Civil Celebrant program in Australia 2015

This is to my friend Charles Foley. Giving my ideas on how to improve the Civil Marriage Celebrant program in Australia

Dear Charles
I have sent you these before but I still think they are relevant. The charging of  extra money has only solved the numbers problem to a very small extent. Once enthusiastic celebrants have lost interest – celebrancy has become only a small part of their lives. I have observed that because of the excessive numbers fewer come to celebrant meetings, and the ignorance shown on email forums is disheartening (I am a member of 3). 2000 celebrants would be plenty for this country but we have 8000, we used to have 11,000 we have 6000 in excess which leads to all the degrading of our role because of over competition and the lowest standards of ceremony in our history. I suggest a moratorium (with rare exceptions) – it might take five or ten years. Or thorough independent testing and assessments for applicants? (the applicant pays)
There have been many articles lately in the media on the exploitation of the government and the people by the plethora of Mickey mouse courses run by money makers — and not educationists. RTOs are generally bad across the board. TAFEs are going broke. Why are we in this system? We don’t have to be.
Citizenship Ceremonies
And then there are the possibilities for getting celebrants more involved in society and the culture. The late Tom Powell tried to get the government to approve celebrants (or selected celebrants) to preside at individual citizenship ceremonies. The person becomes an Australian citizen when they take the pledge in a ceremony. Then and only then. People who do not wish to go to a big ceremony, or who live in an area where the ceremonies are usually “sterile”, could opt to have a celebrant. Could the Department and the organisations work on this instead of legal trivia. Imagine how this would lift status, morale and enthusiasm.
 Here are my topics for the meeting which appear to me to come under the purview of the general agenda: the issues I raised before are still relevant. I have highlighted no. 4 in red because this is what should be 90% of any celebrant courses and OPD. Can you imagine a forum of surgeons ceaselessly talking about how to run an office, how to fill in the forms, how to market yourself better than other surgeons – instead of talking about what really matters – surgery that works, that saves lives, that help people regain health, and improves the body beautiful?
  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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 elected and accountable minister i.e. to the Attorney-General.
  4. 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 – a thorough knowledge of the art and delivery of ceremony. Resources should be extensive.
  5. There should be a serious ceremony at which celebrants are inducted into the profession, attended by the Attorney-General or his equal.
  6. 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 other issues which I have outlined in the following articles and blogs:

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