Coalition of Celebrant Associations

Australia’s Peak Celebrant Body

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  • Comment Link Anne Young Tuesday, 18 November 2014 19:10

    Hello there - should we as Funeral Celebrants advise mourners prior to commencement of service, that the service will be recorded? My background (state government education sector), it is mandatory to alert people of photos and recordings and gain their permission. What is the stance at funerals? For my own peace of mind, I would like to announce recording prior to the funeral service. Your thoughts would be appreciated thank you.


  • Comment Link Lynnette Olsen Monday, 10 November 2014 17:36

    Why is it now necessary for Authorised Celebrants to pay for the 'Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage'?
    Not only is this an added expense, but it also means that they must be completed by hand and cannot be completed in legible computer type.


  • Comment Link lynette jacobs Saturday, 08 November 2014 08:14

    I belong to an association and whilst the body assists everyone with everything I feel the issue most talked about was the changes in forms, this caused the most confusion and suggestions should be to ensure the changes happen with Canprint etc being ready to go straight away, to ensure a smooth change over not waiting for months until they were ready.


  • Comment Link Denis Shaw Thursday, 06 November 2014 09:53

    I believe (and have always believed) that if the AG’s Department is still intent on slugging Celebrants their annual registration fee that we should get something for our money other than just ‘a license to print money’ (laughingly said !!). With the fee that they levy (read ‘tax’) they could at least provide a quarterly newsletter with what is going on in the world of celebrancy nationwide (that is, of course, if they actually KNOW what is going on in the world of celebrancy) and provide the lessons that celebrants ‘need to learn’ in the newsletter rather than burden celebrants with an additional ‘financial’ burden as well as ‘time’ burden. I am quite sure that THEY don’t pay an annual fee to be bureaucrats every year.


  • Comment Link Cheryl OGrady Tuesday, 04 November 2014 08:43

    You will need to remove me from your celebrant list as I am no longer registered.

    I am situated in a remote rural village of population 466 (which did NOT appear on the designated 'remote areas' map and so I had not been performing a huge number of ceremonies around the district. I could not afford the extra fee on top of OPD costs and thought it inappropriate that I pass the fee on to struggling rural people.

    It was disappointing there appears to have been little consultation with celebrants in the rural context and I suspect there would be other good people culled in the process further inconveniencing country people. Thank you.


  • Comment Link Wayne Lentsment Monday, 03 November 2014 18:53

    Could we have in writing a consistent Attorney General sanctioned Australia-wide mandatory Celebrant Announcement which can be recited at the wedding ceremony and fully clarifies the validity of the 'office of celebrant, the monitum and the asking and vows' elements in a wedding ceremony.

    Could members of an Incorporated and Authorised Celebrant Association be automatically registered with the Attorney General's Department at the time of their OPD.


  • Comment Link Helen Scott Monday, 03 November 2014 18:21

    There have been so many complaints from celebrants regarding the quality and content of OPD, the program having been in progress since 2003.Many celebrants have expressed the reason for attending OPD is to catch up with other celebrants, or just to get it over with. The scope of worthwhile topics is ever diminishing and I believe that celebrants should only be required to complete OPD on a compulsory basis for a period of 5 years.


  • Comment Link Pamela Murray-Jones Monday, 03 November 2014 15:44

    I have now completed 3 years of OPD and believe that annual OPD is an unnecessary burden, particularly for those recently trained and those who belong to an association such as AMC that daily publishes questions and answers on celebrancy matters.

    Professions like accountants, company directors, solicitors etc can claim membership activities as part of OPD requirements.

    Why not celebrants?

    Secondly theses organisations can do their legal updates online for free through their associations- why not celebrants? This would reduce both time and cost in a profession of largely part-timers who make very little income from their duties.


  • Comment Link Brian Loomes Monday, 03 November 2014 10:30

    Good morning,
    What is the present position regarding the new NIM form which comes into effect as and from 1 Jan 15. Presume we can purchase from CANPRINT or download.

  • Comment Link Kathy McKimm Wednesday, 22 October 2014 16:28

    Early in August an Australian man and his Indonesian bride to be approached me via email and asked me to be their celebrant for wedding in Victoria in October. They downloaded the Notice of Intention to Marry, had signatures witnessed by Notary and scanned and emailed a copy to me which i duly received 7 August. They took the Notice along with letter from me for Visa application, to the Australian Embassy in Jakarta where unfortunately, the original was handed over and not returned. Only days before the wedding the groom to be realised this error and made unsuccessful attempts to retrieve the document. For a few days, I tried many and varied ways to help the couple.
    1. Emailed the Vic BDM marked urgent and 5 days later still have not received a reply.
    2. Visited the local branch of BDM who told me i must have the original Notice, and phoned her hotline to BDM Melbourne who told me that I must have the original Notice or i couldn't conduct the marriage.
    3. Phoned AG office in Canberra and was told that they received several of these 'lost Notices' each week and the answer is the same for everyone - I must have the original document. Scanned emailed document is not sufficient and I cannot conduct the ceremony as a legal marriage.
    4. Visited the local Court and was told by the clerk that she didn't think the situation would come under the allowable reasons for a Shortening of time. However, she gave me directions for downloading the form and that couple must apply as soon as they arrive in Australia. (which is today and the wedding is Sunday)
    5. I emailed the highest authority i could find on the website of Australian Embassy in Jakarta Indonesia, outlining the exact problem and asking for assistance in returning the document to the couple by yesterday, or to send it to me ASAP so i could lodge the form with my other marriage documents. I received a broken English reply directing me to a website to apply for a visa.
    6. Can you imagine my relief, when groom to be emailed yesterday afternoon to say they had been successful in obtaining the original Notice from the Australian Embassy.
    7. I have learned a lot BUT the problem remains. Is a scanned emailed copy not a legal document??? and whenever will that be rectified???


