the hunter and are left lying injured for periods of up to 36 hours before the skinners kill and skin the animals? Will the Minister obtain a copy of the magazine “ People “, of 19th August, 1959, and read an article headed “ It’s No Game for Softies “ so as to enable him to get a full appreciation of the torture which is inflicted on buffalo on such hunts?
– I have no knowledge of or information about the party of tourists to which Senator Poke has referred. I know his views about cruelty associated with buffalo hunting, and I will bring his question to the notice of my colleague, the Minister for Territories.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Customs and Excise. Has the Minister seen an article in the Sydney “Sunday Telegraph” of 9th April which states that only two countries, Ireland and Australia, have banned the film “ The Trials of Oscar Wilde “? Is it a fact that this film has been banned in Australia?
– I did read with some interest the article in the “ Sunday Telegraph “ of 9th April. I am not aware of the source from which the writer obtained his information, because the film has noi been banned in Australia. It has been admitted into Australia without any cuts at all. Obviously, the reporter was misinformed.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade. Has he seen a report in a leading daily newspaper this morning setting out that New Zealand will ask leading butter exporting countries to “ act with restraint “ in marketing butter in Britain, and that this request is likely to be made through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade organization? The Economic Counsellor to the New Zealand Government in London has pointed out that a number of big butter producing countries have created domestic surpluses through government subsidies and that they are now dumping butter on the British market. The New Zealand Government asks also that the countries in question step-up local consumption in order to reduce available surpluses. In view of the importance of the British market to both New Zealand and Australia, will the Government inform the Senate whether Australia is supporting the protest made by the New Zealand Government? Has support from Australia been requested? If it has not, will it be forthcoming?
– I saw the report in the newspaper, but 1 am without information upon the matter. In view of the importance of the question. I would prefer Senator Wardlaw to place it on notice rather than that I should attempt to surmise the Government’s position.
– My question ii directed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior. Has he seen a reference in the press to a confidential letter sent by the Minister for the Interior to every member of Parliament, referring to the cancellation of authorities issued for the payment of air travel tickets not used? Will the Minister ask his colleague in future to circularize the actual culprits rather than cast a slur on every member of the Parliament for incompetence or fraudulent conversion?
– I have seen the letter referred to by Senator O’Flaherty. I shall be pleased to bring the request made in the second part of the question to the notice of the Minister for the Interior.
– Can the Minister for Air inform the Senate why .a fleet of American, aircraft is coming to Australia - if it is not already here - to take radiation readings in our upper atmosphere? Are the tests being carried out in the interests of Australia? If so, has not Australia aircraft and crews capable of carrying out these tests?
– The purpose of the visit of these American aircraft to Australia is to collect samples of the upper atmosphere so that they may be tested for radio-activity. This kind of operation is being undertaken by the Americans in various parts of the world, and Australia is included in their present programme. That is why the aircraft are here for the second time. In the interests of research, we. are pleased to make available to our close international friends a base from which to Operate. These. American aircraft operate at exceedingly great heights - I think in excess of 70,000 feet - and they are equipped with rather costly equipment which is not available in Australia. That is why the Royal Australian Air Force cannot undertake this work. I might add that this work is not of particular interest to the Royal Australian Air Force. This is an exercise which the Americans are. undertaking in the interests of research, and I think it will be conceded ‘by all reasonable people that any bases we have to offer should be made available readily.
– Has the Leader of the Government any further information about the investigation of iron ore bodies at Savage River in Tasmania? Is it correct that another company has taken over the lease and intends to drill deeper? ls this deeper drilling being undertaken in accordance with geological advice, in the hope that at greater depth the titanium oxide content will not be so great?
– Senator Lillico told me that he proposed to ask a question about the Savage River iron ore deposits, so in order to bring my information up to date and in view of the importance of the matter to Tasmania, I obtained a brief statement from my department. I am able to tell the honorable senator that, since my statement to the Senate on 27th October, I960, in which I outlined the result of investigations on the Savage -River ore bodies, a considerable amount of investigational work has been carried out and additional information has been obtained. The Tasmanian Mines Department has now completed its programme of diamond drilling on the deposits. Two additional holes have been drilled, making ten in all. But these latter holes have not given any reason to change the estimate of 50,000,000 tons of ore reasonably proved - that is, demonstrated - and 130,000,000 tons of ore inferred, with the possibility of further ore existing below the level of the diamond .drill intersections.
The chief development since October has been the granting of an exploration licence by the Tasmanian Mines Department to Mr. E. R. Hudson, who represents the organization which intends thoroughly to investigate the possible use of these ore bodies as a base for a steel industry. The conditions of this licence provide for a considerable increase in the diamond drilling rate and a great deal of metallurgical research investigation. Since October the Bureau of Mineral Resources has carried out a detailed magnetic survey which is now being concluded and which will be of considerable value in laying out the programme for detailed exploration. It is understood that up to six diamond drills are to be employed by Mr. ‘Hudson’s organization on the work of exploration and that vehicle tracks are to be constructed to the northern and southern ends of the deposit for movement of equipment to the drill sites.
Some variation of the titanium oxide content in the Savage River deposits has been demonstrated by the drilling programme of the Tasmanian Mines Department, but this :has been in a lateral direction - that is, between the various lenses of the deposit - rather than in depth within individual lenses. The detailed exploration programme to be undertaken by the organization represented by Mr. Hudson will clarify the significance of this variation. ,
– Has .the Minister for the Navy seen a statement in this morning’s press to the effect that the First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Carrington, is coming to Australia, that .prior to his leaving for this country he announced that the nuclear submarine “ Dreadnought “ would be launched next year, and that in all probability it would visit Australia? In view of the great possibility of this vessel coming to Australia, will the Minister, when he has talks with Lord Carrington, endeavour to ensure that it visits Western Australia and that it calls at Fremantle to enable the people of Western Australia to have an opportunity to inspect it and also to entertain the captain, officers and other members of the crew?
– I did not see the article referred to by Senator Scott. I doubt whether it is correct, because to the best of my knowledge Lord Carrington left Australia last week. I had talks with him while he was here, but I did not have an opportunity to bring up this particular subject. However, 1 am in communication with him from time to time and I shall bring to his notice the suggestion that if “ Dreadnought “ comes to Australian waters it should call in at Western Australia on its way to the more populated areas of this continent.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade. Is he aware that last week in a broadcast over the Australian Broadcasting Commission network a trade authority alleged that Australian manufacturers were not complying with standards prescribed by the International Standards Association and that this was proving a serious handicap to the promotion of Australia’s overseas trade? Has the statement been investigated? Will the Minister give the Senate his assessment of the factual position and its importance?
– I am sorry to say that I did not hear the broadcast of the comments referred to by the honorable senator. I know nothing of the accuracy of the allegation. I can conceive that, if correct, this is a fairly important ground of criticism. Accordingly, I ask that the question be placed on the notice-paper so that it may be properly answered.
– Has the attention of the Leader of the Government been directed to an editorial published in yesterday’s Adelaide “ News “ under the heading “Bouncing Back to Normal”? In that editorial readers are invited to look at the following bright signs in the economy: -
Investors have moved in to the share market in force and pushed up prices of key shares.
Australia-wide, there are reports of more jobs in the motor industry because of a 40 per cent, upsurge in new car registrations.
The export scene is brighter and imports are down.
There is growing confidence of a real improvement in the overseas balance of payments.
The Port Kembla and Newcastle steelworks worked to capacity during March and their ancillary industries were steadily engaged.
Steady to good trade is reported in a wide range of consumer goods.
Some retailers have reported steady March sales.
Those statements come from a newspaper that is not generally well disposed to the Government. Honorable senators opposite do not appear to agree with my view, but it is true that the Adelaide “ News “ has in the past been very hostile to the Government. Does the Minister agree that the opinions expressed by the “ News “ indicate that the Government’s economic policy is the correct one?
– I have not yet read the newspaper report referred to by the honorable senator. I give an unqualified promise to him that I will read it, and if he asks me a question about it tomorrow, I shall be pleased indeed to give him an answer quoted from that same newspaper. In short, this is the story. It is a case of Daniel come to judgment. There will be more Daniels come to judgment as the Government’s policy increasingly becomes accepted and successful in accordance with original expectations.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Has he seen a report in this morning’s press indicating that throughout Australia the number of persons unemployed has increased by approximately 9,000 during the past month? If so, will he inform the Senate what steps the Government is taking to correct the position?
– I have seen in the newspapers figures which are attributed to the Minister for Labour and National Service, stating that the total number registered for employment throughout Australia at present is 81,000-odd. That figure includes both men and women and those who, having registered, may or may not have obtained jobs since registering. The general level of unemployment at this time of the year over the last five years has been in the vicinity of 69,000, 65,000 and 64,000. Therefore, the present unemployment figure is about 15,000 more than usual for the whole of Australia. The steps which the Government has taken appear to be cutting that number down and I believe that within the next two months they will bring the total number registered for employment to a figure below the figure at the corresponding time last year.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral. Whilst conceding the difficulties, I express my regret at the recent announcement by the Postmaster-General of the proposed termination of the existing experimental frequency modulation broadcasts in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide which is expected to take place in about June, 1961 in order to make frequencies available for new television transmitters. Has the Minister yet received the report of the ad hoc frequency allocation committee on the use of frequencies in Australia? If he has, when is it expected that such report will be made public? Will he ask that committee to make an inquiry and recommendation on the spectrum space, if any, that will be made available for frequency modulation transmissions on a permanent basis as this form of transmission and the improved entertainment which it gives are greatly appreciated by many thousands of Australian listeners?
– From time to time in the Senate Senator Hannan has displayed a very lively interest in all things pertaining to radio and particularly amateur radio operators. Because of his continuing interest, I suggest that his question is worthy of an answer direct from the PostmasterGeneral. I suggest that he put it on the notice-paper so that that answer may be given.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Customs and Excise. Is it a fact that there will be a grave shortage of shelled green peas in Australia this season? Is such shortage to be made good by imports? Will imports be admitted duty free under by-law? If they will not, is it a fact that domestic packs of green peas are not dutiable whilst bulk packs are dutiable?
– The indications are that owing to the. very dry season throughout most of Australia there will be a shortage of about 4,000 tons of shelled green peas in the country this year. 1 understand that that shortage will be largely overcome by imports from other countries such as New Zealand and America. The imports are not duty free. Recently the Tariff Board laid down a floor price of ls. 10id. Any price below that figure will attract a duty according to the amount by which it is below that figure. No matter in what sized pack the peas are - whether the 6-oz., 8-oz. or 1-lb. domestic packs, or in bulk packs - they will still attract the same duty. Green peas will not be admitted into Australia duty free under by-law this year because such action would upset entirely the floor price set by the Tariff Board. Consequently, that floor price will be maintained. The honorable senator might like to know that last year 1,904 tons of peas were imported into Australia. The average price was ls. Hid. As that price was in excess of the floor price, peas did not attract duty.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport tell me the result of the talks which, according to the Adelaide “ Advertiser “, were held last week on the matter of the standardization of the South
Australian railway gauges? Have those talks been completed? Has the Minister anything to say on the results of them?
-I regret that 1 am unable to make a statement on the matter. I shall refer the question to my colleague, Mr. Opperman, and ask him whether he is in a position to do so.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry seen in this morning’s press a statement to the effect that Western Australian fruitgrowers are to approach the Commonwealth Government for a subsidy of 2s. a case on fruit exported to the United Kingdom and other overseas markets? In view of the deplorable and chaotic conditions of the fruit export industry, will the Minister for Primary Industry, in considering this request, take notice of the increased cost of grading and handling fruit, including packing and shipping, and of the decreased price that Australian fruit-growers are receiving this year?
– What sort of fruit?
– Apples and pears.
– I shall be happy to bring to the notice of my colleague the matters raised by Senator Scott, but I am prompted to say that, in the Government’s view, subsidies do not always achieve the purposes for which they are paid. I am on safe ground when I say that this Government has always been very concerned about rising costs. Indeed, the present policy is aimed directly at reducing costs, particularly those of primary producers, because unless our primary industries are in a position to compete in world markets our whole economy is jeopardized. As I have said. I shall be very happy to bring the question to the notice of my colleague, but I take the opportunity to forewarn the honorable senator that the Government’s attitude is that subsidies are not, of themselves, a way out of the predicament in which the fruitgrowers find themselves to-day.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Recent press reports have stated that the Commonwealth has rejected an approach made by the Western Australian Govern ment for the extension of the comprehensive water scheme in that State but have omitted to state the reasons for the Commonwealth’s attitude. Will the Minister, in fairnessto the Government, tell the Senate why the approach was rejected?
– I think that the best course for me to follow would be to refer the question to my colleague i_ order to obtain a comprehensive answer for the benefit of the Senate and the Western Australian public.
– I direct to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry a question relating to the subject-matter raised by Senator Scott. Can the Minister inform the Senate of the extent to which freights have risen in the past ten years on apples and pears exported from Australia to the United Kingdom? Will he give, for the benefit of the Senate, an assessment of the degree to which stevedoring costs have been responsible for the increase? Will he review the forewarning that he gave to Senator Scott and consider the matter on the basis not of a subsidybut of some compensation for the burden which the waterside workers’ set-up is imposing on the fruit export industry?
– The matter raised by Senator Wright is of great importance to the fruit industry. As a matter of fact, it is relevant to all our primary industries. The honorable senator has asked for particulars of the rises in overseas freights in the past ten years and for an assessment of the additional costs resulting from the activities of waterside workers. These questions call for some research. So that the honorable senator may have a full reply, I suggest that he out the Question on notice.I shall then take the matter up with my colleague, the Minister for Primary Industry.
Senator McKENNA (through Senator
O’Flaberty) asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
Is it a fact that many thousands of FN . 30 rifles manufactured at the Small Arms Factory, Lithgow. have been sold to countries overseas and, if so, in what’ quantities and to which countries?
Have auxiliary units of the Regular Army yet heen completely equipped with this rifle? 3.Is it a fact that the equipping of the Citizen Military Forces with this rifle is to be spread over a period of years and, if so, over what period?
What further exports of this rifle from Australia have been arranged or are in contemplation?
Will the Minister explain the Government’s policy in relation to the export and the equipment of our armed forces with this rifle?
– The Minister for the Army, in conjunction with the Minister for Supply, has now furnished the following reply:-
Therefore it is necessary to spread the expenditure on some items over a period. Moreover, the Lithgow Small Arms Factory has the capacity for the manufacture of rifles in excess of the planned peace-time orders of the Australian services. Acceptance of overseas orders therefore is undertaken in the interests of improved cost of production.
” BASS TRADER.”
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
What is the name and type of the engine installed in the new vessel “ Bass Trader “, shortly to operate between Melbourne and Tasmania, and what are its advantages as to space, installation, maintenance and performance?
– The Minister for Shipping and Transport has furnished the following reply: -
The name and type of engine being installed is the Napier Deltic type T18-27C.
The advantages to be derived from the saving of space, simplicity of installation and maintenance are as follows: -
The compact form of the engine has made it possible to reduce the engine room and the casings to a minimum size and this has resulted in an increase in available deck area and hold space for the carriage of vehicles and containers.
The weight of the installation is approxi mately one-third of that for other types of machinery which could have been considered for this form of vessel. The saving in weight gives a corresponding increase in deadweight carrying capacity.
The machinery will be maintained on a “ repair by replacement “ basis. At this stage it is estimated an engine could be changed over in approximately twelve to fourteen, hours, thereby increasing the vessel’s earning capacity by reducing the time which the vessel will spend in port for overhaul and servicing.
Engines of a similar basic design have been used by the British and other navies in small naval vessels. However, this is the first merchant vessel designed to take this type of engine as a main propulsion unit.
Debate resumed from 11th April (vide page 422), on motion by Senator Gorton. -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– I think it is correct to say that the very absorbing subject of marriage has never before been fully debated in the Senate. Therefore, the bill before us should encourage honorable senators, whether they are married or single, to express their views on this most important sociological question. I agree with Senator McKenna, who, I admit, was speaking as an individual and not as Leader of the Opposition, because this is not a party matter, that the bill is in the main a committee measure, calling for extensive discussion at the committee stage. Even so, I have a reason for making some comments at the second-reading stage. I feel that my remarks should be made at this stage in order to give the Minister in charge of the bill an opportunity to consider his replies. Sometimes at the committee stage questions are thrown rather precipitately at a Minister. That is not fair to him, because he has not sufficient opportunity, particularly if the bill being discussed is of a highly technical nature such as that now before the Senate, to express considered views.
Therefore, Sir, I wish to discuss the bill in order, amongst other things, to give the Minister notice that I propose to discuss at the committee stage some of the matters to which it refers. One other comment which I think should be made about the bill before I discuss it in detail, is that it is a complementary measure to the divorce and matrimonial causes legislation which was passed by the Senate not long ago. While some of the aspects of that legislation were the subject of strenuous debate and very definite objections from individual senators, I think it is correct to say that the Senate was unanimous in agreeing that uniform divorce legislation is a highly desirable thing. That being so, the Senate will no doubt accept the proposition that the counterpart of that legislation - marriage law - should also be uniform throughout Australia. Not only should it be uniform because we now have a uniform divorce law, but for the much more important reason that we are a very closelyknit nation, culturally and1 sociologically. Because of the unity of our culture and the oneness of our sociology, as it were, we should have uniform laws relating to divorce in the six States.
