Coalition of Celebrant Associations

Australia’s Peak Celebrant Body

Your concerns or suggestions?

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  • Comment Link Wendy Marston Sunday, 10 December 2017 08:43

    The recent changes to the marriage act have put me in a rather awkward position. As one who does not wish to conduct same sex marriages I am left with some quite narrow and potentially costly choices.
    1. Register as a religious celebrant. This immediately changes the publics perception of my role to one of conducting religious ceremonies only when this is not the case and I believe this will adversely effect my business. This change also requires re branding of all advertising material which comes at a cost.
    2. Remain a'marriage' celebrant and be put in the untenable position of being forced to conduct same sex marriages orface proicution even though it goes against all I believe in.
    3. Resign. The consequences of this are obvious,
    The inequality vote as I call it, has not considered our registered celebrants.

  • Comment Link Ange Kenos Tuesday, 28 November 2017 10:27

    You likely will not do anything - and I am cynical, but I would love COCA to lobby the government to terminate their conducting weddings. Since we exist there is no need for government employees to conduct civil ceremonies


  • Comment Link debbie Wednesday, 08 November 2017 08:54

    Hi my daughter wants to marry in Australia , can I use a family member who is a marriage celebrant in New Zealand for the wedding , and is this recognized in Australia if I do. Thanks

    Certainly you may have a family friend participate in the ceremony - even taking a major part.

    However Australia is different to the situation in NZ.

    you will need to engage a marriage celebrant who is authorised by Australian law to have the marriage recognised and to ensure that the family friend is not committing an offence under Australian law - 6 months goal and/or a $500 fine if someone purports to do a marriage here.

    You daughter will need to give at least a months notice, the couple meet all the legal requirements, present all the documents required etc. The Australian celebrant will need to conduct the legal parts of the ceremony, sign off on all the papers on the day and sent the documents in so the marriage can be registered.

    To find a celebrant you can visit one of our association websites - some are more state specific and other are national associations. Any further questions, we are most happy to answer. R Goold CoCA Secretary.

  • Comment Link Yvonne Wood Saturday, 23 September 2017 13:06

    I would very much like CoCA to lobby the government on our behalf to ensure that religious celebrants cannot conduct ceremonies in "our space" in the same way that we cannot conduct ceremonies in "their space".

    I've lost count of the number of brides who are getting married in a winery or garden or reception venue but who don't need a celebrant as their priest/pastor/minister is officiating their wedding.

    Do these people pay an annual fee to the government?
    Do they attend compulsory OPD?

    Are they bound by the Celebrants Code of Practice?
    There should be some protections for those of us who do all of the above,and who can provide our couples with anything from a pagan ceremony to a full blown catholic mass - without communion!


    Thanks so much for your concerns. CoCA is very concerned about the increasing disparity between Commonwealth Celebrants and State regulated celebrants. You are correct that about 70% of all authorised Marriage Celebrants are not required to have any training in marriage law, not required to do any OPD in marriage law nor to pay and annual fee. They are also not bound by a Code of Conduct as required of Commonwealth celebrants.

  • Comment Link Suzanne midolo Thursday, 29 June 2017 07:55

    i have read your latest newsletter re the forms and appreciate you have published them.
    I also read the minutes of the meeting held with the AG.

    I cannot see the relevance in bring back numbers to the forms.

    A Notice of intention to marry is just that...why does it need a number?
    the same applies to all forms they have a name...why a number as well?

    Interested in hearing the rationale behind this move.


    The numbering refers to the Forms being
    FORM 13 Notice of Intended Marriage
    FORM 14 No Impediment to Marry
    FORM 15 Marriage Certificate - Couples Copy
    FORM 16 Marriage Certificate _ BDM Copy and Celebrant Copy etc.


  • Comment Link Nick Sivertsen Tuesday, 28 February 2017 15:07

    Three points:

    1: Well said suggesting Celebrants put their hard-earned advertising dollar into non-profit Associations, rather than the plethora of for-profit businesses that promise so much, and often deliver so little. Of course, some Celebrant Associations are better than others, but by being active members, we have a say in what we want from them.

    2: CoCA does a wonderful job, and I thank you. I have participated in every survey/questionnaire that I have been invited to over the years. And the name provides endless amusement at meetings and conferences, where I have heard CoCA referred to as Cocoa, Coker, Cocas and more. Love it.

