Constitution of Belconnen Community Council Incorporated

Preamble

The Belconnen area has many community groups, associations, organisations and clubs. All have specific functions by which they cater for differing needs in the community. Although there may sometimes seem to be similarities, even duplication, of purpose, each provides a valuable community service and greatly benefits Belconnen as a whole.

At the same time, this wide divergence of activity can limit collective effectiveness. The role of the Belconnen Community Council is to focus this local community effort into a cohesive, strong and active forum that is truly representative of the people of Belconnen.

Table of Contents


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1

Preliminary

1.1
Name of the Association

1.1.1

The name of the Association is Belconnen Community Council Incorporated. The short title is Council.

1.2
Objectives

1.2.1

The objectives of Council are to:

  • foster a community identity;
  • provide a local forum;
  • provide a strong local voice to ensure the interests of the Belconnen community are promoted when commenting on Government strategic policy initiatives;
  • address all matters of local concern;
  • ensure that legislators and officials are fully informed of community needs and expectations;
  • establish communications locally and regionally;
  • initiate, support and undertake any appropriate action advantageous for the community or any community group approved by Council;
  • ensure that party politics do not impede or override community wishes;
  • preserve all facilities and services expected by the community; and
  • maintain and improve the quality of life in Belconnen.
1.3
Definitions

1.3.1

In this Constitution:

ACT means the Australian Capital Territory.

Belconnen means the area of the Australian Capital Territory that from time to time is described by the Australian Capital Territory Planning and Land Authority as the District of Belconnen.

financial year means the year ending on 30 June.

general meeting is one that is open to all members of the public. It might be an ordinary General Meeting, a Special General Meeting or an Annual General Meeting.

member means a member, however described, of Council.

ordinary committee member means a member of the committee who is not an office-bearer of the association as mentioned in sub-paragraph 3.3.1.

secretary means the person holding office under this Constitution as Secretary of Council or, if no such person holds that office, the Public Officer of Council.

the Act means the Associations Incorporation Act 1991 (ACT).

the Regulation means the Associations Incorporation Regulation 1991 (ACT).

written instruction and written notice shall be taken to include electronic communications such as e-mail.

books and records shall be taken to include electronic records such as spreadsheets.

1.4
Application of Legislation Act 2001 (ACT)

1.4.1

The Legislation Act 2001 (ACT) applies to this Constitution in the same way as it would if it were an instrument made under it.

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2

Membership

2.1
Nominal Membership

2.1.1

Nominal membership of Council automatically applies to any person who:

  1. resides in Belconnen; or
  2. owns or operates a business or other establishment in Belconnen; or
  3. is employed in a business, government department, or other establishment in Belconnen; or
  4. is enrolled as a student in a secondary college or tertiary institution in Belconnen.

2.1.2

A person who is a Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly, or a Member of the Commonwealth Parliament (House of Representatives or the Senate), for any electorate covering all or part of Belconnen is deemed to be a Nominal member.

2.2
Active Membership

2.2.1

A person is deemed to have become an Active member if that person, being eligible for Nominal membership under sub-paragraph 2.1.1, attends a General Meeting of Council and signs the Attendance Register.

2.2.2

A person who does not qualify for Nominal membership, but who has, or declares he or she has, a substantial interest in Belconnen affairs, may be accepted as an Active member by a General Meeting, or by the Committee subject to the right of a General Meeting to rescind the Committee’s action. The Secretary must advise the names of all members accepted by the Committee under this sub-paragraph at the General Meeting following acceptance.

2.3
Register of Active Members

2.3.1

The Secretary shall maintain a Register of Active Members of Council including the following details:

  1. the name of the person; and
  2. the e-mail address or other contact address; and
  3. residential suburb; and
  4. basis for entitlement to membership; and
  5. the date the membership commenced; and
  6. if the membership has ceased, the date the membership ceased.