Having said that, Sir, I wish to comment upon one or two aspects of Senator McKenna’s very thoughtful speech on this subject. Both Senator McKenna and Senator Wedgwood, the two previous speakers in the debate, have contributed most thoughtful observations on the bill. I congratulate them on the views they have expressed. I agree with most of their comments, but I do not quite agree with Senator McKenna’s first proposition that he put to the Senate, relating to the constitutional power of the Parliament to pass laws affecting certain aspects of legitimation. Senator McKenna very properly invited the attention of the Senate to the apparent weakness of the Constitution in that respect. At first glance, I was inclined to agree with him that we probably have not complete or absolute power to make laws in respect of legitimation. I point out, however, that the Constitution, by the one word “ marriage “, gives power in this respect. Senator McKenna very properly suggested that power conferred by the use of the word “ marriage “ does not cover power to make laws in respect of legitimation. As I have said, I was at first inclined to agree with the honorable senator, but on mature consideration I feel that the Senate may safely enact legislation on that subject without any qualms at all. The Senate may properly regard itself as having power under the incidental .powers relating to marriage which, of course, the Constitution imports to this chamber.
If we have the power to make laws in respect of legitimation, the following rather remarkable, illogical and insupportable situation, I suggest, could emerge: The Commonwealth Parliament would have power to make laws on marriage in its narrowest sense but not to make laws on the legitimation of children, in the narrowest sense of that term. Powers in regard to legitimation would still lie with the respective States; so that there would be the Commonwealth with power to make laws affecting marriage proper, while the States retained the residue of power on that subject in regard to legitimation. I put to Senator McKenna and to any one else who has doubts on the matter, that if that situation were accepted, the result would be that the Commonwealth would have power to make laws in regard to marriage, and the States, if they had power to make laws in regard to legitimation, would then have power to pass laws affecting the legitimacy of the issue of parents who, according to the Commonwealth, were properly married. In other words, the States could legitimize the issue of parents married in accordance with Commonwealth law. That would be such an absurd situation that I think it would be quite proper to assume that the Constitution intends that the incidental powers should also include power with respect to legitimation.
– Would the Commonwealth law be paramount if it conflicted with State law?
– There would be no conflict there according to Senator McKenna’s argument, which I think is correct. The Commonwealth would have power to make laws in respect of marriage as such and the States would have power to make laws in respect of legitimation as such. There would be no conflict; there would certainly be chaos if that were so, for the reasons I have expressed. I think I have made that clear. We have on the one hand a Commonwealth law - a good law - with regard to marriage, legitimizing as such the issue of marriage that could be deemed or declared or rendered illegitimate by a subsequent State law. That chaotic situation could exist. I think that
Senator McKenna would frankly admit that. The only way out of the quandary I am alluding to is to argue that the Constitution intends that the incidental powers that come with marriage include power to make laws with respect to legitimacy.
One other matter that Senator McKenna touched on was the all-absorbing problem 01 the marriage of our indigenous people. I think ( am right in saying that he invited the attention of the Senate to the possibility that an aboriginal person married in accordance with the laws of his tribe could be deemed to have committed an offence under clause 94 of this bill by going through a form of marriage with another person subsequently. Again, with respect to Senator McKenna, I do not think that that is so, for the simple reason that an aboriginal is not married in accordance with this proposed law, so that any subsequent act by him of going through the form of marriage would not then be an offence. In other words, there are two elements to the offence of bigamy. The first element - apart from guilty intent, of course - is that you should be married, and then knowing that you are married you go through the form of the marriage ceremony described in this proposed law or the existing law with some other person. You are not married unless the ceremony comes within the definition of the proposed law - or the existing law, for that matter. An Australian aboriginal is not married in accordance with the. existing State law, nor is he deemed married in accordance with the proposed law. So the first element in the problem that Senator McKenna posed to the Senate, breaks down. I think that the Government or the Minister has intentionally excluded native peoples from the operation of this bill, and therefore of this clause, because tribal marriages are not regarded as marriages under this bill.
I should now like to turn to what 1 think is probably one of the most important features of the bill, the matter of minimum age limits. Tt was a subject of considerable debate in the other place, where an amendment that was introduced failed. The amendment sought to reduce the proposed minimum age for marriage. I think that acceptance of that amendment would have been fatal. I say at once that I fully endorse the proposals contained in the bill with respect to minimum age, but I also believe that that is the matter about which one could argue indefinitely. Each person probably has his own view about the subject of minimum age.
I think we must discuss this question of minimum age with one basic principle before us, that is, that in this country at least we can accept the notion that the minimum age with respect to marriage must involve a consideration of the condition of the respective parties to the marriage. Predominantly, we must give very serious consideration to the mentality of the parties and to their emotional development. Both those factors are important. We in this country accept the notion that a party who is either mentally or emotionally undeveloped by reason of immature age cannot comprehend the notion of marriage, which is not only a spiritual union but also a legal contract - a very delicate and intricate sociological contract. I feel that with those factors at the back of our minds we must accept the view that a minimum age lower than those that are generally accepted in Western democracies would ignore that problem. The figures supplied by the Minister are revealing in that they show that most nations of western Europe accept the minimum age - or near to it - which is prescribed in this bill.
Senator Wedgwood referred to the United Nations committee which has done some work on this question. She very rightly argued that the findings of that committee - the committee found that a minimum age somewhat lower than that prescribed by the present bill should be adopted by the nations - should not be accepted by the nations. I am inclined to agree with her. I am inclined to accept her argument that the United Nations committee which reviewed the minimum age problem did not necessarily, in coming to a decision with respect to minimum age, suggest that that should be a common rule for all nations. Tt left it open to the individual nations to vary that age limit.
Assuming that Senator Wedgwood is wrong and that the United Nations not only laid down a minimum age but also found that that minimum age should be a common rule throughout the nations, we should have another think about the matter. 1 feel that each country should make its own decision. Too many different factors are involved in this vitally important sociological question to suggest that we should accept the findings of a committee of the United Nations as binding upon us. For instance, we would not accept the findings of the United Nations, or of any other body, on ages in relation to education. We believe that each nation should be entitled to prescribe its own upper and lower age limits for education. Australia differs from all other nations, I think, on the ages governing the payment of pensions, and probably we differ from some nations on the adulthood age - the age when a person is deemed to have the capacity to make contracts and is regarded as a fully-fledged citizen. That involves the right to own property and the right to dispose of property. We differ from many countries with respect to the age limits affecting highly important matters of that kind, so surely we are entitled to differ from other countries on the age limits with respect to marriage. 1 think there are good reasons why we should differ from other countries on a question like this. First of all, economic conditions differ from country to country. We cannot compare ourselves with under-developed countries. Religions also differ. Australians, generally speaking, have embraced the Christian religion, which takes an attitude towards marriage totally different from that taken by, say, the Moslem or Hindu religion. Cultures differ from country to country. Culturally, we regard marriage in Australia as something different from the marriage of an Eskimo man to an Eskimo woman. Why? Simply because our culture differs vitally from the culture of the Eskimo. For these reasons, 1 suggest that it would be rather foolish for any nation to accept the proposition that a certain minimum age should be a common rule for all nations, irrespective of development, culture and social or economic conditions, and irrespective, of course, of colour, which is a supremely important factor in matters such as this. Therefore, with great respect, I feel that we can differ, without having any qualms, from the recommendations of the United Nations committee. We alone, as a nation, have the obligation to determine such a highly important matter as the minimum age for marriage.
I turn briefly to some other aspects of the bill, to which I shall refer in committee. Clause 31 gives a registrar power to refuse an application by a minister oi religion for registration as a marriage celebrant. In other words, if a duly qualified and ordained minister of a church in Australia applies - every one has to apply - to the Registrar of Marriages for a certificate entitling him to conduct marriages, the registrar may refuse that application if, in the opinion of the registrar, there are already registered sufficient ministers of religion of that denomination in the locality where the applicant resides. That is, briefly, the main reason why a registrar may refuse an application. In clause 34 provision is made for the intending celebrant to appeal to the Attorney-General, and I shall deal with that in a moment. i want to put this proposition to the Minister: That clause puts into the hands of an official the right to decide who shall be permitted to celebrate marriages, lt may disqualify certain ministers of religion from conducting marriage services, and for the rather peculiar reason that already there are sufficient ministers of the denomination concerned in the area for that purpose. With great respect to the Attorney-General, I do not think that that should be the governing factor in registering marriage celebrants. I think that a young man and a young woman, or, for that matter, an old man and an old woman, should have the right to go to their own minister and say to him, “ We want you to marry us. We have known you all our lives. You are our minister. We want you, and no one else, to conduct this service.” I think that is the proper attitude in the performance of this most important rite. On that aspect I reject the basis upon which this bill is framed. The number of ministers available should have nothing to do with the right of a minister of religion to perform marriages. I think it is unfortunate that such a provision is in the bill, and I suggest to the Attorney-General that he alter the provision. I shall have something further to say on that matter at the committee stage, but I direct the attention of the Minister to it now. I am sorry that he does not see fit to attend the chamber when we are discussing these things but I suppose that he has other duties. No doubt these matters will be brought to his notice by the very able Minister who is taking his place.
I tura now to clause 46, which is a key provision. Amongst other things, it obliges an, authorized celebrant - what 1 might- call a secular celebrant, as distinct from a minister of religion - to say certain things to the intending parties to the marriage. The first words which he is required to use are to the effect that he is duly authorized by law to solemnize marriages according to law. Then he is obliged, very briefly and very properly, to explain the nature of marriage to the intending parties. I suggest to the Minister that not only should the celebrant state that he is authorized by law to perform marriages but also that he should produce his authority to the intending parties.
I have had brought to my notice cases in which people who have had’ no authority to perform marriages have in fact performed them, merely having stated that they are authorized to perform marriages, and have misrepresented the situation to the intending parties. I am aware, of course, that under this proposed law that will not necessarily - 1 emphasize the word “ necessarily “ - invalidate the marriage. But I do not think that is quite the point. I believe that people like to be married before a person who has authority. It is most desirable that, where an authorized celebrant is not a minister of religion, he not only should tell the parties that he is authorized but also should produce his certificate of registration to show that he is in fact qualified and authorized to celebrate marriages. That would reduce the possibility of unfortunate consequences where persons celebrate marriages without authority, either inadvertently or with duplicity.
– They would not know necessarily that a minister of religion was authorized.
– I am not necessarily saying that a minister of religion should not do the same. In fact, I should think it would be logical for a minister to be required to do the same.
– I was merely following through your first argument.
– Yes, I believe we should oblige a minister to do the same, although generally speaking ministers of religion do not misinform their clients.
– But a minister may not be on the list.
– No, he may not be on the list, and he may not realize that he has to have his name placed on the list, which is perhaps more important. Up to the present time, every minister of religion in Western Australia has had the right to perform marriages. If this requirement or obligation is not brought to the notice of every minister of religion - that is not as easy as it sounds - a minister may perform marriages without authority.
– In Queensland ministers have to register.
– They have to register in Western Australia, too, but there is no provision in the Western Australian law such as there is in this bill which entitles the registrar to refuse a minister of religion registration. I think our law in Western Australia presupposes that all properly ordained ministers of religion have the right to administer the marriage rite.
Bound up with this problem of making certain that the intending parties know that a celebrant has authority to perform a marriage is the penal clause relating to unauthorized celebrations by persons who are not registered. Honorable senators will notice that clause 101 provides that it is an offence to solemnize a marriage unless the person concerned “ is authorized by or under this Act to solemnize marriages at that place “. The maximum penalty provided is a fine of £250 or imprisonment for six months. I suggest that that is quite inadequate as a penalty. It may be appropriate where a person honestly believes that he is authorized to perform a marriage. In that case there would be no guilty intent. But there are on record cases in which a person, in conspiracy with one of the parties to the marriage, has held himself out to be a proper celebrant when in fact he has not been and has taken part in a bigamous marriage, with unfortunate consequences to the innocent party to the marriage. There is an element of fraud in such an offence which is analagous to the offence of bigamy itself and in relation to which the maximum penalty provided is imprisonment for five years.
A man who deliberately and fraudulently holds himself out to be a celebrant of marriages for the purpose of bigamously marrying some unfortunate innocent person should be treated almost as though he were a party to the bigamous marriage, because he is guilty of a conspiracy. Although I admit that in law he could be charged with conspiracy and punished, the real offence is taking part in a marriage which he had no business to perform. 1 believe that the penalty provided is altogether too frivolous for such a circumstance. I suggest to the Minister that the penalty should be increased to something like the penalty that is applicable to persons who are directly concerned in a bigamous marriage. 1 again turn to clause 46 for another purpose. That clause obliges the celebrant to state in the English language that he is duly authorized to solemnize marriages and also, as I said earlier, to inform the parties, again in the English language, that there are certain legal and moral obligations associated with this highly complex contract of marriage. The bill does not provide for what shall happen if the intending parties to the marriage are completely deaf. Such persons cannot hear the celebrant making those statements. In most marriage laws there is a provision as to what shall happen where the parties are deaf.
– What about having a simple document presented to them?
– Well, it would be quite simple to amend the bill to provide that instead of having the celebrant speak the words, the parties should be required to read them. I suggest that the Minister should amend the bill in this respect. Perhaps the difficulty could be overcome by the making of a regulation, but that is not the point. When all is said and done, deaf people do not want to be treated differently from anybody else. Whilst, as I said, the difficulty could be overcome by passing a regulation, I believe that these people are entitled to be treated as human beings and that proper provision for this circumstance should be made in the bill.
The Senate will note that clause 45 provides that the parties to the marriage shall recite the all-important contractual words in which each of them accepts the other to be his or her spouse. I suggest that provision should be made in the bill for persons who are dumb. The difficulty could be overcome by passing a regulation to oblige them to write the words in their own language or in the English language, as the case may be. But again, I believe it would be more appropriate to recognize that people who cannot speak and who want to become married should be cared for in the bill and that it should not be done by way of regulation.
– Most of them speak on their hands.
– Yes, but the bill provides that the parties must say the words set out in clause 45, or words to that effect, in the presence of witnesses. “ Saying “ means speaking in the English language. It does not mean speaking on the hands. Nobody knows what that means. At least, I do not. I think the bill should contain a provision along the lines that I have suggested. We get into complicated situations when we consider the position of deaf-mutes, who, after all, want to marry as everybody else does. They can neither hear nor speak. Many of them do not communicate in the English language at all, although some of them do. Many of them have a language of their own. In all decency I think the bill should provide a marriage ceremony for such unforfortunates. The bill should1 provide for communication of the vow and other elements of the marriage that are normally spoken. That could be done by providing that the words of the marriage ceremony may be communicated instead of spoken. A suggested amendment would be that the celebrant shall “ communicate to or say, as the case may be, the following words . . . “.
I turn now to clause 112 of the bill. Many people in this country to-day cannot speak or understand a word of English. Since the war about 1,000,000 immigrants have come here. Roughly 50 per cent, of those people are other than British and a very substantial number of that 50 per cent, can neither read1, write nor speak the English language. Very properly, clause 112 provides for an interpreter to be present at a marriage ceremony, but I invite the attention of the Senate to one element of that clause. As at present drafted the clause is very vague. Briefly, it provides that the celebrant, if he deems it desirable - I think that is proper - may - I emphasize the word “ may “ - employ the services of an interpreter. That gives the discretion exclusively to the celebrant. I suggest that the word should be not “may” but “ shall “. I have seen many marriages celebrated. I cast no reflection on the vast majority of people who solemnize marriages, but there are some celebrants - some officials particularly - who treat the solemnization of marriage as just another routine job. I am certain that some officials would not take the trouble to ascertain whether the parties really understand the English language and would not go to the trouble of engaging an interpreter. It would be a simple matter to make it obligatory for the authorized celebrant to obtain a proper interpreter. The interpreter could be anybody. Interpreters are widely used in courts and it is surprising how easy it is to make mistakes.
– Does the bill make the use of an interpreter optional?
– The use of an interpreter is completely at the discretion of the celebrant. The authorized celebrant is not obliged to employ a properly qualified interpreter - an interpreter’s qualifications are another matter of importance. The Minister should amend the bill, not only to make it a punishable offence not to employ an interpreter in these circumstances but also for failure to employ a properly qualified interpreter.
– They are very rare. It may be difficult to get a properly qualified interpreter.
– That would add weight to my argument. Difficulties may be entailed, but I think that a qualified interpreter should be obtained in these circumstances. I agree that such people are rare, b”t is that not another reason why the authorized celebrant should be obliged to employ a proper interpreter?
I have time only for one further comment, but it is an important comment. I invite the attention of the Senate to clause 91, which relates to void marriages and the issue of void marriages. Very properly the bill legitimizes the offspring of void marriages. A void marriage is, of course, a marriage that does not exist and it is most humane and desirable in all respects to regard the issue of such marriages as legitimate. There is nothing new in this principle. In fact, it is centuries old. The courts have always leaned over backwards to assist the principles of the common law in legitimizing the offspring of void marriages. 1 am referring not to marriages that are dissolved but to marriages that have not been marriages at all, although one or both parties to such a marriage believe that a firm marriage subsists. Sub-clause (2.) of clause 91 contains a proviso in relation to the issue of people who have come to this country from overseas. That proviso applies to people from overseas - new Australians - who have arrived in this country with children only to discover to their complete surprise that their marriage does not exist. That kind of thing can happen and undoubtedly it has happened to people from European countries who were married during the turmoil of the post-war years. The children of people who have, arrived in Australia only to find to their consternation that their marriage is void are illegitimate unless one of the parents was domiciled in Australia at the time of the birth of the child. If one of the parents was permanently resident in Australia at the time of the birth of the child, that child is legitimate under this bill. But if neither parent was domiciled in Australia at the time of the birth of the child, that child will remain illegitimate for life. That is unfortunate. The Attorney-General has actually linked the legitimation procedure to the domicile of the parents at the time of the birth of the child. I do not intend to argue the legal problems associated with this matter at the moment.
