Constitution

Constitution of the Blue Mountains Greens

Definitions

The Group The Blue Mountains Greens
Group Meeting An ordinary meeting of The Group

Contents

  1. Relationship to other Greens organisations
  2. Membership
  3. Office Bearers and Other Appointments
  4. Decision Making
  5. Group Meetings
  6. Annual General Meetings
  7. Special General Meetings
  8. Selection of Election Candidates (Federal and State)
  9. Selection of Election Candidates (Council)
  10. Auditing/Inspection of Financial Records
  11. Maintenance of Group Documents Present and Past
  12. Winding Up / Dissolution of The Group

1. RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER GREENS ORGANISATIONS

1.1 The Group is part of an incorporated association, The Greens NSW.

1.2 In the event of a conflict between this constitution and the constititution of The Greens NSW, the latter shall prevail. However a decision by The Group to conduct its affairs in a different way from the way that the The Greens NSW conducts its affairs does not necessarily mean that there is any conflict.

1.3 The Group endorses the Charter of the Australian Greens. Any clause in this constitution that conflicts with the Charter is null and void.

1.4 The Group may develop and adopt policies which are particular to its area of operation, or which are local variations on national or state policies, but shall not endorse any policy which is in conflict with official policies of the Australian Greens or The Greens NSW.

1.5 The Group shall support and cooperate in the electoral campaigns of the Australian Greens, The Greens NSW and other Greens local groups, including contribution of resources which are not to the detriment of its own responsibilities.

1.6 The boundary of the Blue Mountains area covered by the Group will be fixed after negotiations from time to time with neighbouring Greens groups.

2. MEMBERSHIP

2.1 Membership of The Group is open to any person who:

2.1.1 has been accepted as a member of The Greens NSW and is a financial member.

2.1.2 has been a member of The Greens NSW for at least three months. Prior to being a member of the The Greens NSW for three months the person shall be known as a Provisional Member of The Group.

2.1.3 while a Provisonal Member, has not been the object of an objection to membership raised by an existing member. The names of new Provisional Members shall be announced and minuted at the first possible Group Meeting to allow such objections to be raised. If such an objection is raised, The Group shall decide whether or not to accept the person as a member. If the decision is “no” then the person shall be advised in writing, within a month of the decision being made and also shall be advised of his or her right of appeal. If the person appeals the decision then The Group shall establish a Membership Review Committee as in clause 2.5 below.

2.1.4 resides or has a residence within the Group area as defined by 1.6 – except that a person living outside this area may be accepted with the agreement of the Greens group, if any, that covers the area in which the person resides.

2.1.5 is not a member of another local Greens Group.

2.1.6 is not a member of a proscribed organisation or of another political party. A list of proscribed organisations shall be maintained by the Secretary and shall include all those organisations proscribed by The Greens NSW, plus any others added by a decision of The Group.

2.1.7 has not been barred from membership at the current time as a result of a motion passed by the Group as in clause 2.6 below.

2.2 No member can represent The Group in any forum, unless chosen by The Group for that role, either directly or implicitly by virtue of their office bearer duties.

2.3 The membership of any member shall cease if he/she:

2.3.1 fails to maintain compliance with any of the membership criteria listed in 2.1.

2.3.2 fails to maintain financial membership of The Greens NSW according to the rules of The Greens NSW which allow for certain periods of grace.

2.3.3 contests a federal, state or council election against any Greens candidate without the prior approval of The Group.

2.3.4 is the object of a successful “no confidence” motion at a Group Meeting while being a Greens Blue Mountains councillor or a Greens parliamentarian representing the Blue Mountains district.

2.4 Complaints by members against other members:

2.4.1 If a concerned member believes that another member has repeatedly exhibited behaviour which brings The Group into disrepute, or has engaged in activities which conflict with the policies of The Group, then the concerned member can do one of the following: (1) ask The Greens NSW to deal with the issue according to the Greens NSW “Complaint and Dispute Procedure” or (2) post or deliver a letter detailing the complaint to an office bearer.