  • Comment Link Rona Goold Thursday, 09 October 2014 12:51

    A celebrant colleague told me yesterday that they had received a letter about their non-compliance with professional development (OPD).

    Apparently the AGD told this person the AGD would waive their 2013 OPD requirements provided this person completed their 2014 OPD.

    I think this is wrong.

    I pay a fee to belong to several celebrant associations (some offer different professional support services); pay to have Professional Indemnity and Public Liability Insurance; I pay for Copyright Licence, and to have a quality PA system (just had to upgrade at an extra expense due to government sale of frequencies - outside my control) and other celebrancy equipment, clothing etc; I pay for my annual OPD; AND this year the $240 Fee (which the Act discriminates against me as a Commonwealth marriage celebrant - the other 2/3 rds of marriage celebrants are not charged).

    This Annual fee was supposed to be for “regulation”. So how is it that celebrants who did not do OPD last year can be let off the hook with no requirement to do an extra 5 hours OPD this year?

    I did not agree with the fee, but I thought that paying this would get rid of the 3,000 odd celebrants we were told had not done OPD back several years.

    Seems to me that those of us who do the right thing, pay all these expenses to offer a professional service to the marrying public are being treated as “mugs”.

    We are told two-thirds of celebrants don’t belong to associations. I suppose that means these celebrants who have not done OPD, probably don’t pay for all the other things that are necessary if one really wants to offer a professional service. And now they can get away with doing no OPD as well.

    What position does CoCA have on this situation? How can these AGD lawyers let these celebrants who have not done their OPD get away with not doing what the law requires they do?


  • Comment Link A stressed Celebrant Wednesday, 01 October 2014 14:33

    Case: I received a letter notice of intent to deregister you as a marriage celebrant.
    Section 39FB of the Marriage Act 1961 outlines the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants’ responsibility to commence deregistration proceedings as a consequence of non-payment of the celebrant registration charge within the specific time frame. Our records show that you have not paid your charge which was due on 7 September 2014.

    Reason :
    My email address was incorrect in registry and I never received an invoice to pay. Although registry had my correct email address for all other communication as I had filled in the consent to receive electronic communication with incorrect email
    Address I did not receive the Invoice

    Next Step : I rang the AGs office on the same say and pleaded that this was a honest mistake and happy to pay the payment at once and happy to pay any fines. This was both Written and verbal communication . However I was advised the only way they this can be approached is going to Administrative Appeals Tribunal, this was communicated both written and verbal communication and I was told there is no other option , I tried to get opinion /feedback/ input from the professional association ( celebrant) but no one was helpful hence

    I contacted AAT who were very efficient and sympathetic took my case with an Instant charge of $861.00 and asked me to lodge a Stay order to retain my registration . And they communicated my intensions to AGS office within 72 Hours. I realised I need to work on this further as I found no support group or people willing to help me other than AAT. I drafted a complain letter to AGS office giving all details including the all communication I had from AGS office to the correct email.

    Out come :
    The day after this complaint letter I got a phone call from AGS office stating they are happy review my situation and if I pay the $240 at once they will withdraw the intent to deregister. Which I did and I was communicated Via email they have recived the money and no further action needed.
    I have communicated the matter to AAT and advised that I am expecting some of the fees be refunded, not heard back at this point in time


  • Comment Link LenM Friday, 19 September 2014 19:40

    Dear all

    You may be interested in these comments from the AG's Dept. See email trail below ..


    From: Marriage Celebrants Section (Email Address) []
    Sent: Wednesday, 17 September 2014 1:55 PM
    To: Masson, Leonard James
    Subject: Response: NIM DEFICIENCIES CRM:0056455

    Dear Mr Masson

    Thank you for your email of 13 September commenting on the new forms for use under the Marriage Act 1961 and the Marriage Regulations 1963.

    Your comments will be used to inform future revisions of the forms. The Department will be undertaking a broad consultation on the forms later in the year.

    For up-to-date information on the forms, please visit our website at

    I hope that this information is of assistance.

    Kind regards,
    Sarah Jane

    Enquiries Team | Marriage Law and Celebrants Section
    Australian Government
    Attorney-General’s Department

    ------------------- Original Message -------------------
    From: Masson, Leonard James
    Received: 13/09/2014 9:17 PM
    To: Marriage Celebrants Section (Email Address)

    Dear all

    I wish to comment again on the Notice of Intended Marriage form.