In clause 90 honorable senators will find that legitimation is not linked with the domicile of the parents at the time of the birth of the child. In that provision, which I suggest is similar in principle, legitimation is linked with domicile subsequent to the marriage or the birth of the child, as the case may be. I do not see any reason why the same principle should not prevail in clause 91. For example, let us suppose that two new Australians came to Australia with a child - they would be excluded from the benefits of the bill by clause 91 (2.) - and then the marriage was declared void. T cannot see why the subsequent domicile could not be the legal link permitting legitimation to follow the declaration that the marriage was void.
– What machinery exists to establish that the marriage was void?
– The courts of law. The honorable senator has raised a very important question. Two parties, who are before the court under our divorce laws when one of them is seeking a dissolution of their marriage under those laws, cannot be divorced if the marriage is discovered to be void. The judge will say, in effect: “ No, 1 will not divorce you. You have no marriage to dissolve. But T will declare the marriage void.” That means that the marriage has never existed from the start. Whereas a dissolution of marriage is a dissolution as at the time of the court’s decree, a declaration that a marriage is void goes right back to the time when the marriage was thought to have been performed.
Although not very many cases in which new Australian people have issue prior to arriving in Australia and subsequently take up an Australian domicile may be known, there will be such cases. I believe that even if there are only one or two such cases, a very small amendment should be made to provide for them. T suggest that there is nothing more unfortunate than the position of the issue of a void marriage which for many years has been regarded as a good marriage. Then the child is deemed illegitimate because the unfortunate parents were not properly married according to law. In my view, that is the most pathetic of al! circumstances in regard to legitimation. ] commend my comments to honorable senators because I believe that the bill could be amended. I understand that the Minister is giving consideration to this matter and I will be most interested to hear his reply to my submission. Certain legal problems are associated with it. but I will not bore honorable senators with them at the moment.
I have brought these matters to the notice of the Senate because this is an important measure. It goes to the very root and foundation of our social and national structure. Without good laws relating to marriage Australia as a nation will suffer. In my opinion the bill is a good one. In general terms, the provision of a uniform marriage law is highly commendable. I congratulate the Attorney-General on the considerable volume of work that he and his advisers have done in connexion with this bill. It is a tremendous undertaking. I think that it is an even more complicated measure than the Matrimonial Causes Bill.
– Are you going to move the amendments you have discussed?
– Not necessarily. I want to hear the Minister’s reply first. Action should not be taken on these matters precipitately; they should be discussed. 1 invite the Minister to discuss them with me frankly and fully during the second-reading and committee stages. I very heartily support the motion for the second reading for the bill.
.- The Senate is indebted to the Minister in charge of the bill, Senator Gorton, the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna), Senator Wedgwood and Senator Vincent for the thoughtful contributions they have made to this debate. Senator Vincent has shown that he has made, a close study of the measure. He has made a number of thoughtful and careful comments calculated to improve the effect of the measure when it ultimately becomes law. I should like to join with him in congratulating the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) on bringing this uniform marriage bill before the Commonwealth Parliament. In my view it is perhaps one of the most important measures - although not one of the most controversial - ever to be debated by this Parliament, because it represents 57 pages of close application to the institution which is the corner-stone of Western society and Western civilization, as we know it.
All parties in the chamber have wisely made this measure the subject of a free vote and a conscience vote so that each and every clause in the bill may be investigated with complete and impartial thoroughness. I was one who did not hesitate to criticize the Attorney-General about a year ago when the Matrimonial Causes Bill was before this chamber. I feel that I must go out of my way to congratulate him upon the reverse face of the coin which is now shown to the Parliament. This measure must represent many, many hours of careful and diligent application to study and to the problems of the fundamental institution of our society. When this bill ultimately becomes law, as I believe it will, the statute-book of Australia will be considerably improved by its presence. In saying that, I do not mean to say that the measure is perfect. I foreshadow a small amendment to provide a definition of marriage. I understand that that amendment has already been circulated. I propose to say a little more about it at the committee stage.
– You will deal with it in committee, will you?
– I think that is the appropriate, place to discuss it at length. Without going into the legal arguments on why a definition of marriage should be included in the proper place, at this stage I say that the interpretation clause, which is so important, is completely devoid of an interpretation of marriage. The legislature - I do not mean the common law or the courts of law - is dependent upon the hearsay references in clause 46, under which the registrar tells the intending parties that according to the law of Australia marriage is the voluntary union of one man with one woman for life.
– Is it not sufficiently defined by the common law?
– If we adopt that attitude we need not pass any statutes at all. Many of the matters that are already covered by statute are probably covered by decisions of the law courts, but those decisions are subject to change. A higher court can overrule other courts in many instances and the Privy Council is not bound by its own decisions. I do not propose to go into this matter now at length, but I think it is extremely desirable that we put in legislative form what we in the Commonwealth of Australia believe comprises a marriage.
– Have you noticed that you have not used the word “ voluntary “ in your amendment?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Anderson). - I suggest that you do not go into the amendment in detail at the second-reading stage.
– I shall deal with that later, but I think that the word “ contracted “ covers the position. I come now to ‘the other aspects of the bill, which covers the whole gamut of marriage as we know it, with the exception of the definition to which I have referred. The provision that the marriageable age for the male ‘shall be eighteen years and for the female sixteen years is reasonable. The opinion of -most social workers is, I think, that marriage at such young ages is undesirable, but that if we do fix a minimum age below which marriage is void, the ages which the AttorneyGeneral has suggested in the legislation are sound and reasonable. I approve also of the provision for application to a judge to obviate hardship in special cases. In particular, I think I must agree with the wording used by Senator Gorton when discussing this question. He said -
Honorable senators will understand that I do not propose to go again into this point at any length. I should, however, point out that the possibility of a valid marriage by people under marriageable age affords a reason for, if indeed it does not encourage, pressure being brought to bear on young people to marry for the sole purpose of legitimating the expected child.
Senator Gorton then went on to say ;
Social workers seem now to agree that “ forced “ marriages rarely last and that ic is really not in the interests of the child or its parents to marry for the sole purpose of legitimating it. In the result, the child may be born illegitimate; but if this bill is passed in its entirety, ‘the provisions in Part VI. relating to legitimation will permit the legitimation of the child by the marriage of its parents. . . .
The legitimation provisions are, I think, sufficient to cope with most cases of that nature. I think it is true “that shotgun weddings are founded on a most explosive base and, as the Minister himself pointed out, are very rarely of an enduring nature. To marry simply for the purpose of legitimating an expected child is simply to put two wrongs where only one wrong existed before, because the couple are then compulsorily tied to one another without any of the bonds with which a normal couple enter into matrimony. Goodness knows, there are plenty of difficulties in married life at -the best of times and to start a marriage with that type of handicap is surely to invite disaster.
The bill goes on to provide a full code covering the solemnization of marriages in Australia and the keeping of a Commonwealth register. I was a little intrigued by clause 33 (1) (b) providing for the removal from the register of the name of a celebrant who has died. I thought that that probably would happen anyhow, but it is to be put in legislative form. The bill, wisely in my view, does not interfere in any way with religious ceremonies. It must be borne in mind that, despite the cynics, approximately 87 per cent, of marriages in Australia still take place in church or with a religious background. In being entirely unbiased and fair in these matters, we must be very careful that in not providing a pro-religious bias we do not, under the guise of neutralism - call it what you will - provide an anti-religious bias .to legislation. I would regard that as a tragedy.
Even in relation to the 13 per cent, of marriages that take place before a registrar, an attempt is to be made to impress upon the contracting parties something of the seriousness of the relationship into which they are about to enter. The registrar, or the officer authorized to celebrate a marriage, shall use the words specified in clause 46, or words to a like effect. He will announce that he is duly authorized by law to solemnize marriages. Before going on with the act, >he will give the young couple - or the old couple, ;as Senator Vincent put :it - ;a warning, before they are joined in marriage in his .presence and in the presence of witnesses, of the solemn and binding .nature of ;the .relationship into which they are about to enter. That will do something to ensure that the relationship is not entered into on the spur of the moment. The celebrant will then be charged with the duty of saying words to this effect -
Marriage, according to the law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. 1 .do not think it is too much to say that that is commonly accepted by all Australians as what marriage really is. That is in substance the wording which, as 1 said earlier, I shall be asking the Government to transpose and put in the definition clauses of the legislation.
It is a pity, perhaps, that sub-clause (2.) rather weakens that provision. It states -
Where, in the case of a person authorized under sub-section (2.) of section thirty-nine of this Act to solemnize marriages, the Attorney-General is satisfied that .the form of ceremony to be used by that person sufficiently states the nature and obligations of marriage, he may, either by the instrument by which that person is so authorized or by a subsequent instrument, exempt him from compliance with the last preceding sub-section.
That leaves the matter, rather unnecessarily, to the discretion of the Attorney-General for the time being. The bill would prob ably have been better, in my view, without that sub-clause, but it is not a matter upon which I feel sufficiently strongly to take any action.
The bill goes on to deal separately, along similar lines, with overseas marriages, marriages conducted in Australian embassies and the like, and marriages which are celebrated by chaplains in the Forces. Clause 83 (2.) embodies a validating provision to cover the case where the celebrant was not legally entitled to solemnize the marriage if it was the intention of each of the parties to become lawfully wedded. The use of the expression “ to become lawfully wedded “ underlines, to my way of thinking, the need for putting into the bill a definition of what marriage is, because when the bill becomes an act there will be occasions when it is desirable to tie it down to some firm and positive legal definition, provided by the Parliament and not by the courts of law.
The legitimation provisions of the bill strike me as being a charitable attempt to take away from the children any stigma that they may, perhaps, carry socially or in the inheritance of property as a result of the activities of their parents. The bill provides for legitimation, by the subsequent marriage of the parents in Australia, of the children previously born. I do not think many .people could cavil at this, provided that it is not seen - I do not think that it can reasonably be seen - to be an incentive to the shotgun type of wedding to which I referred earlier.
One aspect of the legitimation provisions, however, shows the extent to which section 28 of the Matrimonial Causes Act has eroded our moral conscience. Under the bill before the Senate, it will be open to a man to produce three or four lines of legitimate children, all of them conceived out of wedlock, assuming a shotgun wedding, followed by the taking of a mistress, invocation of section 28 (m) of the Matrimonial Causes Act, marriage with the former mistress, re-invocation of the section, and so on, as long as biologically possible. If I were not prevented from doing so by the Standing Orders, Mr. President, I would here and now move on those grounds alone that the :provisions of section 28 (m) of the ‘Matrimonial Causes Act be repealed; but that course is not open to ‘me.
Clause 94 (1 .) provides for the offence of bigamy, for which the penalty listed is imprisonment for five years. Here again, although 1 do not want to be continuously coming back to the point, I feel that if we are to have the criminal offence of bigamy provided for in the bill, surely it is not asking too much that the legislature should include a definition of the act which may not be committed twice. Clause 94 (5.) provides that it shall not be an offence against the section for a person to go through a form or ceremony of marriage with that person’s own spouse. Doubtless the Minister in charge of the bill will explain the reason for that provision. It is possible, of course, that it is connected with clause 113. Unless the provision is intended to refer to that clause, under which there may be a form or ceremony of marriage to remove any doubts as to the validity of an earlier marriage, I find it a little difficult to understand.
– I am wondering whether it would not provide a defence to a charge of bigamy.
– I do not know what it means. The honorable senator’s suggestion may well be correct.
– If Senator Hannan does not mind the interruption, suppose that a man took a second woman and said that the second ceremony was not a marriage within the definition, because he had not taken one woman for life to the exclusion of all others.
– He would not then be contracting a second marriage.
– But would that give him a defence to the charge that he had contracted a bigamous marriage?
– It would not have been a marriage. All that he would have done would have been to take a mistress. He would simply have been consorting with the lass without the association being hallowed by either Church or State. However, if the honorable senator will pardon me, I should prefer to discuss the matter with him at a later date.
Clause 95 prescribes a penalty of imprisonment for five years in the case of a person who goes through a form or ceremony of marriage with some one who is not of marriageable age. It certainly is desirable that people under a proper age should be prevented from marrying, but the penalty seems fairly severe to impose on, say, a girl under the age of 16 years for an offence other than murder or something akin to it. Clause 96 deals with the importance of making a truthful and proper declaration in regard to the marriage ceremony. A breach of the provision carries a penalty of £500 or imprisonment for up to four years. I think it right and proper that breaches of that kind should be deal with fairly severely. In the reign of King Henry VIII., who had a fair experience of marriage, or of something that he said was marriage, which he entered into on a number of occasions, the offence of making a false declaration in a marriage register was punishable by death. So, we have trimmed the penalty a little since the days of the much-married monarch.
Clause 120, the final clause of the bill, confers power on the Minister to make regulations not inconsistent with the act. I notice that the forms to be used in the ceremonies will be prescribed by way of regulation. Those forms are of considerable interest and importance in my view. I shall look forward to seeing them when they are placed on the table of the Senate.
Adverting for a little while to generalities, I agree with Senator Wedgwood that this legislation has come to us in the wrong sequence. I think that we should first have had a marriage act and then a divorce act, rather than to put the cart before the horse as we have in this matter. Marriage legislation should certainly precede divorce legislation, if only for the logical reason that if you are going to dissolve something you ought at least to have a definition of what you are dissolving. In the same way, I believe that the bill before us would benefit from a transfer of the marriage guidance provisions of the Matrimonial Causes Act. I know that a large number of consequential and sectional amendments would be necessary, but I think that the marriage guidance provisions are excellent and should be included. They represent a thoughtful and careful attempt to preserve the stability of marriage in this community. I am of the opinion, however, that they labour under the psychological disadvantage that they are rarely applied until the parties concerned are contemplating divorce action, which is based in the Supreme Court. It has been my experience - I do not know whether my brother lawyers agree with me - that when parties who are in matrimonial difficulties get into the Supreme Court, the likelihood of a reconciliation is far less than it would be if they had been brought together at an earlier stage, perhaps even in petty sessions proceedings or by some other method which did not necessarily envisage, at the end of the road, the dissolution of marriage. lt is mentally bad for parties who are under a matrimonial cloud to find that the remedies which are being applied to their troubles, that the assistance which is being made available to them, and that the advice and counsel which they seek, are to be provided under the divorce legislation. It is pretty much like saying to the National Fitness Council, “ We will make funds available to you under the sanitation legislation “. It is bad psychologically, and for that reason if the work entailed could be mastered by the department I should like to see the Government take the necessary action to incorporate these beneficial provisions of the Marriage Bill in the divorce legislation.
– Do you suggest that there should be included in the Matrimonial Causes Act the clause in this measure dealing with void and voidable marriages, degrees of affinity and consanguinity?
– I have not considered that question very carefully but I concede that you may have a point there. Since this matter is being approached on a completely non-party basis, I think that some form of inquiry by the Government in that regard might produce improved legislation. I do not think we can overlook the fact - Senator McKenna referred to this point - that to most Australians - 87 per cent, of them - marriage has a religious and sacramental significance with which no purely legislative power may tamper, and the statistics show-
– But may assist, do you suggest?
– Oh, yes. I would put it this way: The more that marriage is regarded as a sacrament the better it is for the parties and the nation because statistics give such marriages a better chance of enduring than those that are regarded only as civil contracts. In this respect, 1 am indebted to Professor Elkin, a noted Presbyterian minister who has become a student of social conditions and is now one of Australia’s leading demographers. Professor Elkin says that in 1955 in New South Wales - I have not the figures for the whole of Australia - although civil marriages accounted for only 11.3 per cent, of the total they provided 17 per cent, of the divorces. This fact indicates, as the professor points out, that if marriage is regarded purely as a contract it has less chance of lasting than if it is regarded as having religious and moral sanction.
– Would you argue from that that the 17 per cent, of the people who married with a civil ceremony would have been less prone to divorce if they had in fact been married in a church?
– That I cannot say, but I can say that the 87 per cent, who did marry with a religious ceremony have provided considerably less than 87 per cent, of the nation’s divorces.
– Would you suggest that if the 87 per cent, of people who married with a religious ceremony had instead married with a civil ceremony they would have furnished a larger proportion of divorces than they did?
– I would1 take that line for this reason: They would not have been married in a civil ceremony because their beliefs are of such a nature that they require a religious ceremony.
– That is not quite my point.
– I think I have gone into that matter for long enough at the moment. T shall come back to it if I have time. I should like now to deal with one of the contributors to Professor Elkin’s volume, “ Marriage and the Family in Australia. I refer to Morven Brown, who discusses Australian female life and marriage at the time of the first settlement. I should like to read verbatim a passage from Morven Brown’s contribution. He stated at page 86 of the volume -
It can hardly be denied that Australian family life got off to an extraordinarily bad start. The majority of women in the colony in the first two decades were convicts, who by all accounts were mostly only too ready for promiscuous sexual relationships. An official proclamation of 1800 calls them “ a disgrace to their sex “, “ far worse than men “ and “ generally found at the bottom of every infamous transaction that is committed in the colony “. In 1810 Macquarie reprobated “ the scandalous and pernicious custom, so generally and shamelessly adopted throughout this country, of persons of different sex cohabiting and living together unsanctioned by the legal ties of matrimony “. At this time it was estimated that two-thirds of the children in the colony were illegitimate.
That, unfortunately, was the social climate that existed in Australia at the time of its foundation. I think it speaks volumes for the solid British virtues of succeeding settlers that the picture that obtains in the middle of the twentieth century is so different from that at the close of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century.
In 1837, there was in. England a select committee on the question of transportation. One of the witnesses before the committee was one, James Mudie, who was a magistrate in the colony of New South Wales. It became relative to the committee’s inquiry that Mudie was asked questions on the conduct and character of the female inhabitants of the colony. Bearing in mind that the vast majority of these unfortunate women were convicts and were probably brought here against their will-
– What about the males?
