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Tuesday, 10 December 1974
Page: 3255

Senator JESSOP (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - When did the AttorneyGeneral appoint Miss Morosi as a marriage celebrant? As I understand it, she has performed a number of ceremonies at a fee of between $15 and $30 since she has acted in this capacity. Will the Minister provide specific details concerning the number of marriages celebrated and the total amount of fees paid to her since she has officiated at such ceremonies?

Senator MURPHY - I suppose she would have performed the ceremonies during approximately the last 12 months because I think it was only about 12 months ago- it may have been a little more than that; in September 1973- that the first celebrants were appointed. The appointments of Miss Fuller, Mrs Lois D'Arcy and Miss Morosi were given nation-wide publicity on television and in the Press.

Senator Marriott - Who arranged that?

Senator MURPHY -I think they would be quite capable of arranging it for themselves. If Miss Morosi has charged between $10 or $15 and $30 for performing ceremonies, it appears that she has charged strictly in accordance with the regulations that govern these matters. There are regulations that provide for a fee of $5 for dealing with a notice of intended marriage, interviewing the parties and so on, and seeing that all is in order. The regulations provide for a fee of $ 10 if the marriage is performed at the home of the celebrant or a registry office in business hours, an extra $5 if it is performed outside business hours and an extra $10 if it is performed up to 30 kilometres away from the home of the celebrant or the registry office. So that means a marriage performed on a weekday at the home of a celebrant would cost $10 for the ceremony plus $5 for the notice of intended marriage. If the marriage were performed on, say, a weekend up to 30 kilometres away from the home of the celebrant in total the cost would be $30. 1 suppose the numbers of the ceremonies could be obtained.

As the honourable senator is interested in the question of celebrants, I should inform him that there are celebrants other than Miss Morosi and that some of them have been recommended by members of his own Party in this House or the other House. They have been appointed and have carried out their duties very well. I think the Leader of the Opposition is the latest applicant for permission to act as a marriage celebrant. I have agreed to appoint him, but my course of action has been in contradistinction to some of the ways in which the Opposition appears to treat the Government. Had I simply acceded to his request to appoint him, it would of course have disqualified him from holding office. I have taken great care to protect him and some weeks ago directed that a special regulation be made to protect his position. This regulation is being drafted and should become law in time for the Leader of the Opposition to perform the marriage that he wants to perform. I suppose that is an interesting reflection upon the different ways in which the Government and the Opposition treat one another in this House.

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