Here are the priority questions I think should be dealt with by the meeting of the December 2, 2014.
- The possibility of a new understanding of the relationship between the Attorney-General’s Department and working celebrants. i.e. Public Servants who are informed, supportive, and interested in what celebrants can do for individuals and society. AND celebrants who are informed with the knowledge of the history and purpose of civil celebrancy and who possess an attitude of cooperation.
- A thorough teaching of Section 48 of the Marriage Act – especially the last sentence of 48 (3). see – http://www.collegeofcelebrancy.com/pages4/Sect_48-Marriage_Act.html
- A Transfer of Section 39A to M – the powers of the registrar – to, mutatis mutandis, standing orders within the department – and the powers and responsibility be returned to the accountable minister i.e. to the Attorney-General.
- That public servants dealing with celebrants undergo a course of training in the nature and evolution of ceremony, the importance of culture, the psychological power of memorable events, and the nature of society. The course should include attendance at celebrant weddings, funerals, namings, and other secular ceremonies — with reports and critiques.
- There should be a serious ceremony at which celebrants are inducted into the profession, attended by the Attorney-General or his equal.
- That the Attorney-General assist celebrants expose our exploitation by Funeral Directors, who effectively control fees by not sub-contracting any celebrant who does not conform to their low fee, thus depressing standards.
There are many more issues which I have outlined in fate following articles and blogs:
I would like to ask the Attorney-General to consider the following.
- ISSUE A STATEMENT OR WRITE A LETTER TO ALL CELEBRANTS – encouraging them to observe high standards in ceremony .i.e. to deliver ceremonies of substance, meaning and beauty – well prepared and well rehearsed – and with dignity. (this has not been done for at least 15 years).
- REVERSE SECTION 39 OF OF THE MARRIAGE ACT. This provision was the central part of the Downgrading of 2003. This section outlines an extensive list of powers and gives detailed authority to an unaccountable and relatively junior public servant — with predictably disastrous results. All these powers, before the Downgrading of 2003, were the prerogative of the elected and accountable Attorney-General, to whom they should be restored.
- REVERSE THE RULE ALLOWING ONLY CANPRINT THE RIGHT AND THE CONTRACT TO PUBLISH MARRIAGE CERTIFICATES FOR THE PARTIES (Form 15).
The public and celebrants were delighted when the Celebrants Centre and some others printed professionally designed Marriage Certificates on worthy light cardboard. The previous Registrar ruled against this and required that all certificates be numbered and printed only by Canprint.
- IMPLEMENT AN INDEFINITE MORATORIUM ON APPOINTMENTS.
Once 1600 celebrants serviced the whole of Australia. 2500 celebrants would be an oversupply – but, for the same number of marriages, Now Australia has nearly 11,000 !! The new provisions, in their crude way will reduce numbers, but unless more is done, the low standards currently will deteriorate further. Expertise cannot be developed or maintained unless celebrants are engaged regularly.
- HELP US GAIN THE RIGHT TO CHARGE OUR OWN FEES FOR FUNERAL CELEBRANCY.
(now set by collusion, by the Funeral Directors)
- AUSTRALIA NEEDS AN ADOLESCENCE CEREMONY TO BOND YOUNG PEOPLE WITH THEIR FAMILIES AND THE COMMUNITY.
We have the celebrants with the expertise and idealism but we cannot do it without help from, and the support of, the Federal Government.
I could add much more to this, but I would love to ask the Minister to take an interest in his obligations to the cultural life of our country. I have given most of my life to celebrancy (most of it voluntarily) only to see most of the gains we have made destroyed by some public servants, who attempted to “build an empire”. They have near destroyed a program which has changed the face of Australia for the better at a very deep level.