– I shall come to that later. I do not suggest for a moment that the conduct of the males in the colony was anything of which St. Francis would have been, proud.
– If the honorable senator criticizes the conduct of the males in the colony, he should produce proof of his assertion!
– Let me return to the magistrate I have mentioned. In giving evidence before the select committee on transportation, Mudie said -
I should say, of almost the whole of the convict women that arrive in New South Wales, that there is hardly an exception amongst them; there are some sent out for bigamy that have been in better society; but others that have attended the theatres, and the lowest girls possible that have been streetwalkers, all sorts; but they all smoke, drink, and in fact to speak in plain language, I consider them all prostitutes.
That was the position as late as 1837, and it could hardly be said to be a promising seed bed for solid family virtues in the middle of the twentieth century. Charles Darwin, the scientist, and a number of other, prominent men visited, the convict colony, and were depressed by its shocking morality. The select committee we:..t on to take some evidence on the manner in which some, of the few marriages in the colony took place. Honorable senators can perhaps form this: picture: The officers of the New South Wales Corps and the government officials who brought their wives and daughters to the. colony were relatively few. The vast majority of the other women in the colony were brought here against their will. This is what is said in describing some, of the marriages that took place -
The Select Committee heard evidence regarding the choosing of wives by convicts and free settlers from the women of the Parramatta convict “ factory “. At these extraordinary marriage marts the women were lined up by the overseer of the factory:
The convict goes up and looks at the women, and if he sees a lady that takes his fancy, he makes a motion to her, and she steps to one side. . . . They then have some conversation together and if the lady is not agreeable, or if the convict does not fancy her from her conversation, she steps back, and the same ceremony goes on with two or three more. . . But if he finds one to please him, they get married, and on returning to his master’s estate, he knocks up a hut for himself and his wife, and they live together, when he is not at work: the master allows generally what is called halfration for the wife, in addition to the man’s ration.
I think it will be of interest to our lady senators for me to point out that even in those early days when there were primitive types of colonial marriages, a wife was expected to act as housekeeper and not to go out to work.
– That is one of the difficulties we face in the middle of the 20th century.
– Mr. President, I have painted the picture as black as possible so that we may derive pleasure at the vast change in the view of the community in relation to marriage. As the years rolled by additional free settlers came to the colony, and the gold rushes occurred. The transportation of convicts ceased, and ordinary solid mid-Victorian British persons came to the colony. In a sense, we then moved to the other extreme. At the founding of the colony the women were completely profligate, but towards the middle of the 19th century the arrival of solid, respectable women from the home country - who were still very much fewer in number than the males - resulted in womankind being placed upon a pedestal in Australia in a manner which did not happen in any other country. I think I will be able to prove that before I finish my remarks.
Attempts were made to better the lot of the convicts who came here, particularly the female convicts. Australia to-day owes a great debt to that courageous woman, Caroline Chisholm, who devoted her entire life to looking after the welfare of the women in the colony - women who came out in the convict ships and those who came as semi-voluntary immigrants to take employment. I think the name of Caroline Chisholm will always be remembered with reverence and respect by those people in Australia who appreciate the work which she did for the women who came to the colony in the early days.
I think that the factors influencing the Australian attitude towards marriage - I am moving on from the time of the foundation of the colony - can be summed up under two heads. The first is the economic factor. Australians were hit very slowly by the effects of the industrial revolution in England. It took a long while for the effects to reach the colony, and Australians remained a predominantly pastoral and agricultural community, with all that that implies in the way of home life. The second factor was the continued shortage of women throughout the whole of Australia. This had the effect, according to the demographers at all events, of making marital relationships more permanent than they might otherwise have been. Not to put too fine a point upon it, a single woman in the colony was able to pick and choose her husband and insist firmly upon marital rights and such property rights as were available to married women in the middle of the 19th century.
– There were very few.
– I concede to Senator Robertson that the position is a lot better now, but at all events the pioneer women in the middle of the 19th century were in quite a good position. People who set up a home and rear a family in pastoral and agricultural communities have both the ability for, and a strong proclivity to, self-sufficiency in their domestic relations. For many years most of our industry was carried on in primary industries in the country, and it was not until the beginning of this century that a very strong drift towards the cities began. The self-sufficiency which had been inculcated in pastoral workers whilst in the country was brought with them to the big towns and cities. It was still the ambition, the aim and the frequently achieved objective of people who had formerly been pastoral workers, and of the working community generally, to set up their own independent homes. As Morven Brown puts it, cohesive family life flourished in the city and there was a uniform approach to the question of marriage and family relationships throughout Australia.
In order to show the advantageous position of womenfolk in the 19th century perhaps I should quote the disparity between numbers of males and females. In the age group between 25 and 35, in 1861 there were 156 men for every 100 women, and in 1871, 135 men for every 100 women. In 1891 the ratio was the same as in 1871. I have not seen the statistics for 1960 but I understand that at the moment there is a slight over-balance of males.
The historian C. E. W. Bean expressed the tender solicitude of the pioneers for their womenfolk when they went into the trackless wastes in order to set up their homes. He said -
If devotion amounting to worship, shown in little thoughtful actions, in little thoughtful attentions, in tender consideration in small things and large, can help a woman overcome her difficulties and troubles, that attention every man will lay at her feet.
– I carry on like that now.
– I am very glad to hear the honorable senator say that. I am sure that contentment and bliss are mirrored in his countenance.
The womanless communities of the Australian bush set very high store upon womenfolk, as the historian shows. It was not only the American Marines who held the view that there is nothing like a dame. The bush women in Australia were held in tremendous respect and properly idolized. I think it was the Australian poetess
Dorothea Mackellar who immortalized them when she wrote -
Fur love they faced the wilderness, the women of the west.
The men took that attitude and they placed the women, as I said earlier in my remarks, on a pedestal - on a plane to which women were never exalted at any other time or in any other place. Men looked to marriage to provide comfort, companionship and children rather than to satisfy a romantic or erotic spirit. Oddly enough, the scientists tell us, the men of the 19th century in Australia were a little shy and a little ashamed of romantic feelings. They felt that it was a little ungentlemanly to indulge in the romantic and the erotic. They tended very largely to limit their conversation amongst themselves to matters of a strictly masculine character. They frowned on any tendency to allow such women as came to the bush to mix generally in male society.
– Was it not Essex Evans who wrote the lines you quoted?
– It may have been. I stand corrected. I thought it was Dorothea Mackellar.
– Evans came from Queensland.
– I admit that a lot of good comes out of Queensland. I am thankful for the honorable senator’s correction. The men took the view that the biological element in marriage was extremely important, but it was not allowed to swamp the other aspects of it. Morven Brown goes on to say in words which I think are worth repeating -
The wife was seen as a mother figure who would provide one with children and a home environment in which one could settle down and pursue a life of comfortable duty rather than romance or pleasure. The prosaic realism of the relationship did not exclude real affection - often the affection grew with the years and lasted beyond the period when children grew to independence. The conjugal role had come to meet the personality needs of women quite as well as men and it fitted smoothly and readily into the Australian pattern of culture.
I believe that this attitude did a tremendous amount to help marriage relationships in this country recover from their appalling start.
In 1880 the English observer “Twopenny “ went further. He said -
In Australia both husband and wife marry for love - a fact which makes marriage in Australia mostly a very pleasant relationship. . . . She gives up to a large extent the pomp and vanities of which she had her fill during S’pinsterhood and devotes herself to her household, her children and her husband.
In the twentieth century the Australian family, thank God, has, taken as a general whole, remained a strictly cohesive unit. Despite the cynics and the criticism, parental authority in this country is still strong. Father remains a patriarch while the familiar approach to his wife does not conceal the devotion of the offspring. I do not want to break off and to proceed along a side track in relation to the. subject of delinquency, but as a corollary its cause is clear. One-half of the child delinquents in 1959 came from broken homes.
Although the divorce rate has risen alarmingly to more, than 10 per cent, of marriages, it is still true that the vast majority of Australians; will never see the inside of a divorce court. The birth-rate has swung up sharply since the war. Professor Elkin points out that the divorce rate appears to vary in inverse ratio to the birthrate. In other words, the professor adopts the view that, if we can maintain a high birth-rate, that in itself will be a contributing, but naturally not a preclusive factor, in preventing a high divorce rate.
I was particularly impressed by Senator Vincent’s remarks about the freedom that a couple should have in choosing their own minister to officiate at a marriage ceremony. I believe that the very temperate remarks he made on this subject will earn the appreciation of most members of the Senate. I must say that it was a matter which did not occur to me as I read the bill, and I am thankful to the honorable senator for having pointed it out.
Before leaving the subject of marriage in Australia, Mr. Acting Deputy President, I should like to refer to some of the remarks of the gentleman whom I have quoted so extensively and to whose writings I am so much in debt. I shall not quote the entire page, but I point out that at page 213 of his book Professor Elkin says -
That is, in relation to our marriage rate and our divorce rate - afford some grounds for optimism regarding family stability.
He quotes a table provided by one of his contributors, a Mr. Borrie, and continues to make the following point which has some relation to my earlier remarks on the birth rate - . . Ibr the past len years, only from 13 per cent, to 16 per cent, of divorces have been of marriages with an issue of three or more children. Of course, such have as a rule lasted longer than those with less issue. But 62 per cent, to 69 per cent, have occurred in marriages that were either childless- or in which there was only one child; and from 17 per cent, to 22 per cent, in marriages in which there were two children. The responsibility and affection for children tends to prevent the approach to the divorce court being made “ lightly “. Therefore, the present average family size of about 2.6 might - 1 emphasize the word “ might “ - prevent further deterioration in the position, while an increase in the average size, resulting from an appreciable reduction in the number of childless and one-child marriages, would possibly - 1 emphasize the word “ possibly “ - reduce the divorce rate.
He points out also that marriage in genera! is contracted at an earlier age now than was the case 30 years ago, although earlier marriages do not, according to him, provide more children. He says -
In spite then of the problems and difficulties which have beset and still beset marriage and the family in these decades of change, we need not be pessimistic. The majority of parents not only keep their homes together, but also try to meet their responsibilities towards their children. With increasingly adequate social education each -generation will be more successful in this task than the preceding one. Further, we realize that we are no longer in danger of failing to reproduce ourselves, though the proportion of childless marriages is somewhat disturbing.
A larger average family, apart from its possible effect on the divorce rate, might be advantageous and manageable now, though the immigration rate would have to be carefully watched. In the long run, however, it might spell economic difficulty and -ecological confusion.
It is good for us who are considering a measure such as the Marriage Bill, which is wrapped around a positive matter and not a negative one, to see that those who in a scientific way have studied our social problems have reason to be optimistic about our future and about the outcome of our social engineering, if I may use that materialistic expression in regard to a sacred task.
I suggest that a few further remarks in relation to the challenge posed to the family as a cohesive Christian unit by the middle of the twentieth century would not be out of place. Elkin says -
A proportion of large families and of small families will probably always be with us but in the foreseeable future an average of a little above replacement number may be the ideal.
I cannot go along with him on the whole of his problem, but in fairness I -must quote the whole of it. He said -
Some religious qualms may be felt about family limitation, although religious interdicts are more likely to relate to methods. In any case, the small family system is established in Australia and is not as such morally wrong. According to traditional Christian teaching, marriage was instituted not simply for the procreation of children, but also that the children should be brought up in godly ways.
That is a proposition with which it is extremely difficult to argue. Whilst the main purpose of marriage may very well be - I concede that it is - the procreation of children, it would be thoughtless and irresponsible of parents if -they acted in such a way that they did not properly attend to the requirements of their offspring. I have very great difficulty in envisaging the sets of circumstances in which that type of limitation would operate. In my view - I do not want to give offence to anybody here - very often the excuse is put forward by married people that they are unable adequately to provide for, educate, feed and clothe a child when what they really mean is that they are not prepared to accept the discomfort and additional social difficulties that having a child may involve. I know that is not a general attitude but 1 do know that the attitude exists. It is an attitude that deserves something in the way of a raking shot. I feel that we must look on marriage and the establishment of the family as a vocation in life. It is perhaps the most important job that a man and a woman undertake. It is the most important partnership in this world. In his book Professor Elkin states -
According to the traditional admonition, already quoted, marriage “is not by any to be taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly or wantonly”. If we are to see a reduction in divorce and separation, if less and less homes are to be subjected to marital stress, if fewer and fewer children are to be deprived of the nurture of a good home, then those who marry must be prepared for the state of life they enter at marriage and for the role they will henceforth have to play.
– Do you propose to write that into the bill?
– A statement such as that could perhaps fit into the preamble. If Senator Wright moves accordingly I feel that I may be able to support him.
The proposition that I have just enunciated is one against which it is almost impossible to argue. It is admitted on all sides that marriage is the most important relationship into which we enter and yet so very little is done to prepare the contracting parties for this tremendously important undertaking. Anybody wishing to practise law or medicine or wishing to be a nurse or a fitter and turner must undertake a long period of instruction and education during which experience is gained in certain matters under the hand and eye of a master. I realize that such training may be a little difficult in respect of marriage. If we require such training and qualifications of our lawyers, doctors and tradesmen before letting them loose on the community, it is time for far more active and positive steps to be taken to educate our young people for marriage, because after all marriage is a more important vocation than the practice of law or medicine. Professor Elkin states -
This preparation is not simply a matter of sex education at home or in school, or of training in moral sanctions. Rather, as children grow up, the goal of marriage and the family should be held before them in word, and as far as possible in practice, as the fundamental social vocation which none will refuse to undertake except in special circumstances. But no vocation can be entered upon without special training. Nature and society “ call “ male and female to produce and rear children who will constitute society in the next generation and cherish itsculture. The affirmative response to the “ call “ implies responsibility and this in turn requires training for its fulfilment. [Extension of time granted.]
I am indebted to Senator Vincent and to the Senate for the courtesy that they have extended to me. I will endeavour to be brief in rounding off my remarks on this important subject. Professor Elkin continues
Tn other words, if we maintain that the family is the basic and co-ordinating unit of society–
I think it is common ground in all sections of the community that we do - and the context in which personality is developed for good or ill, we should teach our children so and prepare them to perform life’s essential task: a task fraught with difficulty, but rewarded with deep and lasting satisfaction.
I feel that the blueprint for humanity, if I may so call it, which has been outlined by the author is one which receives some substantial impetus from legislation of the type that we are here debating. I have indicated that I support the bill as it stands and will vote for its second reading. In the committee stage I will move for the definition of marriage to be included in the terms of the amendment that I have circulated.
– Who do you suggest should do the training for marriage?
– The question raised by Senator Wright is important and is worthy of the fullest and most comprehensive inquiry. One of the contributors to the compendium to which I have made reference during my remarks is the Reverend W. G. Coughlan, who, I understand, is a marriage guidance counsellor in Sydney - I think he is from the Anglican Communion. If we want to know the type of people who could give guidance of the kind to which I have referred, I think it is worth while referring to the experience of the Reverend Mr. Coughlan, who is a contributor to the book from which I have quoted. In his article he states -
The experience of Australian attitudes and ways of behaviour in courtship, engagement and marriage, which lies behind this chapter, has been gained over twenty years of increasing interest and activity in these fields of human relations. In particular I have had the advantage of access to the files of the Marriage Guidance Council of New South’ Wales, in which are recorded the case histories of nearly 2,000 clients of my colleagues and myself. About 80 per cent, of these were married couples. In addition, it has been possible to learn something of the conclusions reached in similar councils in other States.
A further source of information is the experience gained in group education with all kinds of people of both sexes between the ages of thirteen and fifty years; many hundreds have asked questions and made statements which disclosed attitudes, problems, areas of ignorance, and personality defects.
These personal contacts have helped in interpreting and evaluating the vast flood of printed and pictorial matter which in our day deals in one way or another with man-woman relationships in this country and all over the world.
It is recognized that in such a field generalization on any aspect is risky. Such conclusions -about marriage breakdown as are put forward are tentative and are designed to stimulate inquiry and research.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– When the sitting was suspended, I was just concluding my remarks. In answer to a question asked by Senator Wright I had given some indication of the type of person who himself is well fitted and who represents a class who are. well fitted to administer the type of marriage guidance and marriage counselling which, I think it was pretty universally agreed, is so desirable. I should also like to refer to the splendid work done in this connexion at what are known as the preCana conferences conducted by the Catholic Church in which young engaged couples are addressed by priests, doctors, lawyers and laymen of experience and in which the spiritual, material, economic, biological and all the- other aspects of this very close and sacred relationship are. fully explained to the young couples with the object of preparing them for the road ahead.
In addition to the pre-Cana conferences - which of course draw their name from the biblical incident of the marriage feast at Cana which was attended by Christ - post-Cana conferences are also conducted by the church twelve months after marriage with the object of giving assistance in any problems which may have arisen in the first year of marriage. I have taken the time of the Senate for a considerably longer period than I originally intended. I thank the Senate for its indulgence in giving me an extension of time. I repeat my original statement that I regard this bill as an excellent bill, one which will grace the statute-book of the Commonwealth. If one or two minor amendments happen to be made to it in committee, in my opinion the bill will be even better.
– in reply - This bill, which in general has received the approbation of both sides of the Senate, in essence is clearly a committee bill and not one calling for great debate at the second-reading stage. I wish to reply to some points which were raised by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) in his speech on this bill, which is the subject of a free vote, and then to apologize to the honorable senators who spoke this afternoon when, through circumstances over which I had no control, I was unable to be present. I will have to leave the points they raised to be answered at the committee stage.
