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Report No. 23

6. Australian Act.-

(1) The Australian Act is the Marriage (Overseas) Act, 1955,1 which follows largely the English Act and some of the provisions2 of the Foreign Marriages Order in Council, 1913. Section 9(1) of the Act provides that a marriage between parties of whom one at least is an Australian citizen may be solemnised under the Act in an overseas country, whilst section 9(2) provides that a marriage by a marriage officer under the Act, being a marriage which if it had been solemnised in the Australian Capital Territory and the forms required by the law in force in that territory had been duly observed would, under the law of a State or territory of the Commonwealth, have been a valid marriage is by force of this Act, valid in that State or territory.

(2) The Act embodies the same safeguards as are to be found in the English Act and the Orders in Council to ensure as far as possible the international validity of marriages solemnised thereunder.3

(3) A significant feature of the Act is that it provides, unlike its English counterpart, that a marriage shall not be solemnised if the Marriage Officer knows that either party to the marriage has not attained the age of sixteen. Further, a party under 21 years has to obtain the consent of the prescribed persons. Lastly, the parties are required to declare that there is no impediment by consanguinity or affinity or other lawful hindrance.4

(4) The Act contains provisions as to registration of marriages5 and also a saving provision in respect of marriages solemnised otherwise than under the Act.6

(5) The Act does not provide for matrimonial causes.

(6) Thus, taken as a whole, the Australian Act is similar in its scope and technique to the English Act.

1. Act 31 of 1955. Commonwealth Acts, 1955, p. 479.

2. See para. 5(3), supra.

3. See section 23, which corresponds to section 19 of the English Act and sections 20 and 21 which correspond to Articles 1 and 2 of the Order in Council of 1913 issued under the English Act.

4. See sections 17 to 19, Australian Act.

5. See sections 25 and 26(3), Australian Act. It is made clear that the registration is for evidentiary purposes only.

6. Section 31, Australian Act.

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