Administration of meetings between the Attorney-General’s Department and Commonwealth Marriage Celebrants’ Associations and Networks
The purpose of the Marriage Celebrants Programme (the programme) is to apply appropriate scrutiny to both aspiring and current marriage celebrants; support the availability of services across Australia; and regulate celebrant performance to ensure professional, knowledgeable and legally correct services are to be delivered to marrying couples. The Attorney‑General’s Department (AGD) will continue to review and update the policies and legislation underpinning the programme, where appropriate, to achieve these outcomes.
AGD acknowledges that celebrant associations/networks are well‑positioned to provide views on the potential impact of policies and legislative changes to the programme. AGD is committed to maintaining strong relationships with associations/networks through strategic engagement and consultation on key issues. Further, consultation with stakeholders is a measure of good regulatory performance by the AGD under the key performance indicators established for the programme.
Achieving best practice in consultation will be accomplished by AGD continuing to focus on providing associations/networks with opportunities to provide input on key projects and committing to respond to input provided by associations/networks input, even when that input is not included in the final product.
AGD will seek to provide associations/networks with reasonable timeframes to respond to consultation requests.
AGD will also consider issues brought to its attention by associations/networks; noting that non‑complex items are better responded to by the Enquiries Team via email or the 1800 telephone number.
Meetings between AGD and celebrant associations/networks
Chairing and location
Meetings between AGD and associations/networks will be chaired by AGD. The timing of meetings will be negotiated between all parties with AGD having final discretion on the timing of a meeting.
Face-to-Face meetings will be held twice a year provided there is a sufficient agenda of substantive issues that warrant a face-to-face meeting. Meetings will ordinarily be held at AGD’s premises in Canberra.
Where required, AGD will arrange a teleconference meeting to be held in lieu of a face-to-face meeting, or in addition to face-to-face meetings. Teleconferences may be held on specific issues, or as part of a consultation process on a specific proposal.
AGD will provide as much advance notice as possible for upcoming meetings to allow attendees time to book flights and accommodation and ensure adequate time to review meeting documents.
AGD will make every effort to have staff members available to attend meetings so the appropriate expertise is in place to discuss the issues raised.
It is important that AGD engages with a broad range of stakeholders. Association/network’s attendance is at the discretion of the AGD. Associations/networks may send no more than two (2) representatives to each meeting. However, it is preferable that attendance is kept to one attendee who can provide a united view from their association/network.
Rights and responsibilities
Candid discussion on issues is encouraged. However, all attendees have the right to a safe environment where their ideas can be heard and discussions are held in good-faith.
AGD will negotiate with associations/networks in constructing the agenda for a proposed meeting. AGD will seek to accommodate all agenda items put forth by associations/networks and communicate if a proposed item has not been included on the agenda. AGD has sole discretion on content included in the agenda. AGD may choose not to include a proposed agenda item where an issue has not progressed since a previous meeting, or the proposed agenda item has been conclusively dealt with previously.
All agenda items proposed by associations/networks for discussion at meetings must be supported by a brief outline of the issue for discussion (up to one (1) page). This should include information on why the issue warrants discussion, background on / explanation of the issue, and to the desired outcome/ action being sought from the meeting. AGD will similarly provide an outline on agenda items it raises for discussion, which are not ‘business as usual’.
Each meeting will have thirty (30) minutes set aside for general discussion for items without notice. The discussion on each item without notice should be brief to allow sufficient time for other items to be considered.
AGD will provide meeting minutes to associations/networks and request feedback prior to clearing minutes for publication on AGD’s website. The meeting minutes are intended to be a summary of the key points of the meeting. They are not intended to be a verbatim or comprehensive reflection of discussion.
Action items will be listed in the minutes and every effort should be made by AGD and associations/networks to complete action items before the next meeting. An update on action items from the previous meeting will be a standing item on each agenda.
All face‑to‑face meetings in Canberra will be catered by AGD. However, attendance and other associated costs of attending meetings is the sole responsibility of the attendees.
Dietary requirements will be taken into consideration where possible and where adequate notice has been received. While AGD will endeavour to accommodate dietary requirements, it does not guarantee all dietary requirements will be catered for and delegates may need to source additional food at their own cost.
Parking onsite will be made available for the duration of the meeting where possible and when adequate notice has been given.