The first point raised by Senator McKenna was that there might be some doubt about whether this bill,, in its provisions for legitimizing children, was a bill which came properly within the power of the Commonwealth because the Constitution refers to the Commonwealth power over marriage and not specifically power over the legitimation of children, whereas in matrimonial causes children are specifically mentioned. Senator McKenna suggested that there might be some doubt about that point and that complementary State legislation might be necessary in order to provide for the children of marriages as distinct from the marriages themselves. However, I am informed that the legitimacy of children and the property rights and other matters which flow from such legitimacy are quite indissolubly bound up with marriage and that a power over marriage must provide a power over the conditions under which children are legitimized. It has been put to me that if any other condition prevailed it would be possible for the Commonwealth, exercising the power over marriage conferred on it by the Constitution, to say what was a valid marriage in Australia and yet for a State to be able to decide that the children of that marriage were not legitimate. That would be the position unless the legitimacy of children is indissolubly bound up with marriage. So, no complementary legislation is regarded as being necessary.
The next point raised by Senator McKenna was whether aborigines were bound by the provisions of this bill. He suggested that aborigines living in tribal conditions in the northern areas of Australia might go through a form or ceremony of marriage according to their beliefs and might live in a polygamous state and so might be subject to the penalties provided in this bill for offences against the marriage laws. He suggested that they might be liable if they had more than one wife or if they married at ages younger than those set out in the bill, and the officators at such unions - if there, are officiators at such unions - might also be liable to the penalties set out in the bill. However, I am informed that the position of the aborigines in regard to this legislation is that their tribal marriages are not regarded as valid marriages in Australia and that tribal marriages, if entered into, could not attract the penalties for violation which are provided under this bill if the marriages were not carried out according to the provisions of the bill. I know that for some time the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) considered the possibility of making some regulations or laws which would bind the aborigines living in tribal conditions, but it was found to be too complicated and too difficult to do so. There was too much variation between tribe and tribe and too much custom. It was considered better to leave such tribal aborigines to conduct their affairs as they have done. When they become detribalized and join the community and enter into marriage under the provisions of the bill, then and only then will they become subject to any penalties and be participants in valid marriages.
So, the problem has not been ignored. The solution has been to allow the tribalized aborigines to follow their own tribal customs as they do now and not to beset them with the pains and penalties of the bill, whilst at the same time affording them the opportunity, if they wish to take it, to enter marriage according to the provisions of the bill. That seemed to be the best, indeed the only solution. The bill treats the detribalized aboriginal living in our community as one of us, while leaving the tribalized natives progressively to enter our community. It does not alter the law as it applies at present in Queensland, South Australia or the Northern Territory. Those were the two major points that were raised by Senator McKenna.
I should have liked to answer in some detail now, or at least in some general way, the points that were raised by Senator Vincent this afternoon, but, as I said before, I was not present to hear them. I would prefer to hear them again at the committee stage, as we come to the clauses to which he adverted, and then to provide such answers as I can provide. There is very little more that I can say at this stage of the debate. I hope that the bill will have a passage as quiet and unanimous as the approval which the principles of the bill seem to have attracted from both sides of the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
The CHAIRMAN (Senator the Hon. A. D. Reid). - Instead of taking the bill clause by clause, I suggest that we take it part by part. Honorable senators will have an opportunity of discussing particular clauses in each part. Is that course agreeable to the committee?
– Will senators be able to discuss particular clauses in each part?
– Yes. Instead of calling each clause, I shall call each part, which will leave the committee free to discuss any clause in the part and to move in relation to it.
Part I. - Preliminary (Clauses 1 to 9).
.- 1 refer to sub-clause (1.) of clause 5, which reads, in part -
In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears - “ magistrate “ means - and move -
After the interpretation of “ magistrate “ insert: - “ marriage “ means the union of one man with one woman for life to the exclusion of all others, such union being contracted in the manner provided in this Act; “.
I propose this amendment because I believe a matter so important as marriage, which affects the status of well over 90 per cent, of the adults in our community, should be specifically defined and regulated by statute, not left to common law decisions by the courts of the land based on precedent or case law, in the case of the Privy Council, possibly based on the opinions of its personnel of the Judicial Committee from time to time, since that distinguished tribunal is not bound by its own decisions. I believe that this most important status should be defined by legislation. In seeking for a definition we are, of course, bound by the meaning of the word “ marriage “ at the time of the introduction of the Constitution. If we look at what the courts of law decided marriage meant in those days, we find that it had the meaning that the amendment suggests. The words I have used are taken from the case of “ Hyde v. Hyde “, which was a classic decision of British courts in the year 1859. The matter is summarized by Earl Jowitt, once the Lord High Chancellor of England, in the 1959 edition of his dictionary, at page 1 145, as follows: -
Marriage is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.
He then cites the case of “ Hyde v. Hyde, 1 866 “. I notice that there is a discrepancy in the references given by two of the authorities. One refers to the year 1866 and the other to the year 1859. I have not drawn the actual law report from the library. Earl Jowitt goes on to say a little more, perhaps, than we might ordinarily put into the meaning of marriage by way of legislation. He states -
Marriage must be a Christian marriage, which, generally speaking, is to be taken as meaning monogamous.
He then gives the example that a polygamous marriage, although valid according to a law of the country where it takes place, cannot be the subject of adjudication as such in English courts. The decisions in “ Hyde v. Hyde “, “ Heath v. Heath “, and a number of other cases were certainly the settled law as interpreted by our courts at the time of the passing of the Australian Constitution. if we turn to Joske’s classic work, “ The Laws of Marriage and Divorce in Australia and New Zealand “, 3rd edition, we find that at page 39 the learned author states -
In order to constitute a marriage as it is understood by English matrimonial causes law, it must be shown that the relationship contemplated is the voluntary union of a man and a woman for life to the exclusion of all others.
Then the learned author lists a number of cases relevant to the point. The essentia] nature of the relationship has been expressed in very many of the decisions as a voluntary, monogamous union for life between a man and a woman. This is so much so, in fact, that if these fundamental requirements were met, many arrangements, agreements or contracts which would not be valid as marriages within our own land were, if they had taken place in other countries, regarded as valid marriages. The case ot “ Brinkley v. the Attorney-General “, heard in about 1890, referred to a marriage contracted by a British citizen in a heathen country. The form of marriage was not such as we would recognize in British law, but the agreement was essentially a monogamous arrangement for a man and a woman to live together. Brinkley was to take no other wife, according to the arrangement in the heathen country in which he was. lt was decided - my recollection is that it waa Privy Council decision - that such an arrangement was valid in British law and that the children of the union were legitimate.
We may go on to look at the position in even more recent times. The New Zealand decision in “ Wong v. Wong “, reported in New Zealand Law Reports 1948, is a modern affirmation of the principle laid down by the courts in “ Brinkley v. the Attorney-General”. So the precedents which I have cited do r.ot relate to fusty, old legal ideas that are outmoded and have no place in the modern age. The New Zealand court’s interpretation of 1948 is on all fours with the other interpretations. My recollection of that matter is that it related to a particular form of marriage in China at a time when the Chinese Government on the mainland had prohibited polygamy, and that the New Zealand courts held that the marriage, although they would not have recognized it had it taken place inside New Zealand, complied with the fundamental requirements. Tt was therefore held to be a valid marriage.
In clause 94, the offence of bigamy is created. A penalty of imprisonment for five years is provided for the commission of the offence, but we do not define what marriage is. We do not define what it is that a person must not do twice. We simply define it by reference to the forms through which he must not go. To my way of thinking, that is a weakness in the legislation which we could easily correct by adopting a definition which is in truth and in fact almost written into the legislation by clause 46. I do not know, Mr. Chairman, whether I am in order in referring to clause 46 at this stage, but for the purpose of supporting my argument in regard to clause 5, I refer the committee to clause 46 (1.)
It will be seen that the registrar or officer who is officiating at a marriage shall say to the couple who are about to be joined in matrimony, “ Marriage, according to the law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life “, or words to that effect. That is almost word for word the definition that I have asked the Minister to accept and to insert in what, with due respect and due humility, I believe to be its proper place, namely, the definition section of the bill. Instead, it is tagged on at the tail end, in the form of an instruction to the officer who presides at the time that a marriage is being celebrated.
The wording that I have mentioned is repeated almost word for word later in the bill. Honorable senators will see that a chaplain or official who is solemnizing marriages abroad also is enjoined to give the same warning to couples who are about to be married. So, what I am asking to be done is not a revolutionary or controversial request. It simply asks for something to be done which, in my view, will help to improve a very good bill. The adoption of the suggestion would block a possible gap and make the legislation more complete and more serviceable. I do not think it is a valid argument against the proposition that we should insert a definition to say that existing marriage acts do not attempt to do so. If we accepted that line of reasoning, we would never introduce any new legislation.
The definition that I have put to the committee is supported in toto by the “English and Empire Digest”, volume 11, at page 455, where the learned author quotes Halsbury and then goes on to repeat almost exactly the words of Earl Jowitt in the dictionary reference which I have already given to the committee. Accordingly, 1 shall not weary honorable senators by repeating them. I simply draw some comfort from the fact that I think that all the established legal authorities are agreed on the wording. In view of the fact that anything which rests on legal precedent and legal interpretation is capable of being changed or reversed by another court at another time, I feel that, for the protection of the most sacred relationship into which the people of our community are ever able to enter, we should write into the legislation the definition in the terms I have suggested, or any other definition which is essentially in the same terms as those I have put to the committee.
– I do not think that the insertion of the definition in the bill is quite such a simple or easy matter as it might perhaps appear to be at first sight. While I agree that the fact that something has not been done before is no valid reason for not doing it now, I point out that it is often the case that there are valid reasons why things have not been done before. I am inclined to think that the reason why marriage has not been defined previously in legislation of this kind is because it is rather difficult to do so. Marriage, of course, can mean a number of things. For instance, it can mean a religious ceremony;, it can mean a civil ceremony; and it can mean, a form of living together. There are several meanings covered by the word “ marriage “, which are quite different one from the other.
Turning to the arguments advanced by Senator Hannan, I say, first, that clause 46, which contains an instruction to ministers of religion or recognized celebrants of marriages to use certain words, is a clause on which a good deal of the force of Senator Hannan’s arguments is based.
– The words are to be spoken in the presence of witnesses.
– Yes. The celebrant is required to say, amongst other things, in the presence of witnesses, “ Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life “, or words to that effect. I want to make it clear that the fact of a celebrant saying those words, which clause 46 requires him to say, does not have the force of law to define a marriage in the sense in which the insertion of a definition, such as Senator Hannan wishes to insert, would have.
– I do not think Senator Hannan’s argument suggested that.
– I think it is inherent in his argument that, because in this clause there is provision that certain words are to be said by a celebrant, it is no great extension to provide a definition in the same words in another part of the bill.
– I suggest that Senator Hannan is merely implying, by analogy, that there is a relationship between his definition of marriage and the words spoken by the celebrant. He says they are approximately the same, but I do not think he has gone any further than that.
– If that is Senator Vincent’s understanding, then that is fine. I just wanted to make it clear to all members of the Senate that what I have just said, and with which Senator Vincent has just agreed, in effect, is that a definition such as that suggested by Senator Hannan would have a force of law which clause 46 does not have. 1 wanted all honorable senators to know that.
– What does that mean?
– It means that if this definition is inserted in the bill it will change the measure, and it -means that clause 46, requiring a celebrant to use certain words, does not have the force of law which the definition that Senator Hannan wishes to insert would have. I want all honorable senators to know that clause 46 is not a buttress for the argument for inserting this particular definition in the bill.
– Would the other be redundant?
– It has not the force of law. It is a clause to get a registrar to use a certain form of words or words to that effect to indicate to people who come before him - this only applies to a civil marriage - that once they are married they cannot marry anybody else, until they stop being married, anyway. I suggest, too, that the committee should look very carefully at what might be the results of the definition proposed by Senator Hannan. His amendment proposes to insert the following definition: - “ marriage “ means the union of one man with one woman for life to the exclusion of all others, such union being contracted in the manner provided in this Act”.
The operative words are “ in the manner provided1 in this Act”. It would be perfectly possible for a marriage which had been contracted between two people in another country before they came to Australia, and therefore a marriage which had not been contracted in the manner provided in this measure, to be a marriage which might be held not to be valid in Australia and might allow one of the parties of that marriage to commit bigamy without attracting the penalty laid down for the offence of bigamy. In particular, I direct Senator Hannan’s attention to clause 94, in Part VH., which relates to the penalty attracted by persons who commit bigamy or in some other way offend against the clauses of this bill. Clause 94 (1.) reads -
A person who is married shall not go through a form or ceremony of marriage with any person.
Penalty: Imprisonment for five years.
The remainder of the clause then lays down a .number of other offences that will be committed by a person who is married, if he goes through a form or ceremony of marriage with any .person. If there is now .inserted in this bill a definition saying that marriage means a union contracted in the manner provided in this measure, under Part VII. “ married “ could be construed in any court to mean married in accordance with the way in which marriage is defined in this measure. That could well mean, if that were so, that a man could escape the consequences of a marriage if he had not primarily been married in accordance with the definition in this measure.
– Is the Minister serious?
– I am quite serious.
– Are you referring to marriage in accordance with State law or marriage in accordance with a foreign law?
– I had in mind marriage according to a foreign law.
– What about marriage in accordance with a State law?
– Does it matter? If it applies to a marriage under a foreign law, it is sufficient.
– We cannot legislate in respect of foreign marriages.
– The amendment proposed by Senator Hannan provides that marriage shall mean a union “ contracted in the manner provided in this Act “.
– That is, in Australia.
– Yes, but as the legislation stands in relation to domicile, a person who marries outside Australia is -regarded when he comes to Australia as validly married. If you provide that persons must toe married in the manner provided in this measure, such persons on coming, to Australia would no longer have the protection of a valid marriage.
Furthermore, if the definition proposed by Senator Hannan were inserted, a complete recasting of the bill would be needed.
A number of matters in the bill would have to be very carefully considered to see what -other by-effects would flow from this attempt at a definition. For instance, there is more than one manner provided in the measure in which a marriage can take place. There is -a manner provided for a marriage in Australia, there is a manner provided for a marriage abroad, and there is a manner provided for diplomatic or consular marriage, which is a particular matter to be construed as being in the manner provided in the measure.
– Any of them, I should think.
– That might depend on a judge or somebody of that kind. It is perhaps a matter of judgment. I am told that in other cases it is quite possible that the result of this particular definition would be to alter substantially the meaning of some provisions of the bill. For instance, I direct the attention of honorable senators to clause 10 (2.) (b), which reads - the marriage of a person domiciled in Australia, wherever that marriage takes place.
Part II. applies to marriageable age and marriages of minors. The paragraph I have mentioned could well be affected by the introduction of a definition of this kind. I think that the main argument against this new attempt, this novel attempt, to make :a definition of marriage would be that, as I am informed, it would be likely that wherever the word “ married “ appears in this bill, because of this definition it would be likely to be. construed to mean “ married in the manner provided in this measure “, and that could have all sorts of effects, some of which I have sought to indicate.
– I have listened to the interesting comments made by Senator Hannan and Senator Gorton. Senator Hannan’s amendment proposes the insertion of the following definition: - “ marriage “ means the union of one man with one woman for life to the exclusion of all others, such union being contracted in the manner provided in this Act.
I cannot see the force of the Minister’s argument why that definition should not be ;inserted. The only reason he has given why it should not be inserted in the measure is that complications would be caused wherever the word “ married “ appears. Nevertheless, the measure places responsibility on certain authorized celebrants to explain the nature of marriage to persons about to be married. The celebrant has to tell the two parties about to contract marriage that, according to the law in Australia, marriage is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. The Minister has told us that that has not got the force of law and that if the definition proposed were inserted it would have the force of law, and for that reason he is opposed to accepting the amendment. Clause 46 provides that certain authorized celebrants shall explain the nature of the marriage relationship to the parties. Therefore, I consider it is essential that there shall be no doubt about the meaning of the word “ marriage “. It should be clearly and simply defined in the measure. In relation to a measure so important as this - I admit that it has received great attention from the Attorney-General - the argument should never be used that, because of difficulties of drafting, the insertion of a definition, would leave the measure weaker, in relation to interpretation, than it was before the insertion of the definition. Senator Hannan has quoted a number of unchallengeable authorities in relation to the interpretation of his suggested definition up to and including “ to the exclusion of all others “. In a measure of this nature 1 think that the definition provisions are the most important provisions.
I would, in effect, support the wording of the amendment up to “ the exclusion of all others “. This measure is very comprehensive and applies to all types of marriages. It will give every protection that can be foreseen to marriages contracted inside and outside Australia. Therefore, I can see no reason why there should not be a clear and concise definition of marriage in accordance with the words used in clause 46. If such a definition were inserted, a celebrant who told the contracting parties of their responsibilities would be telling them what was. in fact, the law.
– I think this discussion would be clarified if the Minister would indicate to the Senate what objection the AttorneyGeneral has to a definition of marriage. We are in the position that Senator Hannan has moved an amendment in which he attempts to define marriage. 1 think there are certain flaws in that definition. It would not cover, for example, a marriage contracted overseas that is recognized as a lawful union by this legislation. I think ii would be a simple matter of drafting to alter the wording used by Senator Hannan and to meet that objection. There may, however, be other objections.
The courts, as the matter stands at present, will rely, for the purposes of this measure, on the common law interpretation of marriage. I should like the Minister to tell me whether the Attorney-General thinks that that would be a better method of handling this very difficult problem than to attempt a definition of marriage. I think that is the real point of this argument. When, the Minister has tried to explain that to us, perhaps Senator Hannan would explain why he believes that an attempt at a definition would be better than the present method of handling this problem - accepting the common law definition.