    Page 2 has a section where an Australian passport or a foreign passport may be used.

    If I use an Australian passport for the bridegroom, and cross out the word “foreign”, then what do I do when the bride then presents her foreign passport?

    The wording or format need s to be amended please.

    I would appreciate your comments.

    Thank you

    Len MASSON
    Marriages By Appointment
    Wagga Wagga NSW 2650

    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant NAME SUPPLIED & VERIFIED

  • Comment Link Sharon Norris Sunday, 14 September 2014 16:14

    Can you please advise what the situation is with State/Territory authorised celebrants conducting civil weddings outside the BDM/Courthouse environment? Are they allowed to do this? I was led to believe they are not allowed to solemnise marriages outside BDM/Courthouse and were only authorised to use the State/Territory authorised ceremony (ie. registry office ceremony). This is happening where I live and it's unfair. I can't walk into a BDM or Courthouse and conduct a wedding there. I've searched for the person's name on the Marriage Register and it only comes up with an official title - Registrar.

    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant NAME SUPPLIED & VERIFIED

  • Comment Link Kerry Anne Clements Saturday, 13 September 2014 19:15

    I would like to comment on the the issue which is on my mind at the moment. - I am not really happy about having a 3yr old Mipro PA system, requiring a brand new microphone and the frequency part, costing just over $500.00, because of the Govt. frequency changes. It would have been good if the Govt had offered a subsidy to have this done. It seemed, for me, like throwing money away. Is there any likelihood of this happening for Celebrants?
    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant NAME SUPPLIED & VERIFIED

  • Comment Link Sue Lee-Archer Sunday, 07 September 2014 15:39

    Much is said about the MLCS being slack/sloppy/useless/law-unto-itself, etc.
    But, I would like to give them a sizeable Brownie Point for recent service.

    After exhausting my own resources, I had to phone and enquire about an issue on behalf of clients. The phone was answered immediately; the guy was very polite and helpful but was unable to answer my question himself, so asked a superior; superior asked for the facts in writing; first guy apologised, and asked me to email the full story; said as it was more complex than usual it might take a week to respond.

    I received an email in 8 days, and I thought that was pretty good, as they had taken care to address the queries I raised, and didn't forget to get back to me.

    Thank you, kind sirs. You earned a bit of what we pay you that week.

    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant NAME SUPPLIED & VERIFIED

  • Comment Link Karyn Diamond Sunday, 07 September 2014 06:46

    The whole process of registration is wrong. Nurses and teachers with earing capacity if $55,000-$184,000 pay approx $160 to register annually.
    Compare this with celebrants.
    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant NAME SUPPLIED & VERIFIED

  • Comment Link Wayne Lentsment Friday, 05 September 2014 15:29

    Could any registered celebrant become a member of COCA without having to be a member of an Association?
    If , in the future, ALL celebrants (civil and non civil) become register-able with AG Department, and pay their fees etc. can the non-civil celebrants form their own association and drive the agenda from their (proposed new) platform?

    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant NAME SUPPLIED & VERIFIED

    CoCA is an association of associations. ie CoCA does not have individual celebrants as members, rather celebrant delegates nominated from the member associations.

    Currently there are 3 groups of Marriage Celebrants:
    1. Subdivision A Ministers of Recognised Religions - currently 120 separate religious organisations ( approx. 23,000 celebrants)
    2. Subdivision B Marriage Officers of Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages who perform civil marriages ( approx. 700 celebrants)
    3. Subdivision C independent Commonwealth Marriage Celebrants comprised of two groups a. Those performing civil marriages ( approx. 8,600 celebrants) and b. Those performing religious marriages. ( approx. 700 celebrants) @ 1.9.14

    If your question relates to group 3Cb celebrants there is nothing from preventing them from forming their own associations. However, due to their small numbers and diversity of faiths is this unlikely. Some celebrant associations do offer membership to this group.
    If your question related to group 1A, many people would argue that this group already has power to influence government decisions.

  • Comment Link Brian H Davies Thursday, 04 September 2014 16:21

    Now that Clive Palmer has ruined a lot of the current government's ability to raise revenue, it may be a good time for someone in COCA to get the ear of George Brandis & the Treasurer and state the bleeding obvious.
    The Government would raise more revenue by introducing a Marriage License fee like most other countries and reverse the annual fee for celebrants. eg.
    Ten thousand celebrants x $240.= $2.4 million dollars
    whereas one hundred thousand marriage licenses, @ $100.00 each = $10 million dollars.

    The treasurer & the AG would have to be blind not to see the obvious.

    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant

    Agreed. In the last 3 years, CoCA repeated put a fee per all couples as other countries do, which would have been a much fairer system given the importance of marriage in our community, and the need for more education as to its role and functions in multicultural Australia. Seems neither the previous nor current government have been able to seriously address this issue yet.

  • Comment Link Jennifer Grierson Thursday, 04 September 2014 16:00

    why does the password system on the A/G portal often not work, and has to be re-set?

    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant NAME SUPPLIED & VERIFIED

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