2.4

Membership entitlements not transferable

2.4.1

A right, privilege, or obligation that a person has because of their membership of Council:

  1. cannot be transferred or transmitted to another person; and
  2. terminates on cessation of the person’s membership
2.5
Cessation of membership

2.5.1

A person who became an Active member under sub-paragraph 2.2.1 is deemed to have resigned their Active membership if that person has not attended a General Meeting during two complete consecutive financial years of Council.

2.5.2

A person accepted as an Active member under sub-paragraph 2.2.2 is deemed to have resigned their Active membership if that person has not, without seeking leave of absence or apologising in advance, attended a General Meeting of Council for a six- month period.

2.5.3

A person ceases to be an Active member of Council if the member:

  1. dies; or
  2. resigns their membership by providing written notice to the Secretary; or
  3. is expelled by a Resolution of the Committee.

2.5.6

When a person ceases to be an Active member of Council, the Secretary shall enter in the Register of Active Members the date the person ceased to be an Active member.

2.5.7

A person ceases to be a Nominal member of Council if the member

  1. no longer meets the requirements of Nominal membership described at sub-paragraph 2.1.1; or
  2. resigns their membership by notifying any member of the Committee.
2.6
Disciplining of members

2.6.1

If the Committee receives information indicating that a member has:

  1. refused or neglected to comply with the provisions of this Constitution; or
  2. has acted in a manner prejudicial to the objectives and interests of Council; or
  3. has acted in a manner that brings Council into disrepute,

the Committee, after consultation with the member, shall determine appropriate action. Such action may include suspension or cancellation of membership.

2.6.2

Any disciplinary decision taken by the Committee must be referred for consideration at the immediately following General Meeting of Council to which the affected member is to be specifically invited to attend.

2.6.3

A Resolution of the meeting referred to in sub-paragraph 2.6.2 may endorse in initial or modified form the disciplinary decision of the Committee. If there is no such Resolution, the disciplinary decision of the Committee will be deemed to have never been taken.

2.6.4

Following the General Meeting referred to in paragraph 2.6.2, the Secretary shall provide written notice within seven days to the affected member setting out the complaint(s) and the determination of the Meeting.

2.6.5

There is no right of appeal against a Resolution made under sub-paragraph 2.6.3.

2.6.6

Where a person has their Active membership of Council suspended or cancelled under sub-paragraph 2.6.3, that person is not eligible to resume Active membership of Council for such period as the Committee may determine.

2.7
Fees and Subscriptions

2.7.1

Council shall not levy any membership fees or subscriptions payable as a condition of membership.

2.8
Members’ Liability

The liability of members is limited. No individual member of Council is liable for any debts or liabilities incurred by Council.

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3

The Committee

3.1
Powers

3.1.1

The Committee, subject to the Act, the Regulations, this Constitution, and any Resolution passed by eligible members of Council in General Meeting:

  1. controls and manages the affairs of Council; and
  2. may exercise all functions that may be exercised by Council other than those functions that are required by this Constitution to be exercised by Council in General Meeting; and
  3. has power to perform all acts and do all things that appear to the Committee to be necessary or desirable for the proper management of the affairs of Council.

3.1.2

Where circumstances from time to time make it expedient or convenient to do so, the Committee may act as a specific purpose subcommittee, and is authorised to co-opt additional persons to assist.

3.2
Role

3.2.1

The role of the Committee is to manage the business and the affairs of the Association including:

  1. subject to confirmation by a General Meeting, making Rules for this Constitution and altering, amending or rescinding such Rules. Rules have full force and effect provided they are consistent with the objects and other rules of this Constitution;
  2. approving ordinary expenditure of funds of the Association; and
  3. subject to confirmation by a General Meeting appointing honorary staff and committees not elsewhere mentioned; and
  4. nominating or appointing persons, who need not necessarily be members of the Association, to such outside bodies as request Council to nominate or appoint persons to such bodies, or to which it is customary for Council to nominate or appoint persons; and
  5. affiliating Council formally (by resolution at a General Meeting) or informally with other incorporated associations who share similar objectives with a view to collaboration that may be beneficial to Belconnen residents or businesses; and
  6. overseeing and coordinating the actions of the Committee or any sub-committee.
3.3
Structure and terms of office.