– The Minister has told us that a free vote is to be taken on this measure. He referred to marriages of aborigines contracted under tribal customs and said that they are not recognized by this bill. I think that that remark applies to marriages celebrated according .to the customs of a number of religious denominations. Such marriages probably would not comply with this legislation, as it is now, and people belonging to those denominations would have their marriages performed outside Australia. I cannot see why a definition such as is suggested by Senator Hannan should be inserted in this bill when, as the Minister has stated, such a definition would not cover everybody. If the suggested definition is included in the legislation, then the people to whom I have referred will be in trouble. They will not not accept such a strict definition.
There are about 87 different denominations that solemnize marriages and they all have their different ideas. These denominations have solemnized marriages all down the years, lt has been left to the courts to define marriage, so why should we attempt to insert a definition in this legislation? Senator Hannan cited three or four cases in which marriage is defined.
As the courts have dealt with this matter, why insert a definition in the legislation? It is not needed. I do not wish to see people being married outside their churches, although some of the denominations to which I have referred are, strictly speaking, not churches at all. The Minister has explained that the celebrant at a registry office marriage must make a statement almost exactly similar to the definition proposed by Senator Hannan, but these denominations have their own marriage rites. I do not see why there is a need to insert this definition in the legislation and I hope that the Minister will not agree to accept the amendment.
There are many things in the bill with which I do not agree, but 1 think the Attorney-General has made a splendid effort to bring about a uniform marriage law, as distinct from a uniform divorce law. Senator Hannan is attempting to force on people a position where there will be no divorce of any kind. We just cannot do that, because human nature is against it. All the urges of humanity are against it. If two parties to a marriage are incompatible, what are we going to do? Are we going to let them, in accordance with the practice of certain denominations, remain married but go their separate ways? They will feel the physical attraction of other people all the time, but they will not be permitted to marry again. I think it would be wrong to insert this definition in the legislation and for that reason I oppose the amendment.
.- Perhaps 1 should refer just briefly to what some honorable senators have said. I agree with the remarks of my friend, Senator Vincent. If the fundamental principles were observed, I should have no objection to rewording such parts of the proposed amendment as might cause any injustice to any person.
Senator O’Flaherty appears to have gone off on the wrong tram. This proposed definition has nothing whatever to do with divorce and is not an attempt to force my ideas on divorce upon anybody. It is an attempt to make certain by legislative enactment that marriage means what the law says marriage means at present, not what some final court of appeal may say it means next year or next week. As legislators, 1 do not think we should shirk our responsibility or be cowardly. We should accept the responsibility that the people of Australia have given us. We should not hesitate to accept this amendment if we honestly and sincerely believe that the legislation would be better for its insertion.
I wish to make some reference to the remarks of the Minister on the definition itself. I point out, with respect, that even though there are both religious and civil ceremonies of marriage, the definition which I have put forward meets both cases.
– It applies to any form of marriage under the act.
– That is so. I want to make this point as firmly as I can, and at the risk of repetition: There is nothing in the definition that I have submitted to the committee which varies by one iota the common law or case law statement of the legal position. My sole desire in submitting the amendment is to see that certainty runs where at present case law obtains. I know that a great deal of thought has gone into the construction of the bill. The Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) has been most courteous and obliging in meeting and having discussions with various religious authorities who have a cardinal interest in this subject-matter. Although religious authorities have no direct interest in registry office marriages, I am informed that it was as a result of discussion with religious authorities that the AttorneyGeneral inserted in clause 46 words which are almost identical in form with the words I have used in the amendment.
I know that the point is arguable - it could well be a field for lawyers - but all I say in reply to the Minister’s proposition that the definition as it stands would work a hardship upon people who were validly married under the law of some other country in that when they came to this country they would be regarded as not being validly married is that there is a string of cases as long as one’s arm against the proposition. I have in mind such cases as Sottomayer v. de Burros, R. v. Najuib, and the AttorneyGeneral v. Brinkly
– With the marriage defined like this, as the basis of the law?
– No; on the common law meaning of marriage. Those marriages took place outside the country of the court’s determination but they were upheld in the British courts. It would be a simple matter, as suggested by Senator Vincent, to amend the definition by adding the words “ or recognized by this act “. If no change was made to the definition, it is my humble submission, which I make with great deference in the presence of lawyers far more renowned and practised than I am, that the rules of private international law would provide adequate protection for those who were validly married outside Australia and who came to live in this country. When the Minister was speaking about the term “ contracted in the manner provided by this act “, I think it was Senator Wright who pointed out by way of interjection that any one of the manners provided in the legislation would be a manner which fitted within the definition.
I think I have said enough to indicate that I am prepared to re-word the definition in any way which is not in contradiction with the existing common law position and the existing case law, if it may be felt by the Minister that some conceivable injustice could be done to people outside Australia. Frankly, I do not think such an injustice would be done; but, of course, our cardinal task, our most important task, is to look after the 99.9 per cent, of people who will be married in Australia and who will live here for most of their lives. Senator Vincent, in his concluding remarks, suggested that I should say why I believe the definition should be included.
– In view of the common law.
– I think I have given the reason for that, but I shall repeat it. First, I believe that marriage is the most important relationship into which men and women enter. I believe it should be defined with complete and absolute certainty. 1 do not believe that it should be the subject of a decision by case law or precedent law or that it should be determined, for example, by the views or ideas of the particular people who may happen to constitute the final court of appeal at any given time. I say that with great respect to their lordships in appeal and in no way derogatory of their sincerity and the way in which they apply themselves to their task. In all those circumstances, I believe that we should reduce the matter by legislative enactment to an absolute certitude. I hope I have referred to most of the matters that have been raised by other speakers. If, after hearing other speakers, the Minister is enamoured of the proposition and cares to suggest any more acceptable form of wording which does no violence to the principle, 1 shall be very happy to discuss it with him.
.- In deference to Senator Hannan’s amendment, I wish to make my view clear before voting on the matter. I believe that the introduction of a definition into a bill like this is a course that should be taken only if one is quite satisfied that the terms of that definition are the pivot point of the draftsman’s conception of the bill. You may get very awkward consequences if you introduce a definition which is in any degree inconsistent with the draftsman’s intention. The second point I make is that, as I understand the bill, all its 120 clauses are devoted to defining what in the expression of this legislature an Australian marriage means. Thirdly, I think there is great force in the reference by the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) to marriages which derive their force from the laws of other countries or from State laws in existence prior to the passage of this bill. If you introduced into this bill a definition which provided that marriage is a particular relationship contracted in a manner provided in the bill, you would limit all of the references to marriage in the measure to a marriage contracted in a particular form prescribed by the bill. That, I believe, would exclude the whole conception of the marriage relationship that has been recognized by law hitherto, be it State law or the laws of other British dominions or countries. For those reasons, I think the amendment is ill advised.
I wish to incorporate in my statement of the position the fact that I reject entirely the. Minister’s argument based upon a variety of forms of marriage, under this legislation. In my view, the definition, would, comprehend any of those forms.
Senator Sir NER. O’SULLIVAN (Queens^ land) [8.59]. - I should very much like to see the import or the effect of the words suggested by Senator Hannan incorporated in- the bill. After all, those words repre- sent the definition of marriage according, to English law. It is to be found1 in; Halsbury’s “ Laws of England “ and it hasbeen confirmed by prior and subsequent judicial statements. The difficulty is, as I see it, that complications could arise in’ relation to marriages contracted abroad and recognized, here but which would not be marriages performed in accordance with this legislation. In a judgment delivered’ in 1930 dealing with marriages. Lord Dunedin said -
If there is one question better settled than any other in international law, it is that as regards marriage - putting asi’de the question of capacity - locus regit actum. If a marriage is good by the laws of the country where it is effected, it is good all the world over, no matter whether the proceeding or ceremony which constituted marriage according to the law of the place would or would not constitute marriage in the country of the domicil of one or other of the spouses.
Much as I would like to see expressed in clear and statutory form, the definition of marriage as it is- understood in. the Christianworld and recognized1 in the law of England) - that is, the union of one spouse with another during the lives of those spouses, difficulty could perhaps arise with regard to marriages contracted outside Australia if Senator Hannan’s suggested amendment were incorporated.
.- In view of the remarks of a number of honorable senators I would be happy, in order to remove any possibility of injustice being done to any person married outside the Commonwealth, to insert the word “ voluntary” before the word “union” in my amendment. I am also prepared to delete the words, “such union being contracted in the manner provided by this act “. I think my amendment will then be in accordance with what was suggested by Senator Cooke. The words I propose to insert will now read - “ Marriage “ means the voluntary union of one man with one woman for life to the exclusion of all others.
I do not accept the arguments that were put forward with respect to private international law, and1 at the appropriate time and in the appropriate place I would be prepared to submit my reasons. I do not think that this chamber is the appropriate forum for a discussion of that kind. I feel that my suggested amendment of the proposed definition removes- any strength that may be attached to such arguments. Since I have agreed to delete certain words from my original amendment the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) may now feel that my ‘amendment will improve the legislation. I ask the Minister whether he accepts the amendment as it has now been re-drafted.
– Order! Is Senator Hannan suggesting that his proposed amendment will now stop at the word “ others “?
– Yes, with the insertion of the word “ voluntary “ before the word “ union “.
– There being no objection, Senator Hannan may alter his amendment accordingly. The amendment proposed by Senator Hannan will now read -
After the interpretation of “ magistrate “, insert “ ‘ marriage ‘ means the voluntary union of one man with one woman for life to the exclusion of all others”.
– I have more than one reason for advising honorable senators not to accept the amendment even as now redrafted by Senator Hannan. My first reason has already been stated by Senator Wright and I take leave to repeat it again briefly. Marriage is not denned in the bill because its meaning varies in different places in the bill. It has different nuances, different shades of meaning and different derivatives. Its meaning varies in some respects in different places in the bill. This matter was considered by the AttorneyGeneral and for the reason that I have given the practice of the past of not attempting to define the act particularly was adopted. If a definition were inserted it would involve examining the bill very carefully again.
My second reason for not wishing to see the amendment accepted is that if this definition were included, I do not think that a ceremony would be needed at all. Would a ceremony be needed in such circumstances?
– You would have to comply with other requirements of the legislation.
– You are defining marriage. You say nothing about having to comply with other portions of the bill.
I have posed the question and I should be glad to have an answer to it. If Senator Hannan’s definition of marriage is included in the bill, what is there to require a marriage ceremony?
– The requirements of the remainder of Part VI.
– If the amendment is accepted marriage will be defined as the voluntary union of one man with a woman for life to the exclusion of all others. Although such a definition is in substance accepted by the Australian people it is not accepted without qualification. A marriage could well be a valid marriage even though it was the union of a man and a woman, or that of a man who had previously been united with some other woman, with a second woman.
– I should have liked the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) to explain why he prefers not to have a definition of marriage in this bill but prefers the interpretation of the courts of what amounts to a common law definition of marriage for the purposes of this bill. I feel that there is a very good reason for the Minister’s attitude. It is the reason why I do not like the amendment. With great respect to Senator Hannan, I like it less now than I did before he altered it. Senator Hannan is attempting to define in one sentence something that the courts have had great difficulty in defining for some time in more than one sentence - in fact, in a number of sentences. He is attempting to restrict the meaning of marriage to the present meaning of marriage. That is why I do not like the definition. He is restricting the definition of marriage to the actual meaning of the word “ marriage “ as now defined by the courts.
– A definition of what is a valid marriage.
– Yes. That is the first reason why I do not like the amendment.
– That is defined in the courts.
– It may be, but it is not exhaustive of the meaning of marriage. There are other definitions of marriage which are recognized and if you attempted to put all of them into one definition you would virtually be writing the common law meanings of the expression “ marriage “ into this bill. I feel that the situation is better left undisturbed. The common law meaning of marriage is much better than any statutory definitive meaning.
There is a second reason why I do not like Senator Hannan’s second attempt to define marriage. Although I do not think this was in Senator Hannan’s mind, his definition now means that marriage rs an indissoluble union between two persons. Senator Hannan’s definition reads - “ Marriage “ means the voluntary union of one man with one woman for life to the exclusion of all others - .
– Without the requirement of a ceremony.
– I do not agree. 1 think a ceremony is required.
– There is the requirement of a ceremony in Australia according to the bill, but no requirement of a ceremony if the marriage takes place outside Australia.
– Yes, the bill does not include such marriages. My point is that the proposed definition really means that a marriage is indissoluble. There is a strong implication that way in the definition as it stands. That illustrates the point I am trying to make, namely, that a statutory definition always has the effect of narrowing the common law definition. So, we should be very careful when we try to define by statute, what the courts have been at great pains to define for some years. For those two reasons, I think the matter is better left alone.
– I have listened with some amusement to the argument submitted by Senator Vincent. I do not know that the amendment would make it any more definite that marriage was indissoluble. There are other laws in this country. The definitions in clause 5 of the bill are “ for the purposes of this act “, the same as the. definitions written into any other act. I can see some point in the argument of the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) if the draft ing of the bill has been inferior or the draftsman was not given the intention of the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) but was just told, in effect: “ Write a story about marriage, but we will not define marriage. Draft a bill on marriage, but we will not define marriage.” Therefore, there will be legal loopholes and, apart from the common law, nobody will know exactly what a marriage is. So, a person trying to establish the validity of his marriage would have to refer to the common law. We know that can be an expensive business, which may go right up to the Privy Council.
We have waited almost a century for this legislation, and the only argument against defining marriage “ for the purposes of this act “ is that the draftsman may not have been given a clear indication of what he was writing about when he drafted the bill, namely, marriage. We should accept this amendment, put the definition in the bill and refer it back to another place for acceptance by the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick). He is the mastermind. He will know whether the definition will be in conflict with other clauses of the bill because his is the directing mind. Do not put the blame on to the draftsman. The only reason why the draftsman would not define marriage was that the AttorneyGeneral would not define it as he understood it. The committee should accept the amendment and refer it back to the Attorney-General. Even if it takes only one millionth of 1 per cent, of the time we have waited for this legislation to enable the Attorney-General to have the bill correctly drafted so that the definition in the bill is faithfully and properly applied every time the word “ marriage “ arises in the bill, I think we will have done a service and the bill will be markedly improved. Then there will be no necessity to refer to the common law to interpret the position. There may be many other definitions of marriage, but it would be defined “ for the purposes of this act “. At the present time it is not so defined. In this debate we. have heard arguments in relation to cases which were not so apparent before. It is like the old story -
Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who was not there.
He was not there again to-day.
Oh, how I wish he’d go away.
This bill constitutes a complete .law ‘With respect to marriage and it is .agreed that the common law .defines marriage. ‘Clause 4.6 of the bill defines ,it and says .that the celebrant of a marriage must tell the .two contracting parties to the marriage, “ This .is the law ,of Australia “ in the precise words of the amendment. Yet the Minister baulks at putting that definition into the interpretation .clause for the purpose of interpreting the act. It seems to me that the .only argument against including it is that the Attorney-General did not allow the draftsman to understand what was the .definition of marriage in his own mind, but told .the draftsman to draft a .bill about something the definition of which is still in doubt in the bill.
– I think most of us know what marriage is.
– Yes, 1 have a fair idea, but the point is that other people may have doubts about it and we should say, without equivocation, as the celebrant of marriage must say, “ This is the law of Australia “. If the definition is in the bill it will in fact be law. If the definition is not in the bill, there will be a lot of doubt about the position and there will still be squabbles. The Minister is baulking at writing into the bill a definition in the precise terms used later in the bill, in terms approved at common ‘law in decisions of the Privy Council because we, as a Senate, do not like to refer the bill back to the Attorney-General, saying: ““You have presented a lovely bill on marriage. Everything is beautiful, except that you will not define marriage for the purposes of the act.” There is absolutely no -reason why this definition should not be put in the bill. If Ihe .amendment is made, the bill will go back to the Attorney-General who has done much study on this matter. He is a very knowledgeable man and no .doubt he knows what he means to say. But he should amend the bill so that at any time when the word “marriage” is used it will be read in conjunction with the definition of marriage.
– Can you define it in a few words?
– I define it in the words of the amendment. That is what I am arguing for. I am saying that “for the purposes of this Act “ marriage should be defined in that way.
– I know what it -i% anyway.
-That may be ito -your own sorrow. I know it to my joy.
.- First, I want to agree with the point made by Senator Vincent. We wish, and have wished, to rely on the common law :in regard to the validity of overseas or foreign marriages because we do not wish to limit the application of the common law in the way in which a definition would so limit it. The bill deals with marriages in Australia, and to that extent leaves little room for the common law in respect of marriages in Australia. However, as Senator Vincent has rightly said, we rely on the common law in respect of marriages performed outside Australia.
I wish to put to the committee again a point which has not been answered. The proposed definition which we are asked to accept says - “ Marriage “ -means the voluntary union of one man with one woman for life to the exclusion of all others . . .
That would be .a .definition that would have the force of law, if it were inserted in the bill. Of course, it would be qualified in regard to marriages in Australia by the other provisions of the bill. But there is no part of the bill, of which I know, which qualifies that definition in regard to foreign marriages. So, it would merely mean that people having voluntarily united themselves abroad without a ceremony of any kind would, by definition, when they came to Australia, be regarded as married. That is not what we want.
– Under international and common law, a marriage contracted outside Australia, if it was challenged in Australia, could be made valid. The same protection will be given when this bill becomes law. The .definition is subject to the words “ for the purposes of this Act “ and it is Australian law that we are making. This definition of marriage is required and will be interpreted “ for the purposes of this Act “.
– As regarded in Australia.
– Yes. We are making laws for Australia. Under the present law, and even under this law, if a person who was tribally married in New Guinea came down to Australia and if there was a dispute about whether he was legally married or not, the courts would still have to decide the question, even though the definition of marriage was included in our Australian law, in accordance with the common law and legal precedent and other decisions. I think some speakers are trying to avoid the issue when they introduce the extraneous matter of marriages contracted outside Australia, to which nobody would intend to apply this bill. It will not invalidate any existing marriages in Australia, because the legislation is a consolidation of law, including the common law and the accepted definition of marriage on decisions, as far as I can see, by all courts up to the Privy Council.
