ACL has welcomed a commitment from the Coalition that, if elected, they will provide $200 vouchers for couples getting married to encourage them to use marriage education, counselling or parenting programs.

Speaking at an annual National Marriage Day celebration dinner last Thursday night (August 12) the Shadow Minister for Families, Kevin Andrews, announced a new policy to support and strengthen Australian marriages. Click here for more details.

In a media release about the new policy, Liberal Senator Guy Barnett, said the vouchers would be redeemable before or after the wedding, for an approved marriage education, counselling or parenting service.

Senator Barnett said that two generations ago, the Coalition introduced support for marriage education and counselling and expanded these policies when last in government to include parenting skills programs.

He said that while these services have been shown to be beneficial in identifying and resolving marital problems, they are still underutilised. Accordingly, the Coalition will provide funding to enable more couples to utilise these services.

Senator Barnett said the Coalition will also slash red tape for agencies that provide family relationship services, saving them considerable expense.

Senator Barnett also welcomed an announcement by Mr Andrews that, if the Coalition was elected, he would take a proposal to establish a National Marriage Day to cabinet for consideration.

“Marriage is one of the great institutions on which our society is built,” Senator Barnett said.

“The establishment of a National Marriage Day would send a message that marriage is worthy of protection and support. Marriage provides for a stable family and is the umbrella under which children are nurtured and grow.”

It is six years since the Marriage Amendment Act 2004 defining marriage as between a man and a woman was passed by both houses of federal parliament with the support of both major parties. This definition of marriage was again affirmed by the parliament in a vote in early 2010.