3.3.1

The Committee consists of:

  1. the Executive; and
  2. at least three and up to eight Ordinary Committee Members; and
  3. all persons appointed or elected to chair a sub-committee

3.3.2

The members of the Executive are:

  1. the Chairperson; and
  2. the Deputy Chairperson; and
  3. the Treasurer*; and
  4. the Secretary*.

* Secretary/Treasurer may be a combined appointment.

3.3.3

Each member of the Committee holds office, subject to these rules, from the end of the Annual General Meeting at which they were elected (or from the date of the member’s appointment or co-option) until the conclusion of the next Annual General Meeting, but is eligible for re-election.

3.3.4

If there is a vacancy in the membership of the Committee, the Committee may appoint an eligible member as defined in sub-paragraph 3.4.1 to fill the vacancy and the member so appointed holds office, subject to these rules, until the conclusion of the next Annual General Meeting after the date of the appointment.

3.3.5

A Public Officer must be appointed as required by the Act. The Public Officer may be a member of the Committee and, if not already a member of the Committee, is an ex officio member of the Committee. The appointment of the Public Officer is only terminated by retirement, a Resolution passed at a General Meeting or dismissal pursuant to the Act. The Public Officer must fulfil all responsibilities as prescribed in the Act.

3.4
Eligibility to nominate for a Committee position

3.4.1

A person is eligible to nominate for an Ordinary Committee member position only if the person is an Active member of Council who has attended at least three General Meetings of Council during the twelve (12) months preceding nomination and have their name so recorded in the records of attendance.

3.4.2

To ensure potential candidates for election to the Executive are fully aware of Council operations, aims and aspirations, nominations for the positions of Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary can only be made in respect of Active members who have attended at least four General Meetings of Council in the twelve months preceding the AGM and have their name recorded in the records of attendance.

3.4.3

A person is not eligible to nominate for a position on the Committee if the person is, at the time of nomination:

  1. an Executive Officer of a known or registered political party; or
  2. a person employed by a known or registered political party; or
  3. a registered candidate for a forthcoming election; or
  4. an elected member of the ACT Legislative Assembly or any Parliament or a person who has been pre-selected or has nominated for a forthcoming election to any of the aforementioned bodies; or
  5. an office bearer in a commercial or industrial lobby group registered with the Federal or ACT Government.

3.4.4

The minimum age for election or appointment to the Committee is sixteen years.

3.5
Procedure for Nomination

3.5.1

Nominations of eligible candidates for election to the Committee must be made:

  1. in writing on the prescribed form available from the Council website, signed by one eligible Council member and bear the consent of the nominated eligible member; or
  2. by e-mail, originating from an eligible member, with a copy of the nomination form from the website and sent to the eligible nominee for consent; or
  3. in writing on the self-nomination form available from the Council website, signed by the eligible member and seconded by any eligible member of Council; or
  4. by e-mail, originating from an eligible member containing a copy of the self-nomination form from the website and sent to any eligible member of Council for seconding;

and then given or e-mailed to the specified officer of Council as directed by the pending vacancy advice, such that it is received not less than seven days before the date fixed for the Annual General Meeting at which the election is to take place.

3.6
Conduct of Committee Elections at an AGM

3.6.1

If insufficient valid nominations have been received prior to the Annual General Meeting to fill all vacancies on the Committee, the candidates nominated are taken to be elected and further nominations may be received from eligible members at the Annual General Meeting.

3.6.2

If insufficient further nominations are received, any vacant positions remaining on the Committee are taken to be vacancies.

3.6.3

If the number of nominations received is equal to the number of vacancies to be filled, the people nominated are taken to be elected.

3.6.4

If the number of valid nominations received exceeds the number of vacancies to be filled, a ballot must be held.

3.6.5

Any ballot for the election of Office-Bearers or Ordinary Committee members must be conducted in the manner the Committee may direct.

3.6.6

All committee members of Council must, immediately after being elected, advise the Secretary of their address.