.- I want to make up my mind about voting on this amendment. The subject of marriage has occupied 120 clauses of this bill, each relating to a different aspect of marriage. How are we to confine a definition to two or three lines, which will be applicable to marriages in all countries? In relation to marriage in Australia, I suggest that we add to Senator Hannan’s definition, which is -
Marriage means the voluntary union of one man with one woman for life to the exclusion of all others, ‘ , the words - in Australia, in the presence of witnesses, before a legally authorized celebrant.
If we did that, we should be getting nearer to a definition consonant with the provisions of the bill. Under the amendment, as drafted, there would not need to be a ceremony at all. A marriage would result if two people agreed to a lifelong union to the exclusion of all others. There is no mention ot conditions. I certainly will not be able to vote for the amendment, because I think it does not sufficiently clearly convey what is in the minds of Senator Hannan and of other senators who have spoken.
– Would you care to suggest additive words?
– We would have to specify “ in Australia “ for one thing. We should also have to include reference to the presence of witnesses and officiation by a legally authorized celebrant. Without these conditions, a marriage would not be recognized as such in Australia.
– You would also have to specify certain denominations.
– It would suffice if there was a legally authorized celebrant. I agree with Senator Gorton that other countries have variations in marriage ceremonies. This bill is more or less developing. It may differ from legislation for this purpose in other countries. Therefore, we should be getting ourselves into deep water by trying to obtain too explicit a definition of marriage. It is difficult to define, in my opinion, because it is not only a legal contract but also a moral and spiritual contract. These elements take a lot of definition. We cannot put down in black and white the moral and spiritual side of the contract. I believe that the drafters of the bill have been very wise in leaving all of the 120 clauses, plus the common law, to describe exactly what is in the minds of various people when they enter into contracts of marriage. I cannot support the amendment.
.- I wish to refer to only one or two remarks made by the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) on the second-last occasion of his speaking. I wonder whether he could direct the committee to any examples in which the word “ marriage “ has a variable meaning in the legislation. If he can, that is a matter that should certainly receive the attention of the entire committee, irrespective of the fate of the amendment that I have placed before the committee. In regard to the Minister’s subsequent remarks, I ask what the statement by the officiating officer in clause 46 really means. This bill has been treated far too seriously and carefully for me to believe that the words put into the mouth of the officiating officer are a lot of baloney. Does marriage in Australia really mean the voluntary union of one man with one woman for life to the exclusion of all others, or does it not? Either it does or it does not. The problem is as simple as that. I do not think that the words of clause 46 have any real meaning unless that meaning was in the minds of the Government and the draftsman when that clause was placed in the bill.
In regard to Senator Vincent’s suggestion that my definition has implied undertones or overtones of indissolubility, all I say is that the definition I have used rs the common law definition based on a whole string of Privy Council and House of Lords decisions.
– Those Privy Council decisions would be binding here?
– Privy Council decisions are binding here, so long as they remain consistent. Of course, the Privy Council is not bound by its own decisions. The House of Lords makes a practice always of following its own decisions. Although those decisions are not binding on us, they have the very strongest persuasive influence, of course, on our courts. Frankly, I have been surprised that this suggestion of mine, that I thought was rather bloodless and innocuous, should cause such debate and cerebration in this chamber. I had in mind doing something that really was controversial, such as trying to repeal section 28 (m) of the Matrimonial Causes Act, but I abandoned that proposition as being in conflict with the Standing Orders. That was the only reason why I did abandon it.
I have also been surprised at the extraordinary amount of time that has been devoted to the possibility of foreign marriages. I may say with great respect to the Minister that either I am misunderstanding what he is saying or he is not correctly putting the common law in relation to the existing position. It is in fact true that at this very moment a mere heathen arrangement by the delivery of cows or pigs to the bride’s parents, as happened, I think, in Brinkley’s case, is a valid marriage by the law of the country in which it takes place, provided that it is a monogamous arrangement and is intended to be with one woman for life. The distinction is clearly underlined by the decision - I think of the House of Lords - in the case of Bethell v. Bethell, where a similar arrangement was made by Bethell with a heathen woman in some uncivil feed country. In that country or tribal area polygamy was the custom and, accordingly, when the matter came before the English courts the marriage was held to be not a valid marriage, not because the rites were not such as we would recognize, not because the forms were not gone through, but because, being a polygamous arrangement, it did not conform to British ideas of what a marriage should be. Hence, I think it is reasonable to say that most of the solicitude which is being lavished upon some theoretical people abroad is wholly unwarranted. If it is not unwarranted, that is the common law position as we sit here and now in this chamber. There is nothing in my definition which would alter one bar of the law in relation to it.
– I point out to Senator Hannan that in Part II., clause 10 (2.) (b), there is reference to “ the marriage of a person domiciled in Australia, wherever that marriage takes place “. That is a use of the word “ marriage “ to define a marriage in a foreign country, or to define a marriage which can take place in a foreign country, according to the law of that country. That is one way in which the word “ marriage “ is used. Clause 41, in Division 2, provides that-
A marriage shall be solemnized by or in the presence of an authorized celebrant who is authorized to solemnize marriages at the place where the marriage takes place.
In that clause, “ marriage “ is used simply to refer to marriages inside Australia and is consequently used in a quite different sense from that of the previous clause to which I have referred, in which it was used to refer to marriages either inside or outside Australia. I was asked to give two instances of the use of the word “ marriage “ in different ways, and those are the two that come to mind.
I do not think I have anything more to add, except to reiterate that in our view it is best to leave to the common law the definition or the evolution of the meaning of “ marriage “ as it relates to marriages in foreign countries, and to use this bill to stipulate the conditions with which a marriage in Australia has to comply if it is to be a valid marriage.
Question put -
That the words proposed to be inserted (Senator Hannan’s amendment) be inserted.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator the Hon. A. D. Reid.)
Majority . . . . 32
Question so resolved in the negative.
Part I. agreed to.
Part II. - Marriageable Age and Marriages of Minors (Clauses 10 to 21).
– I invite the attention of the committee to clause 16, an all-important provision relating to cases in which minors are desirous of marrying and have been refused the consent of their parents. The existing law in the respective States is very much the same as the proposed law. I believe that in each State there exists the right for the minors who propose to marry to go before a judicial tribunal and place their case before the court. I understand that the court has discretion to overrule the decision of the parent or parents, as the casemay be, and permit the marriage to take place. I think I am right in saying that that provision exists in each State.
My principal purpose in rising was to invite the attention of the committee to paragraph (b) of sub-section (2.), which says, in effect, that a magistrate shall hold an inquiry into the relevant facts and circumstances. The magistrate has then to decide whether or not the consent of the parent or parents has been refused unreasonably. If he decides on the facts that the consent of the father or the mother, or both, has been withheld unreasonably, he is then entitled as a matter of law to upset that decision and, in effect, to give consent for the minors above the minimum age to marry. I think there is a certain weakness in this provision. I shall not suggest an amendment but 1 suggest that the AttorneyGeneral reconsider this provision and then perhaps introduce an amending bill. I feel that it is too big a subject to thrust upon the Minister for the Navy at short notice. I have not had an opportunity to discuss it with him or with the Attorney-General.
Let me deal with the practical difficulties associated with this question. My first point is that in many cases the parents of minors are not present when the court investigates the withholding of consent. It may be that the parents live in Cairns and the two minors who propose to marry find themselves in Fremantle. They come before the Fremantle magistrate, as they have a right to do, and place the facts before him. He, poor man, has then to determine what is in the minds of the parents living in Cairns and to do something that I think is quite impossible; he is asked to come to a conclusion that the withholding of consent by the parents in Cairns is unreasonable. I do not know what the word “ unreasonable “ means in this context. I invite the Minister to tell us from what existing act that provision is taken, if at all. I feel that a decision as to whether or not consent is unreasonably withheld must be based upon certain premises. A condition of unreasonableness as I see it might be quite different from a condition of unreasonableness envisaged by any other member of this chamber. No two of us could agree on a set of circumstances that would be unreasonable in every case, or even in one case. I suggest that there should be some premise upon which the factor of unreasonability should depend.
My second point proceeds from there. I suggest that one major factor which can affect the decision of a court is the condition of the applicants. I refer to their emotional stability, their emotional development, their intellectual development and their intellectual capacity - in short, their intellectual and emotional capacity to understand the nature of matrimony, and their capacity for carrying it into reality. That is the second factor that must be taken into consideration. The present bill does not provide for those bases when clause 16 is to be taken into account by the magistrate in determining whether parental consent has been unreasonably withheld. Those are the important bases. There are others, of course. One is the economic factor. I think that is important. But the fundamental bases are those I have mentioned - the emotional and the intellectual capacity or maturity of the children who apply for consent. I feel that the law should state these bases for the guidance of magistrates.
I am not suggesting that they should be the only reasons why magistrates should or should not come to a decision that a parent has withheld consent unreasonably, but I think that the measure could very properly guide courts in the determination of what is and what is not to be taken into consideration when they come to the very difficult task of deciding whether parents have unreasonably withheld consent. The word I am worried about is “ unreasonable “. There is no guidance to the court as to its meaning. I suggest that the word will mean something different to each magistrate who hears a case. That is pretty rough justice. I think that the roughness could be taken off this provision by attempting to give some bases upon which a court could determine whether or not consent has been unreasonably withheld. T’ invite the Minister to comment on the matter.
.- I think that Part II. is very important. It provides that a boy can be married at the age of eighteen years and a girl at the age of sixteen years, but they must still get the consent of their parents. I support the argument that has been advanced by Senator Vincent. I believe that many young people rush into marriage against the wishes, and very often against the wise counsel, of their parents. I understand, as has been mentioned by Senator Vincent, that it is the usual procedure for parents to be advised when young people apply to a magistrate to overrule the refusal of consent by the parents. But, of course, there may be a number of reasons why parents are unable to be present when a case is heard. As in the case that was mentioned by Senator Vincent, it may not be practicable, owing to great distances, for parents to attend the hearing in order to fulfil what they regard as their parental responsibilities. Doubtless some people will argue that in such instances the magistrate would consider seriously any written statement by the parents that was forwarded to him. If the word “ unreasonable “ were inserted in the provision it would be very difficult to argue that a person who had refused consent to a marriage had done so unreasonably. I suppose that if every honorable senator in this chamber were to state what he thought was unreasonable in certain circumstances, it would be doubtful whether other honorable senators would agree with him. It is all a matter of degree. I am a great believer in the judgment of parents in matters affecting their children. I am sorry that the proposed act is framed in such a manner as to confer on a magistrate, no matter how well-meaning he may be, the right to give his version of what is unreasonable in respect of consent. In my opinion, it is the duty of parents to safeguard the well-being of their children. In the case of a youth aged eighteen years or a girl aged sixteen years I do not think that any parent would refuse consent if the marriage was a necessity; but I do think that many parents would not give their consent if it were not a necessitous case.
When a case is heard by a court parents should be given the opportunity to be present. Senator- Vincent instanced the case of young people going to a far distant State so as to prevent either the girl’s parents or the boy’s parents from being present at the hearing. It would be wise to make provision that the case be heard in a particular State. I recognize that one of the contracting parties could come from one State and the other party from another State but I think that the hearing should take place in a specified State so that the parents could attend without undue inconvenience and, as Senator Vincent has said, without undue economic strain. I doubt whether a mother or father would refuse consent to a marriage without mature consideration and without honestly acting in the interests of the son or daughter.
The Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) has no doubt given very much time to the preparation of this bill. As a rule he produces two bills. The first one floats around for three or four months while amendments are invited. It is the most remarkable procedure I have ever known in either the Federal or State spheres. It seems that he is frightened of his first draft and puts it out for two or three months to see which way the wind is blowing.
I repeat that parents ought to have a greater say in the welfare of their children. Just fancy a girl of sixteen getting married without the consent of her parents! It is so often the old story of marry in haste and repent at leisure. I do not wish that to happen and I regret that in a number of cases it does happen. I believe that where parents have the welfare of their children at heart sometimes they will not consent to a marriage, and I do not think their refusal to give consent should be called unreasonable. I greatly regret the inclusion of that word in the legislation.
– There is nothing new in this provision at all. Senator Vincent said that it has been taken from State law. I know that the Victorian Marriage Act of 1915 gives authority to certain persons to give their consent to a marriage in a case where a parent has refused such consent. The authority is given to the persons by the Supreme Court. I think that I mentioned during the second reading stage that I have had such authority since 1949. Magistrates, of course, have that authority. I assure the committee that consent is not given to a marriage by a magistrate or by a guardian of minors without a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the application. On occasions when I have had to exercise my authority I have immediately got in touch with the parents of the applicant to find out the reason why they refused consent.
This is not a case of a magistrate, or any other person who has the authority, wishing to override the opinion of a parent, but there are occasions when parents can be unreasonable.
– No one is arguing that there are not such occasions.
– That is so. This authority is exercised with discretion and a sense of very real responsibility. Most persons appointed by the Supreme Court to be guardians of minors have had years of experience of children’s courts. Most of them are magistrates of children’s courts and have a very real appreciation of the need of a minor and also a determination to do the very best for the parents and the child. I repeat that there is nothing new in this provision and I can speak with experience regarding its operation in Victoria.
– I should like to reply to Senator Wedgwood’s remarks and also to the suggestions made by Senator Vincent. It is, of course, difficult and almost impossible to define what is reasonable and what is unreasonable. It always has been, so it has been left to a magistrate or a judge to decide. I think there is little danger of the circumstances arising which Senator Vincent has in mind, namely, the inability of parents who have refused their consent to be present at a magistrate’s hearing at which the two minors contend that the consent to their marriage has been unreasonably withheld. Clause 16 (3.) provides -
Where a magistrate to whom an application is made under this section is satisfied that the matter could more properly be dealt with by a magistrate sitting at a place nearer the place where the applicant ordinarily resides, he may, in his discretion, refuse to proceed with the hearing of the application . . .
– That might be 2,000 miles from the parents.
– That is quite right. Nevertheless, he may refuse to continue with the hearing of the application. Indeed, I am told it is the practice that, when magistrates are fairly well satisfied that minors have gone to a different State for the purpose of applying to a court which is situated at a distance from their parents, they do not proceed with such applications. Clause 18 (1.), which deals with this matter in general, provides -
In conducting an inquiry under this Part, a Judge or a magistrate -
shall give to the applicant and, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person whose consent to the marriage of the applicant is required by this Act, an opportunity of being heard.
I believe that those two provisions taken together, and probably in conjunction with statutory rules or things of that kind made under this legislation, would lead to the hearing of such applications by magistrates sitting close to the place where the parents who refused consent live and not by magistrates 2,000 miles away. Nevertheless, I take note of the honorable senator’s words.
(a), which provides that a judge or a magistrate who conducts an inquiry under this part is not bound by the rules of evidence.
– Without consulting the departmental officers, I can give only a layman’s answer to that query. I believe it means that they are not prevented by some legal rule from applying everything that is relevant to the fact.
Senator VINCENT (Western Australia) (.10.4]. - 1 heartily agree with what Senator Wedgwood and the Minister have said, but neither of them was discussing what I was trying to talk about. I do not suggest for one moment that in the majority of cases the magistrate will not apply himself quite properly to these matters or that in the vast majority of cases the parents are not present and have not an opportunity to be heard. Despite the provisions of this bill, it is quite obvious that there will be cases where parents will not have an opportunity to be heard and cannot be present. For the life of me I cannot see how in those circumstances a magistrate can determine that there is a legal obligation on his part, because of this legislation, to come to a conclusion that the parents have withheld their consent unreasonably. That is the situation as I see it. I know there are provisions in the bill for parents to be informed of the state of affairs and to be invited to be present, and I know that magistrates may refer a case from one court to another. But that does not necessarily mean that the parents can be present. The bill is quite definite on the point that the court has the power only to move the venue, having regard to the residence of the applicant. But the residence of the applicant happens to be that of the child concerned and not of the parents concerned. lt is quite obvious that there will be cases in which the parents will not be heard, lt has happened in Western Australia in my modest experience for the last 30 years. The provision in this bill is not very much different from the law in Western Australia at the present moment. It happens regularly that parents are not heard by magistrates. Of course, our law in Western Australia does not oblige the magistrate to make his determination, as a matter of law, on the unreasonableness of parental consent. He may override the parents, notwithstanding that he comes to a conclusion which differs from the terms of this legislation. I suggest that the Minister should consider that aspect of this measure and should seriously consider in due course laying down some basis for a consideration of unreasonableness.
The magistrates are in no better position than are the parents and in many cases are probably in a much worse position in coming to a conclusion about the matter of consent to the marriage of children. They know a good deal less about the children than do the parents in most cases, and accordingly they are at a great disadvantage. It is rather unkind or unfair to ask a magistrate - shall I say it is almost impossible in many cases - to determine what is in the back of a parent’s mind when he or she refuses consent when that parent is not heard. Having said that. I do rot want to labour the point. I do not invite the Minister to reply at the moment.
Another point arises from the same clause, but it has nothing to do with my earlier remarks. It refers again to the practical difficulties that do occur. I am speaking now from a little practical knowledge of these things. The bill does not provide that the parents shall be informed that their decision has been overruled. No doubt some attempt will be made in the regulations to cover that situation. Clause 16 (4.) implies that the parents should be notified when a magistrate gave consent to a marriage without their being present and against their consent. It provides -
Where a magistrate grants an application under sub-section (1.) of this section, he shall not issue his consent in writing to the marriage before the expiration of the time prescribed . . .
