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Making marriage easier and more accessible

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP
Media Release

Amendments to the Marriage Act 1961 introduced today will provide couples with a modern and convenient way to start the legal paperwork for their wedding.

The proposed amendments will allow a Notice of Intended Marriage (the NOIM) to be witnessed via videoconferencing, rather than in person. Remote witnessing will provide greater access and convenience for marrying couples, especially those in rural, remote or regional parts of Australia.

The remote witnessing option has been in place as a temporary measure since December 2021 in response to COVID-19. This amendment will make it permanent.

Remote witnessing of the NOIM by authorised witnesses, in Australia and overseas, will provide a more convenient way for couples to meet the requirement to give a minimum one month notice before a marriage can be solemnised under the Marriage Act.

Marrying couples will be able to continue to sign and witness the NOIM in person, through the traditional, paper-based method, if they choose.

To ensure that safeguards for real consent to a marriage are maintained, a complementary amendment requires authorised celebrants to meet independently and in person with each party to a marriage before they solemnise a marriage.

The amendments will also confirm the requirement for the physical presence of all parties, including the authorised celebrant and two official witnesses, on the day of the marriage.