    3:Your emails sign off: Kind Regards, CoCA Secretary. How about a name? After all that passion and Industry love and support, 'CoCA Secretary' is so very impersonal.

    Keep up the great work.


    CoCA COMMENT: All CoCA associations delegates work together on putting out our news. And office bearers are not an executive with higher status. So whilst the News may look a little impersonal, this is to show the news is a group effort. We are not a secret society :-) Our Contact Us page shows who our office bearers are, and under About Us - is a list of who are delegates.
    Thanks too for seeing the value of our work. CoCA delegates are passionate volunteers who do care about the future of our profession. All the best Rona

  • Comment Link Janette Bastick Monday, 20 June 2016 07:45

    Please be advised that ACMC of NSW & ACT newly appointed main delegate is now John O'Carrigan and Jan Bastick is the other delegate.

  • Comment Link Judith Coate Tuesday, 01 December 2015 19:48

    As I am no longer a Celebrant, please would you remove me from your mailing list

    COCA COMMENT. Thanks for letting us know Judy. Your email address has been removed.

    Thank you for your service in our profession. All the very best for your future

  • Comment Link Dennis Buckle Wednesday, 04 November 2015 23:01

    Called ATG to inquire regarding the issuing of the annual registration certificate as was the case last year and they advised that this is no longer issued. My thoughts are that the $240 annual fee would cover the cost of the certificate and postage. I have framed last years certificate and have on show when interviewing prospective couples but it shows the expiry date of June 2015 which is not a good look. Your thoughts please.

    CoCA response:

    Dear Celebrant

    CoCA raised concerns about

    1. the issue of insurance cover in the period between the "Registered To" Date and the Date we paid our fee, which could have been 7 weeks. CoCA's argument was that insurers could say we were not registered during that period, and default on cover

    2. the cost of administration of this did not justify their cost of production and distribution, given under the Act the Registrar is required to have an up-to-date list of all authorised marriage celebrants now published on:
    where any member of the public can check upon the authorisation of a celebrant.

    Note: Commonwealth Marriage Celebrants are the only category of marriage celebrants required to pay a fee for their regulation. Two-thirds do not. CoCA considers this fee should remain the same or reduce over time as evidence of the efficiency of the government department administering this.

    3. couples could become anxious seeing that we were only registered to a certain date, and thus be reluctant to book us. Commonwealth Marriage Celebrants have life-time authorisations, subject to paying the annual fee, doing OPD and continuing to be fit & proper persons, and thus are not "unregistered" during the time frame in which they can pay the fee. Implying so, removes further parity with other groups of marriage celebrants and disadvantages Commonwealth celebrants.

    As a result of these representations, the Department no longer produces annual certificates. We trust this explains the situation.

  • Comment Link brad Wednesday, 04 November 2015 13:12

    Thank you so much for the email you sent recently to all celebrants about your meeting with the AG's department. It was informative and succinct and easy to read. I am not a member of any organisation and will not be researching some today to join. thank you so much for the care you take in representing us to the AG's department. I do feel that I am now more informed since CoCA was established. All the best.

  • Comment Link Jessica Lewry Tuesday, 03 November 2015 21:31

    Shocked that not completing the questionnaire could leave a black mark against a celebrant's name. No warning of this at all and although I tried several times to complete the questionnaire, I was unable to log on. Whos fault is that going to be?

  • Comment Link Dawn Hickey Tuesday, 03 November 2015 19:41

    I have no issues regarding the Department of the Attorney-General.

    Celebrants who did not pay their fee by the allocated date and/or who did not complete the Questionnaire, for whatever reason, are the problem.

    When working at the Legal Aid Commission of New South Wales we encountered problems such as the above. Magistrates informed Charge Sheet Holders who were late or who did not attend on the prescribed date that Court was not an Invitation to Morning Tea!

  • Comment Link Rona Goold Monday, 12 October 2015 13:08

    In response to the Marriage Celebrant who posted the query on Wednesday, 05 August 2015 21:43 as regards resigning if the definition of marriage were to change and whether there would be compensation.

    My hunch is that the government would not wish to be up for any more money.

    One solution is to "grandfather/ grandmother out" those existing civil celebrants, NOT NEW civil celebrants, who would prefer not to do same sex marriages by requiring those celebrants to apply for an exemption within a specified period of time. Then this exemption could be noted on the official AG Register of civil celebrants, and as such, one assumes, no legal action could be taken against them on the grounds of discrimination based on sex/gender.