2.4.2 The office bearer in receipt of a complaint as in (2) above must ensure that the complaint is brought to the attention of a Group Meeting which must then establish a Membership Review Committee as in clause 2.5 below.

2.5 A Membership Review Committee (MRC):

2.5.1 shall contain at least three members, appointed by The Group.

2.5.2 shall invite the member against whom the complaint has been made to present his/her case to the MRC.

2.5.3 may proceed with making a recommendation if the member against whom the complaint has been made has not availed himself/herself of the opportunity to meet with the MRC within two weeks of being invited to do so or has indicated his/her wish not to do so.

2.5.4 shall consult with any other persons who might provide useful information.

2.5.5 shall recommend to the next possible Group Meeting whether or not the membership be terminated and, if so, what period of time shall elapse before the member can re-apply for membership. The member must be notified of this agenda item at least 21 days before the Group Meeting takes place.

2.6 A Membership Review Committee shall recommend to a Group Meeting one of the following: (1) no action, (2) censure of the accused member or (3) suspension or termination of the accused member’s membership of The Group. In the latter case The Group shall consider and decide a motion of suspension or termination which specifies the period of time that shall elapse before the member can re-apply for membership.

3. OFFICE BEARERS AND OTHER APPOINTMENTS

3.1 The office bearers of The Group shall consist of a Secretary, a Treasurer, a Membership Secretary and the occupants of any other positions that The Group may create from time to time that it wishes to designate as office bearer positions. All office bearers must be members.

3.2 All office bearer positions shall be declared vacant at the start of every Annual General Meeting. Persons shall then normally be elected to office bearer positions at each Annual General Meeting but any subsequent Group Meeting has the power to elect a member to any office bearer position that is vacant for any reason.

3.3 No office bearer may hold the same position for more than three consecutive years and if he/she holds the same position for three consecutive years then there must be a gap of at least 12 months before he/she can be re-elected to the same position again.

3.4 The Group shall decide on the duties of the office-bearers in addition to those specific duties defined in this constitution. Group Meetings may amend these duty lists, tasks and roles from time to time as required. The Secretary shall maintain a record of the current office bearer duties as defined by this constitution and by The Group.

3.5 When an office bearer position is to be filled at a Group Meeting, notice will be given by email and post at least ten days before the Group Meeting and at the meeting the facilitator shall call for nominations. A candidate may nominate herself or himself. A candidate need not be present to be nominated but shall have given his or her consent. Two returning officers shall be appointed by the meeting. A secret vote using standard optional preferential voting shall be supervised by the returning officers; this will take place even if there is only one candidate and a voter may place a “no support” mark against a candidate if he/she wishes. No proxy or absentee votes shall be accepted. If, after distribution of preferences, the result is a tie between two or more candidates and if one of the candidates in joint first place has more primary votes than any other candidate in joint first place then he/she is deemed to be elected, otherwise candidates not in the joint first place are eliminated and the voting process is repeated. The successful or only candidate must have the support of at least 50% of members present; otherwise the candidate is eliminated and the whole process is repeated.

3.6 From time‑to‑time, The Group may choose to delegate an individual, or individuals, to undertake certain activities or form a working group. Such individuals or working groups are subordinate to The Group and their duties and powers shall be determined at Group Meetings.

3.7 Office‑bearers and other delegated individuals or working groups shall present or table reports to The Group on their activities as required by The Group.

3.8 An appointment by The Group to any position, including a pre-selection for an election, may be revoked by means of the actions in the sub-clauses below.

3.8.1 Notice of a “no confidence” motion, moved by two members, is provided to the office bearer responsible for preparing Group Meeting agendas.

3.8.2 The person whose appointment may be revoked is informed in writing or by email at least 14 days prior to the Group Meeting of the text of the “no confidence” motion, and of the date, time and venue of the Group Meeting at which the motion is to be presented, and of his or her right to participate in the discussion and voting of the meeting and/or to address the meeting.

3.8.3 Notice of the motion is circulated to all members who are on email ten days prior to The Group Meeting which shall decide the motion.