3.6.7

A person is not eligible to simultaneously hold more than one Executive position on the Committee with the exception of the position of Secretary and Treasurer which may be combined.

3.7
Filling of Casual Vacancies

3.7.1

A vacancy in the office of a member of the committee happens if the member:

  1. dies; or
  2. resigns the office; or
  3. is removed from office under sub-paragraph 3.8.1; or
  4. is disqualified from office under the Act.
3.8
Removal of Committee members

3.8.1

Council in General Meeting may by Resolution, subject to the Act, remove any member of the Committee from the office of member of the Committee before the end of the member’s term of office. If a member so removed is also the Public Officer, the office is deemed to be terminated and a new Public Officer must be appointed by the Committee.

3.9
Sub-committees

3.9.1

Any sub-committee shall consist of:

  1. the Chair; and
  2. the Deputy Chair; and
  3. not less than two other members.

3.9.2

Members of sub-committees are elected by a General Meeting or appointed by the Committee but each sub-committee elects its own Chair and Deputy Chair.

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4

Meetings

4.1
General Meetings

4.1.1

General meetings of Council are to be convened by the Committee no less than eight times per financial year.

4.1.2

At least seven days notice must be given to hold an ordinary General meeting. The form of notice shall be by e-mail to all Active members who have provided an e-mail address, and by notice on the Council website and in a local newspaper specifying the date, time and place of the meeting.

4.1.3

General Meetings are open to all members of the public.

4.2
Special General Meetings

4.2.1

A Special General meeting may be called at the discretion of the Committee or by request of any five Active members.

4.2.2

A request for a Special General Meeting made under sub-paragraph 4.2.1 must state the general nature of the subject(s) to be discussed and the terms of any Resolutions which will be put to the meeting.

4.2.3

Following receipt by the Chairperson or Secretary of a request under sub-paragraph 4.2.1, the Special General Meeting must be held within 62 days. A Special General Meeting may be held before, after, or both before and after an ordinary General Meeting.

4.2.4

At least twenty-one days notice must be given for the holding of a Special General meeting. The form of notice shall be by e-mail to all Active members who have provided an e-mail address, and by notice on the Council website and in a local newspaper specifying the date, time and place of the meeting and the general nature of business to be transacted.

4.2.5

No business other than that specified in the notice given under sub-paragraph 4.2.4 may be discussed at the meeting unless the Committee members present at the meeting unanimously agree it is urgent business.

4.2.6

Special General Meetings are open to all members of the public.

4.3
Annual General Meetings

4.3.5

The Annual General Meeting is to be held no later than 30 November each year following completion of the annual audit of accounts.

4.3.6

At least fourteen days notice must be given for the holding of an Annual General Meeting. The form of notice shall be by e-mail to all Active members who have provided an e-mail address, and by notice on the Council website and in a local newspaper specifying the date, time and place of the Annual General Meeting.

4.3.7

The Secretary must arrange for a Returning Officer, who is not eligible to vote in ballots to elect Committee members, to attend the meeting.

4.3.8

Annual General Meetings are public meetings open to all but voting rights are restricted.

4.4
Committee Meetings

4.4.1

Committee meetings will be scheduled to be held at such times and places as determined by the Committee.

4.4.2

Oral or written notice of a meeting of the Committee shall be given by the Secretary or other designated member to each member of the Committee at least forty-eight hours (or such other period as may be unanimously agreed upon by the members of the Committee) before the time appointed for the holding of the meeting.

4.4.3

Any three members of the Committee may request a Committee meeting by giving written notice to the Chairperson and Secretary and providing a summary of the business to be dealt with. Upon receipt of such notice the Secretary shall make arrangements for a Committee meeting to be convened for a date not later than 14 days from receipt of the written notice.

4.4.4

All Active members are entitled to attend Committee Meetings.

4.5
Voting

4.5.1

Non-members at a General Meeting may vote only in respect of Resolutions pertaining to guest presentations. Active members may vote in respect of any Resolution put before a General Meeting or Special General Meeting.

