Coalition of Celebrant Associations

Australia’s Peak Celebrant Body

1.0 Guiding Principles

It is recommended that the Attorney General, in aiming to increase professionalism of marriage celebrants and ensure the ongoing viability of the Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant Program be guided by the following principles:

  1. A professional model of celebrancy as “professional ceremonialists” is the most appropriate model upon which to base the future development of celebrancy.

    The definition of a professional ceremonialist is a person who adheres to high ethical standards.

    They uphold themselves to, and are accepted by the public as possessing special knowledge and skills in creating appropriate dignified and meaningful ceremonies to meet the needs of individuals, couples, families and communities and use key elements of ritual and ceremony.

    In the provision of their marriage services, they exercise their knowledge and skills to meet the requirements of the Commonwealth Marriage act 1961 and its Regulations.
    • a.    Increasing professionalism requires strengthening those characteristics associated with the traditional meaning of the word '‘profession”. (refer Appendix A)
    • b.    Business skills are required of all independent professionals, but that does not define them as only businesses. Considering celebrancy as a small business only, ‘unprotected’ by government and regulated by market forces for a once in a life- time event is not appropriate because that approach has not worked. Many celebrants do not consider themselves a small business and do not operate as such.
    • c.    It is not appropriate for a government program based upon government appointment
    • d.    The original program with a set fee model remains inappropriate as the role requires, under the Marriage Celebrant’s Regulation Code of Practice (37L), the delivery of personalised ceremonies. Thus remuneration needs to be tailored to the level of work done by the celebrant, the worth of the celebrant’s skills and resources, and their costs in providing their assets and services.

  2. Acknowledging and respecting that marriage celebrancy services are part-time services for most marriage celebrants.
    • a.    Any fee needs to be based upon the capacity of marriage celebrants to make income from marriage work alone, not be subsidised by other means of income. The vast majority earn a part-time income at the most. Thus cost recovery needs to be set at a level commensurate with part-time work.

  3. A limit to the number of celebrants on a regional basis.
    a.    to ensure the Marriage Celebrant Program serves the community in providing a stable system of competent independent marriage celebrant services in an equitable manner.
    b.    to ensure the sector continues to increase in professional development of services – rather than becoming a “revolving door” of brand new inexperienced celebrants replacing older still relatively inexperienced marriage celebrants, with an annual massive loss of people’s time, financial and other resources.

  4. Utilising existing systems and services in training, education, administration, resource delivery.
    a.    to maximise the competence and professionalism of celebrants entering the Marriage Celebrancy Sector and to retain experienced competent celebrants.
    b.    to ensure that marriage services delivered by all marriage celebrants (Recognised religious, BDM staff and independent Marriage Celebrants) are of a high quality.

  5. Ensuring that the majority of the work done by the MLCS is in line with its primary national role in making law and marriage law policy decisions.
    a.    To ensure that the implemented measures will increase the professionalism of all celebrants, without causing financial hardship to existing celebrants.
    b.    MLCS will continue to provide indirect, supportive services, not direct services.
    c.    to ensure the Marriage Act and Regulations are administered by the MLCS nationally in an equitable manner across all jurisdictions, and reviewed regularly.

  6. Making the MLCS effective in quality and cost efficient in utilising state of the art computer and IT based systems.
    a. to minimise staffing and manual labour, and not duplicate knowledge and skills available in other sectors such as Registry Offices and Celebrant Associations
    b. to provide statistical information on a range of items.

  7. Fees charged to Civil Celebrants must be directly related to work that is done for the MLCS’s compliance responsibilities
    a. cost recovery for appointments of new marriage celebrants needs to be obtained from those applying for authorisation
    b. costs for all other functions of the MLCS that can be related to all marriage celebrants need to be recovered from all celebrants, not just Commonwealth appointed marriage celebrants.
Cost Recovery:

Cost recovery needs to ensure the most effective and efficient use of the overall system of delivery of marriage services to the whole Australian community, by utilising the various stakeholders according to their primary role, their expertise and practical experience in delivering marriage services.

Read more … see TABLE OF CONTENTS
Back to top