3.8.4 Such a “no confidence” motion shall be treated differently from the standard decision making process in that if consensus cannot be reached, a 50% vote in favour of revocation/resignation is sufficient for such action to proceed.

3.9 If an office bearer does not perform his or her duties for two months or more, The Group may decide to elect a replacement or to elect someone to act in the position temporarily until the original office bearer can resume the duties or until the next Annual General Meeting, whichever occurs first.

3.10 A delegated office bearer is responsible for ensuring that Group Meetings take place as required by clause 5.2 of this constitution and Annual General Meetings take place as required by clause 6.1 of this constitution.

3.11 The Secretary is responsible, among other duties, for the maintenance of The Group’s document archive as in clause 11.1.

3.12 The Treasurer is responsible, among other duties, for the management of Group funds and the maintenance of adequate books, invoices and receipts relating to those funds. The Treasurer will pay to the The Greens NSW any portion of membership dues received by The Group that is owing to The Greens NSW.

3.13 The Membership Secretary is responsible, among other duties, for maintaining the list of members and Provisional Members together with their addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. The details of the membership list shall not be used for any purpose other than the business of The Group.

4. DECISION‑MAKING

4.1 All decisions of The Group shall proceed according to principles of participatory democracy.

4.2 All proposals shall have a proposer. Notice of proposals is not required prior to each Group Meeting unless stated as being required elsewhere in this constitution.

4.3 Proposals for changes to the constitution may only be moved at either at a Special General Meeting or an Annual General Meeting. Notice of such proposals shall be sent to all members by email and post at least 30 days prior to the meeting.

4.4 Decisions of The Group shall, when possible, be made according to the consensus decision‑making process. When consensus cannot be reached, a vote on a proposal shall be taken provided that at least 50% of members present decide that a vote is desirable. Abstentions shall not count as votes for or against. Proxy or absentee votes are not admissible.

4.5 When a vote is taken in all meetings, unless specified otherwise in this constitution, a ratio of three or more votes in favour to one vote against shall be required for the proposal and/or amendments to be carried unless otherwise stated in this constitution. Where a status quo exists, the proposal shall be worded so that it advocates a change to the status quo.

4.6 When a vote is taken on a proposal (as distinct from an election or pre-selection), the minutes shall record the number of votes for, the number of votes against and the number of abstentions. In addition any member may require that the way he/she voted be recorded specifically in the minutes.

4.7 All members of The Group present at a Group Meeting are entitled to vote. Non-members and Provisional Members present at a meeting cannot vote and are not counted in determining any consensus.

4.8 Provisional Members and any guests approved by the meeting may participate in any discussion, as can all members.

4.9 Non-members shall leave the Group Meeting or part of the meeting if any member present wishes them to do so.

4.10 Where a decision by The Group on a proposal is required prior to the next Group Meeting, a quick decision making process may operate. An office bearer shall email the proposal to all members on email and request that they vote “yes” or “no” by return email within 48 hours. The office bearer shall then decide the proposal on the basis of votes received. Clause 4.5 above applies. Members who do not reply before the deadline shall be deemed to have abstained. The office bearer shall then report the result to the next Group Meeting and shall keep all emails until the next Group Meeting in case of any dispute. This process shall not be used for the election of office bearers or for pre-selections except that it is allowed for postions 2 and 3 on council election tickets. This process shall not be used to change the constitution or to revoke a person’s membership, appointment or pre-selection.

5. GROUP MEETINGS

5.1 Clauses in this section apply to Annual General Meetings and Special General Meetings as well as to regular Group Meetings unless otherwise stated in this constitution.

5.2 Group Meetings shall be held at least six times in each period of twelve months.

5.3 Four members shall constitute a quorum for all Group Meetings. If a quorum is not present at the starting time, the meeting shall wait at least 30 minutes for a quorum to be formed. A non-quorate meeting may discuss issues but the only decision that it can make, if it wishes, is, after 30 minutes have elapsed, to decide the date, time and venue of the next Group Meeting.