4.5.2

At an Annual General Meeting:

  1. In respect of a ballot to elect any Committee Member (Executive or Ordinary), only Active Members who have attended three Meetings (General or Special) in the twelve months preceding the Annual General Meeting are entitled to vote.
  2. Active Members are entitled to vote in respect of any other motion, Resolution or question put to the Meeting.

4.5.3

At any meeting, at the discretion of the chair, those eligible to vote may indicate their preference on any motion or question put forward by a show of hands (indicative voting).

If the chair of the meeting or any active member present believes that indicative voting is not appropriate, a ballot must take place.

4.5.4

At a Committee Meeting, only Committee members are eligible to vote.

4.5.5

Resolutions, motions or questions put at any Council meeting other than a Special General Meeting require the support of a simple majority to be passed. A Resolution put at a Special General Meeting requires the support of three-quarters of the eligible voting members present for it to be passed.

4.5.6

In the case of an equality of votes on a Resolution, motion or question, the Chairperson is entitled to exercise a second or deciding vote.

4.5.7

All votes shall be given personally. Proxy votes will not be accepted.

4.5.8

A member of Council shall not vote on or influence any decision related to any contract or arrangement in which he or she has a vested interest, unless:

  1. details of the vested interest are made known to the meeting; and
  2. the meeting decides (by way of Resolution) that no conflict of interest exists.
4.6
Quorum Requirements

4.6.1

At a General Meeting, Special General Meeting or Annual General Meeting, ten Active members constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

4.6.2

At a meeting of the Committee, half the number of appointed committee members constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. No business shall be transacted by the Committee unless a quorum is present and if, within half an hour after the time appointed for the meeting, a quorum is not present, the meeting stands adjourned to the same place and at the same hour of the same day in the following week. The reconvened meeting details are to be notified in the usual manner. If, at the adjourned meeting, a quorum is not present within half an hour after the time appointed for the meeting, the meeting shall be dissolved.

4.6.3

For any meeting, should a quorum not be obtained, the Active members present may elect to continue with an informal meeting. Any decision taken at an informal meeting does not have effect unless confirmed at the reconvened meeting.

4.7
Conduct of Meetings other than an Annual General Meeting

4.7.1

General, Special General and Annual General Meetings are to be chaired by the Chairperson or, in his or her absence, the Deputy Chairperson or, in the absence of both, a deputy as appointed by the Committee.

4.7.2

If, by thirty minutes after the nominated starting time of a meeting, a quorum is not present, the Chair of the meeting is to reconvene the meeting for a later date, which, subject to availability of the premises, shall be not less than six days and not more than fifteen days later. The reconvened meeting details are to be notified in the usual manner.

4.7.3

When a meeting has properly commenced, the Chair must not put a Resolution to adjourn the meeting by reason of the lack of a quorum within ninety minutes of the starting time.

4.7.4

A reconvened meeting under sub-paragraph 4.6.2 or an adjourned meeting under sub-paragraph 4.6.3 does not require a quorum in order to proceed.

4.7.5

At Committee Meetings, the Chairperson or, in the absence of the Chairperson, the Deputy Chairperson shall chair the meeting. If the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson are both absent, any of the remaining members of the Committee may be chosen to chair the meeting.

4.8
Conduct of the Annual General Meeting

4.8.1

The business of the Annual General Meeting is to:

  1. consider the Report from the Chairperson on the conduct of Council business since the previous Annual General Meeting and such other reports as may be appropriate; and
  2. consider the audited statement of accounts; and
  3. elect the Committee for the following year; and
  4. appoint the Auditor; and
  5. consider any Resolutions which may be put to the meeting (it is not necessary for formal notice to be given of such Resolutions); and
  6. Consider the Minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting. No other business will be conducted at an Annual General Meeting.
4.9
Order at meetings

4.9.1

Procedures for the conduct of meetings may be adopted at the discretion of the Committee.

