Introduction

The Civil Celebrations Network (CCN) Inc. calls upon the Attorney General to support the recommendations of the Coalition of Celebrant Associations (CoCA).

Like CoCA, the Civil Celebrations Network Inc. does not support the concept that the marriage celebrant is the “beneficiary” of the Marriage Program; thus, the celebrant should not be forced to bear more of its costs in time and money, instead, the Program’s funding should be borne by the taxpayer directly.

The CoCA submission focused upon “increasing professionalism” in a pragmatic manner to:
  • maximize improvement in the quality of the marriage services
  • maximize the specialized knowledge and skills of the MLCS and other stakeholders and
  • minimize the work-load of the MLCS,
and to establish a framework for cost recovery to ensure that the marrying public and all celebrants (state and commonwealth) share the burden equitably.

This Civil Celebrations Network Inc. submission builds upon the work already done by CoCA.

This CCN Inc. submission focuses upon the Marriage Act, Regulations, and administrative strategies to minimize:
  • the inherent discrimination in a document written over a half a century ago
  • hardship and distress caused to the marrying public and their celebrants by unclear policies and procedures
  • un-informed value judgements and assumptions that appear to underlie certain policies and recommended practices
  • the complexity and resulting confusion of two different approaches to the validation of an Australian marriage
and to maximize the Government’s objectives:
  • in reducing identity fraud, and
  • delivering a quality program in an effective, efficient, and stable manner.
This Civil Celebrations (Network CCN) Inc. submission calls upon the Attorney General to:
  • Embrace a model of marriage celebrancy as part of the profession of celebrancy, whether that is one based upon a religious belief system or a humanitarian one.
  • Acknowledge the largely hidden (to government and others) community work that is done by all celebrants on a daily basis as they interact with couples, families, and communities in times of change – getting engaged, leaving home, being married, having a baby, losing a baby or parent or grandparent through death, having a child come of age, retiring, moving into a hostel or nursing home care.
  • Understand that ‘community development’ as defined within the social work profession is a legitimate, powerful long-term strategy for social change for the benefit of all communities.
  • Acknowledge that community development is a process that all sorts of people are engaged in, by the effect of their actions, without their necessarily having the theoretical training and language to be able to articulate their work in these terms.
  • View the Marriage Celebrant Program, not as an isolated “problem” to be fixed, but an opportunity to establish its place within a community development context, so that other government objectives now and in the future can utilize the Program’s potential.
  • Build upon the original, (though not articulated in these terms at the time), civil and human rights’ objectives of appointing capable and community focused citizens to perform an important role for their communities on behalf of their Government.
  • Understand that simple Government strategies can have profound long-term benefits.
  • Assess the benefits and disadvantages associated with the different underlying models of the Civil Marriage Celebrants (CMC) Program as it has evolved.
  • Redirect the policies, administration, and management of the Marriage Celebrant Program based upon this community development philosophy.
  • Developing an integrated system of the key stakeholders – Marriage Law & Celebrant Section (MLCS), Registries of Births, Deaths & Marriages, Celebrant Associations, Religious Organisations, and celebrants themselves
  • Using the advantages of computer and IT systems for administration, communication, data collection, and planning
  • Facilitating improvements in the pre-appointment, training, and appointment processes as well as in the ongoing professional development with other stakeholders, existing and potential
  • Base ‘Cost Recovery’ upon principles that ensure all marriage celebrants and all marrying couples are treated equally, in both principle and practice, so that:
    • The law is applied equally to all marrying couples, regardless of the style of ceremony they choose
    • The compliance costs to all celebrants, including Commonwealth Appointed Marriage Celebrants of their ongoing registration, is minimized and that these cost are appropriately assigned.
Last modified on Friday, 27 January 2017 23:45