That presupposes that the parents will be notified, but the bill does not definitely say that they shall be notified by the magistrate that he has overridden their decision in relation to the proposed marriage. I think it should so provide. I do not believe that it should be done by regulation. In my opinion, the bill should be quite explicit in providing that the parents shall be notified that the magistrate has overridden their decision. I believe that, in fairness to the parents, the magistrate should state in writing his reasons for overriding their decision. This is a very important matter.
I say with great respect to the magistrates that many of them are rather soft-hearted gentleman and that a few tears shed at the right moment by a lady applicant work wonders. Such things make a profound impression upon the court. If the little lady is clever enough anything can happen, and sometimes anything does happen. I suggest that, in fairness to the parents, who happen to have known the child since birth, the magistrate should be obliged to do two things - to notify the parents that he has overridden their decision in relation to the marriage and to state his reasons in proper form so that they may do something about the situation if they think the magistrate has been hoodwinked. And sometimes magistrates are hoodwinked.
– I take it that under clause 16 (4.) the parents could request a re-hearing. Am I correct?
– See clause 17 (1.).
– I take it that a parent may have a re-hearing before a judge. But if the case submitted by Senator Vincent is valid, how will the parent know of the decision? Is the parent to be advised by the magistrate?
– Look at clause 18(1.) (b).
– I support Senator Vincent’s remarks. Knowing his profession I am prepared to accept that he has seen these things of which he speaks happen. My sole purpose is to guard the rights of the parents. It could be that in the rarest of cases a parent may not know that an application has been made to the court. He or she may be away from his or her ordinary location. A magistrate should have some responsibility to see that the parents are advised. What happens in courts when the title to property is in dispute? Any person who buys property from another person is unwise if he does not see that the title is clear. Therefore, every effort is made to locate all parties concerned with the transaction. If that principle holds good in respect of property it holds good in respect of marriage. I do not know of any particular case where any difficulty has arisen but I object strongly to young people wishing to marry too early in life. We are inclined to look aghast at some of the things young people say to-day, not that they have any less respect for their parents than we of an earlier generation had for our parents. I believe that no effort should be spared to contact the parents of girls of sixteen years and boys of eighteen years who wish to marry.
– Magistrates consult not only the parents but also ministers of religion.
– The magistrate may not be able to consult the parents. It has been claimed that a magistrate has power to order that an application be made to a magistrate sitting closer to the domicile of the objecting parent, but a magistrate is not forced to make that order.
– Magistrates consult ministers of religion, too.
– Despite the respect that I have for ministers of religion, irrespective of the church to which they belong, I have a very keen desire to see that the rights of the parents are protected. Nothing concerns me more than to see put into legislation words that are not as definite as they could be. I do not wish to detain the committee for any great length of time, but it so often happens that where young people rush into marriage the problems fall on the shoulders of the parents who were thought to be old-fashioned and whose advice was ignored in the first instance.
.- The anxiety of honorable senators to protect the rights of people affected by this legislation is understandable. It is recognized as a primary right of natural justice that where any judicial proceedings or pseudo-judicial proceedings take place the first obligation of the tribunal is to invite the attendance of all parties’- whose rights are affected. I think that right is safeguarded by clause 18 (1.) (b), where a statutory obligation- is placed on- the magistrate in conducting his inquiry to -
You cannot go further in justice to all pasties than require that the tribunal should give as far as is reasonably practicable an opportunity to the opposing party to be heard-.
Reference has been made to questions of title. It is a daily procedure in the courts where you have twenty persons interested in one particular argument in relation to a will for the court to serve “ A “ and direct him to represent all the twenty interested persons. In divorce proceedings where the respondent cannot reasonably be found it is daily procedure for the judge to dispense with personal service and to direct that service be made on a relative or that an advertisement be placed in a prominent newspaper. It must be recognized that justice to the petitioner or applicant requires that the tribunal should not be stultified simply because his adversary or the person opposing his. view goes into smoke. When a youth is prevented from entering matrimony by reason of the absence of parental consent - it may be that he has a father who has not been heard of for three or four years and has deserted the applicant - it is left to the tribunal to say whether or not justice has been served. Under the bill he is required to give an opportunity for the dissenting parent, insofar’ as it is reasonably practicable, to be heard. That is the type of language which a- court is appropriate to understand’ and adminster The court considers the justice of the case andi seeks out the parent if it is reasonably practicable’ so to do; but if it is not reasonably practicable and the justice of the case requires it, the court can go ahead without giving that person an opportunity to be heard. I mention those matters only to show that the approach adopted in this bill is in conformity with general judicial procedure.
– I agree with Senator Wright that the expression “reasonably practicable” should govern these matters. I do not agree’, that- clause 18 has anything to do with what
J have been talking about. Senator Wright quite properly suggested that clause 18 (l.)i (b) imposes- on- the court an obligation, if reasonably practicable, to inform the parents or any other parties interested that a hearing is to> take place and they have a right to be heard. 1 am- not quarrelling with that, but that has nothing to do with what I am talking about, with great respect to Senator Wright. I am suggesting that following the hearing the decision should be communicated in a proper formal manner, if reasonably practicable, of course - I do not quarrel with that proposition - to the parents or the parties concerned, together with the reasons of the court.
I will give just one illustration - I will not mention names - of how in actual life things can go wrong unless they are watched very carefully. Miss Y wanted to marry Mr. X and the parents on both sides refused consent. The parents were notified of the hearing in the. usual way, but they did not attend the hearing. Miss Y was able to persuade the magistrate that she should marry Mr. X-
– Did she say why?
– Because she was pregnant. The magistrate granted an order against the consent of the parents. They were not notified of the decision at the time. Had they been notified, they could have informed the court that the girl was lying. In fact, she was lying. She was not pregnant. She fooled a very foolish magistrate. I am asking the Minister to give consideration at some future time to ensuring that the decisions of magistrates will- be properly conveyed to the parents, together with their reasons.
– That is intended to be done by regulation.
– Had the Minister said that earlier, it would have saved much discussion. I am relieved to know that it will be done.
Fart II. agreed to.
Part III. (Application of Prohibited’ Degrees of Consanguinity and’ Affinity) (Clauses 22 to 24).
– I believe that here we have the result of the Matrimonial Causes Bill being passed before the Marriage Bill.
– Divorce them first and marry them afterwards!
– As Senator Tangney says, it seems that we divorce them first and then marry them. I wish, to move an amendment to clause 22, which reads in part - (1.) Notwithstanding sub-section (2.) of section twenty-two or sub-section (3.) of section twentyfive of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1959, the provisions of sections eighteen, nineteen and twenty of that Act relating to the prohibited degrees of consanguinity and affinity and the Second Schedule to that Act apply in relation to marriages in Australia, other than marriages to which Division 3 of Part iv. of this Act applies, and to marriages under Part v. of this Act, wherever the parties are domiciled or intend to make their home.
The object of the amendment is to. insert as a second schedule to this bill the Schedule that appears in the Matrimonial Causes Act dealing with the prohibited degrees of consanguinity and affinity. I believe that that schedule should be inserted in this bill. I hope that it- will be possible to have it inserted in this bill as well as in the Matrimonial Causes Act mainly for convenience. It will be of great help to people who have to study this bill in performing their duties. I move the following simple amendment: -
Leave out “ that “, second occurring, insert “this”.
The clause will then refer to, “ the Second Schedule to this Act “, not “ that Act “, referring to the Matrimonial Causes Act. After that amendment has been passed, as I hope it will be, I will move an amendment designed to insert, as a second schedule to the Marriage Bill, the Schedule to the Matrimonial Causes Act. I have brought these amendments forward because I think it is necessary that the Schedule in the Matrimonial Causes Act be inserted as a second schedule to the bill now before the committee.
. -I take it that the amendments proposed and foreshadowed by the Leader of the Australian Democratic Labour Party, in, conformity with; that party’s alleged sincere approach and- characteristic efficiency, have, been circularized. Unfortunately, I have not copies of the amendments. Would they be available to me to peruse before I speak to the amendments? May I ask whether they have been circularized?
– No, they have not.
– Unfortunately, the copy which Senator Cole is displaying is not easy to read as it contains a number of deletions. May I have it typed so that I can read it? I think I am entitled to that. I agree with the Leader of the Democratic Labour Party that the amendments are desirable. But he should provide us with clear copies of them. In all fairness, we have provided the members of his party with copies of our amendments on all occasions.
– Nobody has copies of the amendments.
– Then you are not as efficient as you claim to be.
– Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Temporary Chairman do now leave the. chair and report to the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative. (The Temporary Chairman having reported accordingly) -
Unemployment in Tasmania.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I do not wish to delay the Senate unduly, but I do wish to bring forward a matter which is of particular importance in connexion with the employment position in Hobart at the present time. To give honor-able senators some idea of the existing position, I wish to read a letter addressed to me from the Federated Ironworkers Association of Australia. It is as follows: -
I am writing to you in relation to dismissals at Austral Bronze Company Derwent Park, where there have been 110 men dismissed since August, 1960, and they were dismissed as outlined below -
The above figure does not include employees who have left voluntarily.
It is the considered opinion of this Association that the reasons for the dismissals at this Company are as follows: -
Lifting of Import Licences.
By the lifting of Import Licences on NonFerrous Metals such as copper, Companies in the United Kingdom can supply copper to Companies in Australia at least one penny per pound cheaper than it can be supplied by manufacturers in Australia.
Whilst the Credit Squeeze is being forced by the Menzies Government, it is forcing this particular Company to dismiss their employees in large numbers, which is unprecedented in this State.
It would be appreciated Sir, if you could place this matter before your Federal Members, to have it brought up in the Senate to show the Menzies Government what they are doing to the people they allegedly represent.
Thanking you in anticipation.
That letter, Mr. President, does not reveal the whole picture. The firm in question, Austral Bronze Company Proprietary Limited, has 129 factory employees remaining and, as I have said, 110 have been dismissed. The dismissals, therefore, have accounted for almost 50 per cent. of the work force in that factory. In addition, I remind honorable senators that the letter I have read says that no account has been taken of employees who left of their own accord. We can say, therefore, that easily 50 per cent. of the work force of the factory has been adversely affected by the lifting of import licensing, which has enabled nonferrous metals to be imported into Australia and sold here at prices lower than those obtaining for locally produced metals. It is also expected that the dismissals will not stop at 110, which is the total up to date.
As the letter indicates, 40 people were dismissed on Friday of last week, and it is obvious that the remaining 129 will be there only until the company sees what orders come in and decides whether it can pick itself up.
In addition to these difficulties, I should also mention that the men have placed a ban on the working of overtime. In the past there was a considerable amount of overtime available to employees at the factory. In February of this year the men voluntarily decided to work a four-day week in order to prevent further dismissals. This, however, did not have the desired result, and the company made an offer to the employees only the other day, which allowed them two alternatives. They could agree to continue working a four-day week, in which case a further 22 only would have been retrenched, or they could go back to the fiveday week, which would mean the retrenchment of 40 employees. The men decided to take the latter course. The manager of the mill, Mr. Bruce, said that the company’s trading position had deteriorated, and that it had been necessary to adjust production accordingly. This is one of the results of the adjustment of production.
I do feel, Mr. President, that a very difficult situation exists in southern Tasmania and, generally speaking, throughout the whole of Tasmania. The manager of the Tasmanian Timber Association, Mr. T. R. Brabin, has made a statement, which has been published in the press in the following terms: -
The combination of the credit squeeze and surplus timber imports in Mainland marketing areas was forcing further cuts in the timber industry . . .
In the past two weeks, three Northern timber companies had been forced to carry out reductions involving -
The closure of three mills;
The cessation of buying from three mills; and
Further production cuts in 16 mills.
Another mill probably would close within 10 days.
This meant dismissal for 50 men and reduced work for about a further 150.
Since Christmas one company alone had been forced to dismiss 100 men and place a further 216 on rationed work.
The timber industry is suffering a very severe depression at the present time, and it is being forced to make further production cuts and to stack unsold timber, while large stocks of imported timber on interstate markets are being supplemented by further importations.
I have also mentioned in the Senate previously the position of the silk and textile factory at Derwent Park, and I do not wish to go into this again in detail. The factory has a capacity to employ 800 persons, but it is employing at present only 453. This is because of the effect of importations from Japan. I shall give the Senate a few production figures to illustrate the seriousness of the situation. In 1956-57 the factory produced 1,298,000 yards of material. In 1957-58 production amounted to 1,198,000 yards. In 1958-59 it fell to 549,000 yards, and in 1959-60 production again fell vo 133,000 yards. In contrast, I can tell honorable senators that imports of cotton prints from Japan totalled 10,540,000 yards in 1956-57, while in 1959-60 they had increased to 39,000,000 yards.
The situation, Mr. President, is very grave, and I suggest that something should be done to relieve the unemployment position throughout Tasmania and throughout the Commonwealth. Looking a bit further afield than Tasmania, we find that the Australian paper manufacturers have had to cut their production because of the flood of imports from overseas. Quite naturally, retrenchments have taken place in the industry. Imports of paper and boards were currently arriving at the rate of 50,000 tons a year, worth approximately £5,000,000. This was nearly four times the rate in the 1959-60 financial year.
It is true that when the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) made his statement to the trade union movement in the latter part of February, he said that unemployment might become worse. His words have been brought home with all the severity that unemployment brings with it. I do not want to touch upon the figures which the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) issued to the press, apparently yesterday. They are available to any honorable senator to peruse and they reveal a very bad state of affairs.
The Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton), in reply to a question to-day, said that there were approximately 81,000 unemployed persons in Australia to-day. I think that he should have given the correct figure. If he had said there were approxi mately 82,000 persons unemployed, he would have been much nearer the mark, because the figure given by Mr. McMahon was 81,865, or approximately 2 per cent, of the work force. I suggest to Senator Gorton that he should give accurate figures when he is dealing with the unemployment situation. He also suggested that some of those persons who had been unemployed for a period might have found a job in the meantime. It is quite possible that they have done so, but Senator Gorton failed to mention the possibility that quite a number of other employees in addition to those mentioned by Mr. McMahon, had lost their employment.
Many callers come to my office at Hobart. That is quite understandable, because I am quite accessible to the trade union movement in the area. 1 think it is quite safe for me to say that at least 50 per cent, of the persons who come to see me ask me to obtain a job for them somewhere. Only yesterday a comparatively young man came to me and told me that he was looking for a job. He had been out of work for some time. He was only a labourer and had been employed mainly as a builder’s labourer. When I questioned him about his family, he said he had eight children to keep, the eldest of whom was ten years of age and the youngest five months. That family was trying to exist on unemployment benefit; there would also be some child endowment. I did not question the man on another point; I assumed that he had to pay rent. The greater part of the unemployment benefit received by him would be required for rent to enable him to keep the roof over his children’s heads. I do not know how he would get on about buying food. However, I immediately contacted the local office of the Department of Labour and National Service, which was unable to help me to obtain a job for him. The position in Hobart has developed almost to the point where labourers are about two bob a dozen at present.
I do not want to delay the Senate any further, but I believe that the Government should do something to relieve the situation that exists in Tasmania and throughout Australia generally. T request that something be done in the way of easing credit restrictions or re-imposing import licensing to assist those industries adversely affected as a result of the lifting of import restrictions some months ago.
– I listened to Senator Poke with great interest. The matter that he raises poses human problems. One likes to feel that he is well informed and one would like to do what he can to assist. However, I should like to direct attention to the fact that Senator Poke mentioned three industries, namely, the copper, timber and textile industries, each of which, if my recollection serves me correctly, has been the subject of a Tariff Board inquiry within the last twelve or eighteen months. In other words, the Tariff Board has made recommendations to the Government and the Government has accepted those recommendations upon a basis which gives the industries a level of duty sufficient to protect them against imports.
– A lot of the present trouble has developed only since November. You are claiming that the Tariff Board took evidence during the past twelve or eighteen months. The situation when the evidence was taken was not as it is now.
– I do not think there has been a great degree of variation in the difference between the cost of goods from overesas and local cost of production. 1 should like to amend what I said previously; one is always at a disadvantage in speaking from memory. I think that protection was refused to the textile industry in Tasmania. I am not quite sure of that.
– That is so.
– I make the point that it is not appropriate to blame the lifting of Import restrictions, because the two major industries mentioned .by .the honorable senator have sufficient tariff protection. The timber industry has been the subject of a good deal of inquiry. Representations are at present before the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen). There has been a variation in government policy aimed at increasing the level of home building in order, amongst other things, to increase the use of timber and so assist this industry. Various circumstances have caused difficulties in the timber industry. I do not think it is necessary for me to go into them all in detail but this position is recognized and it is currently under review. Senator Poke has named some of the disadvantages. It would not be inappropriate for me to mention some of the advantages. One of -the great advantages has been a fall in building costs and a fall in land values, including a fall in home site values.
– In most metropolitan areas. This has a great social value, as everybody will admit. Finally, Senator Poke paints a picture of a bad position in Tasmania, but I point out to him that the figures in the Statement of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon), which was released this morning, show that the employment situation is far better in Tasmania than the average throughout the Commonwealth.
– That is no consolation to the persons who are unemployed.
– It is no consolation Ito the individual, but one does not help the individual’s cause by overstating the position. Because overstatement and exaggeration-
– Where did I over-state the position?
– The honorable senator painted a picture of so many people being unemployed in Tasmania, whereas the rate of unemployment in Tasmania is infinitely better than that in most of the other States of the Commonwealth. Tasmania has been less affected than most other States.
– Where did I exaggerate?
– The honorable senator painted a picture of great distress, great difficulties and great trouble. All I am saying in reply to him is that, in my opinion, he over-stated the situation and by doing so he tends to weaken confidence in his own State and to aggravate instead of improve the conditions about which he complains.
Question resolved rn the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.51 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 18 April 1961, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1961/19610418_senate_23_s19/>.