4.9.2

Rulings of the person chairing a General Meeting or, in the case of the Annual General Meeting, the Returning Officer are binding unless nullified by the votes of two-thirds of the members eligible to vote and present.

4.10
Minutes

4.10.1

The Secretary, or delegate of the Secretary, shall keep Minutes of:

  1. all elections and appointments of Office-Bearers, Ordinary Committee members and sub-Committee members; and
  2. the names of members of the Committee present at each Committee meeting, General Meeting and Special General Meeting; and
  3. all proceedings at Committee meetings, General Meetings and Special General Meetings.

4.10.2

Minutes of proceedings at any Council meeting must be signed by the person chairing the meeting.

4.10.3

The Secretary, or delegate of the Secretary, is to maintain the record of Active members.

4.10.4

The Secretary, or delegate of the Secretary, is responsible for sending notices of meetings to Active members who have supplied an e-mail address. If an Active member has not provided an e-mail address but requests notification of meetings and provides a telephone number or postal address, notice may be communicated by telephone or post.

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5

Financial administration

5.1
Sources of Funds

5.1.1

The sources from which Council may derive funds are donations, legacies, fund raising activities, government grants and, subject to a Resolution passed by Council in General Meeting, such other sources as determined from time to time.

5.1.2

The Committee shall determine where and on what terms funds are to be deposited with a financial institution.

5.1.3

The Committee shall determine from time to time the authorised signatories for deposited funds.

5.1.4

For any withdrawal of funds, two signatories must authorise the transaction. At least one signature must be that of Treasurer or Chairperson.

5.1.5

Withdrawal of funds and payment of accounts may only occur following authorisation by the Committee.

5.2
Application of Funds

5.2.1

The assets and income of Council are to be applied solely in the furtherance of its above-mentioned objectives and no portion is to be distributed directly or indirectly to the members of the organisation except as bona fide compensation for services rendered or expenses incurred on behalf of the Association.

5.3
Treasurer

5.3.1

The Treasurer is to keep the accounts of Council and is responsible for the prompt banking of all moneys received and for disbursements authorised by the Committee. Full details of all receipts and expenditure must be recorded.

5.3.2

As soon as possible after the end of each financial year the Treasurer must prepare a financial report for Council which includes:

  1. a Statement of Income and Expenditure; and
  2. a Balance Sheet

showing the true financial position of Council as at the end of the financial year and submit the accounts and such other records as may be required to the appointed Auditor.

5.4
Auditor

5.4.1

A person is to be appointed as Auditor of Council’s accounts in accordance with section 74 of the Act.

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6

Miscellaneous

6.1
Common Seal

6.1.1

The Secretary is to provide for the custody and use of Council’s Common Seal.

6.2
Custody of books

6.2.1

Subject to the Act, the Regulation, and the provisions of this Constitution, the Secretary is to keep in his or her custody or under his or her control, all records, books and other documents relating to Council.

6.3
Register of Assets

6.3.1

The Treasurer shall maintain a Register of Council Assets which had a purchase price greater than one hundred Australian dollars. The register should indicate in respect of each asset:

  1. an identifiable description; and
  2. the date of acquisition; and
  3. the purchase price; and
  4. the name of the Council member who has custody of the asset.

6.3.2

At the end of each financial year, all registered assets are to be attributed a depreciated value which shall be recorded in the Register of Council Assets and included in the Balance Sheet.

6.3.3

Following approval by the Committee to dispose of a registered asset, the Treasurer shall record the date and method of disposal. If the method of disposal is by sale the Treasurer shall record the terms of sale.

6.4
Inspection of books

6.4.1

The records, books and other documents of Council are to be open to inspection by a member of Council at a place in the ACT, free of charge, at any reasonable hour, with reasonable notice.

6.5
Dissolution

6.5.1

In the event of Council being dissolved, any residual funds after satisfaction of all debts and liabilities (including the repayment of any unused portion of a grant from the government) is to be paid and applied by the Committee in accordance with their powers to an incorporated association, institution or authority which is exempt from income tax and has, so far as the Committee can determine, similar objectives to those of Council.