    I would think this could have the "added protection" of removing the anxiety from celebrants, like myself, who support same sex marriage, but who may have to decline to do a same sex marriage or later need to transfer a same sex marriage, for reasons other that discrimination on gender/sex. In a litigious climate, this assumption could be made. However if I had had the right to an exemption and not taken that, it should be safely assumed that I have in principle supported same sex marriage and are OK with doing these ceremonies.

    I say only EXISTING celebrants for the reasons this celebrant's comment raises. All civil celebrants spend huge personal income to become civil marriage celebrants, and the vast majority 95% can not make a weekly sustainable wage from marriage work alone.

    Independent commonwealth celebrants are not in receipt of a salary as are the BDM staff, nor a stipend, house and vehicle as are the Recognised Religious who are exempted under the existing Marriage Act anyway. So those celebrants authorised before any change of the law, have spent time and money in good faith on the existing definition as outlined in the Marriage Act 1961.

    However independent civil celebrants, authorised AFTER the change of law, should NOT be exempted, because the role of civil celebrants is to uphold civil law. Workers in government (civil) services funded by tax payers monies cannot discriminate on sex/gender as required by our Anti-discrimination laws - eg homosexual nurses can not refuse to provide care to patients because that patient is heterosexual, or a heterosexual doctor refuse to treat a homosexual patient on the grounds of sexuality alone.

    The Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant Program came into being on grounds one could today describe as upon civil and human rights. So it would be an enormous step backwards to allow ad infinitum into the future ANY civil marriage celebrants to discriminate on the grounds of gender/ sexuality etc. if the law were to change.

    Perhaps CoCA could be requested to consider this solution to such concerns raised, given the results of the recent 2015 CoCA survey:


  • Comment Link Stephen Sacco Wednesday, 05 August 2015 21:43

    My concern is that If the definition of marriage is changed to include same sex couples, that civil celebrants may be subject to discipline or law suits for declining to officiate at such ceremonies. If the law was changed, would I have the right to be compensated for my time and expenditure in becoming a registered celebrant if I chose to resign?


  • Comment Link Jan Bastick Sunday, 12 July 2015 12:51

    I am concerned about the legalistic approach taken by AG Marriage Section staff. They do not seem to care whether or not it is a beautiful occasion, just so long as the forms are filled out correctly. The popup weddings being conducted by BDM Sydney at their offices and elsewhere is evidence enough.


  • Comment Link Zulema Buchanan Thursday, 09 July 2015 15:46

    I am little confussed about new forms etc. I very rarely preform a marriage these days however want to keep up my registration. I dont always have time to read all the emails. I have a wedding in October do I need new forms etc such as my form 14 andMarriage register book?

    Note from CoCA:
    The new forms must be used for all marriages after 1st January 2015. These forms are available to download and print from the Attorney General's website, select for marriage celebrants and click on forms. The new forms include NOIM (old form 13), Certificate of Marriage (old form 16) and Notice of No Impediment to Marriage (old form 14)
    The Red Marriage Register can still be used as the 2nd signed copy for your records

  • Comment Link Patricia A. Lysons Tuesday, 07 July 2015 11:51

    I am worried about same-sex marriage. Soon we will be one of the few Western Societies without it.
    The new forms are deficient in space.
    Some OPDs have been a waste of time and money.


  • Comment Link Kaye Hartog Monday, 06 July 2015 10:29

    Review of the following
    • Marriage Equality - Is it time for Australia?
    • Review of marriage forms
    • NSW BDM offering weddings in non-government venues


  • Comment Link Leanne M Wade Thursday, 04 June 2015 18:30

    Having just received a response to a complaint from June 2013. 2 YEARS!! Surely there is policy on complaint management within Marriage Celebrant Section AGD?? This time duration is excessive and archaic, when every place I have worked in management has a complaint policy? I'm was given 3 weeks to respond in June 2013...yet they can take this length of time.?

    Any comments and support here appreciated 1st one- never had one before or after...compliant since 2009. ..

    Warm regards


  • Comment Link Pam Giblin Friday, 21 November 2014 07:42

    I find with OPD that the options are always similar. I live in Hobart, so my face to face options are very limited. I opted for online OPD this year and picked a subject I thought would be stimulating and stretch me. I was very disappointed! I felt I could have created a much better course outline than the provider. I enjoy the compulsory part of OPD as it is always useful, but the other needs to be stimulating and useful. It often feels like a waste of time.


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