There’s a lot of talk about weddings coming back as COVID-19 restrictions are eased. This is not an article about when and what restrictions are being eased, but a reminder as to how Australia works and how to know if weddings are a) allowed or legal, b) when they’re allowed, c) what will be allowed.
This article does remind you though how Australian governance works.
You see, Australia as a nation is a lovely idea, but really, you live in a state. That state, be it Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, or a constant state of joy, has made a number of decisions as to how certain things are governed. Many things are a state business, and they have then handed many things on to the Commonwealth of Australia for their governance. This article is an oversimplification of a complex structure, so please don’t quote me anywhere.
Basically, Queensland for example, has decided that Policing is a Queensland government concern, but marriage is a Commonwealth government concern. This is extra fun for marriage celebrants, where marriage is a Commonwealth government concern, but the recording of marriage is a Queensland government concern. In a similar fashion, the administration of the marriage celebrants program is a Commonwealth government concern, the administration of businesses in Perth that might do paperwork marriage ceremonies is a Western Australian government concern. So as a marriage celebrant you need to know what parts of your business are a Commonwealth concern and what parts of your business are a state government concern. If you want to take it one step further, you can also enquire as to what role your local government plays in your business, apart from rubbish removal and water supply.
Basically, if the country was a worksite, the states are the contractors doing the actual work, the Commonwealth is kind of like the foreman on a worksite, and the local government is the workplace health and safety officer.
And no, I’m not sure where the territories fall into this metaphor.
So what about COVID-19 restrictions
The main minister of the government in charge of Australia, some might call him the prime guy, the Prime Minister, has a broad calling. He is the leader of the Commonwealth of Australia, well, his party is, and he’s the leader of the party until the party decides otherwise. The PM gets on TV and makes lots of calls about lots of business related to COVID-19 restrictions.
But so many of these restrictions are actually put in place by, and governed by, the state government.
So the Commonwealth government might spruik great ideas like level 1, 2, and 3 easing of the restrictions, but each state and territory actually gets to decide what they do with the Prime Minister’s ideas, and especially for us to note, when that happens, and to what degrees.
I’m not going to mention any dates, levels, numbers, or figures in this article, because the second I publish it they’ll be out of date.
But go to the websites below to get the latest information. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, go to Facebook groups, your friends, don’t call the Attorney-General’s office, don’t call the BDM, do not worry, do not stress. Just look at the information provided on your state’s website and act with that information.
Everyone else, including me, is just making it up if it’s not on the state’s website.
What to do with the information
If the state government says you can do a wedding, then you can. If it says how many people can attend, at this stage, if it’s not specified already, I’m guessing that a statement like “10 people can attend a wedding” is exclusionary of the couple and a celebrant, but read the information provided by your state.
My personal read of the situation is that ceremonies with more than two witnesses are not far away for all states, ceremonies with up to 100 people in an outdoor fashion are in the near future, and plain old boring weddings without restrictions are god knows how far away.
Just remember, that at no point through this have you been banned from going to work. Your business as a celebrant is work, and you have not once been banned or stopped from going about your business. You have been advised to stay at home and if you can work from home, then to do that. So stay safe, be wise, leave all the Facebook groups because they’re mostly making us stupider, and go out there and marry someone, to someone else, because you’re really awesome at that!