5.4 A Group Meeting may decide to censure or to expel or suspend from the meeting, participants responsible for disruptive or offensive language or behaviour.

5.5 An office bearer shall ensure that Group Meeting minutes are recorded, including a list of members present, and presented to a subsequent Group Meeting for modification, if necessary, and then acceptance as a true and accurate record of the meeting.

5.6 All members shall be made aware of the way in which dates, times and venues for regular Group Meetings are selected (e.g. first Wednesday of each month at 7pm at the MMNC) and shall be given five days notice of any specific Group Meetings that do not follow the usual pattern of date, time or venue.

5.7 Agendas for regular Group Meetings shall be emailed to all members on email at least two days before each Group Meeting. The agenda for a Group Meeting may be altered or added to at the start of the meeting.

5.8 The draft minutes of the previous Group Meeting shall be emailed to all members on email at least seven days before each Group Meeting. They should also be posted at least seven days before each Group Meeting to all those members not on email who have not opted out of receiving them.

5.9 Facilitators for Group Meetings may be selected by any process The Group thinks fit.

5.10 Administrative meetings may be held to discuss the smooth operation of Group functions. These will normally be attended by office bearers although any members may attend and participate. Such meetings are not classified as Group Meetings and cannot make decisions that are outside the scope of the authorised duties of the office bearers present.

6. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETINGS

See also 5.1.

6.1 An Annual General Meeting shall be held between 6 and 18 months from the date of the previous Annual General Meeting.

6.2 All members shall be notified of the date, time and venue of the Annual General Meeting at least 60 days prior to its designated date.

6.3 All members shall be notified of the agenda of the Annual General Meeting at least ten days prior to its designated date.

6.4 The business of an Annual General Meeting shall be conducted in the following order:

6.4.1 Presentation of the minutes of the last Annual General Meeting and of any Special General Meeting held since the last Annual General Meeting for modification, if necessary, and then acceptance as a true and accurate record of the meeting/s.

6.4.2 Presentation or tabling from office bearers, of reports on the activities of The Group during the period since the last Annual General Meeting. A financial report must be included.

6.4.3 Election of office-bearers of The Group. See also 3.2.

6.4.4 Proposals for changes to the constitution. See also 4.3.

6.4.5 Any other business provided that it is included in the agenda circulated prior to the meeting.

6.5 The draft minutes of the AGM should, within a month, be circulated to all members on email and to all other members who have not opted out of receiving minutes.

7. SPECIAL GENERAL MEETINGS

See also 5.1.

7.1 If a written request for a Special General Meeting (SGM) is made to an office bearer, signed by at least four members and stating the purpose or purposes of the meeting, then that office bearer must ensure that the SGM is convened within a month of the receipt of the request.

7.2 The only business to be conducted at a SGM shall be that for which the SGM has been called.

7.3 The agenda for the SGM shall be distributed to all members at least seven days before the meeting takes place.

8. SELECTION OF ELECTION CANDIDATES (FEDERAL AND STATE)

8.1 If other Greens local groups are responsible for part of the federal or state electorate then they must be involved in the pre-selection process and they may have different ideas about how to go about it. Accordingly, in that situation, the rest of this section should be treated only as The Group’s preferred procedures to be negotiated with the other local group(s). If no other local groups are involved, or if they relinquish their rights of participation, then the rest of this section applies.

8.2 A message shall be sent to all members by email and post (1) inviting candidate nominations, (2) giving information on the selection process, (3) indicating that all candidates must be members of The Greens NSW (or to have applied to be members), (4) giving members at least 3 weeks to nominate if they wish, (5) indicating that they may speak at a specified Group Meeting for a specified duration and (6) attaching a copy of the Candidate/Representative Agreement that the successful candidate shall be required to sign.

8.3 After nominations have closed, the names of pre-selection candidates (nominees) shall be reported to the next Group Meeting.

8.4 Nominees, if present, shall be invited to address the Group Meeting with a time limit for speaking as set out in the nomination invitation or as set by the meeting.

8.5 Persons must have been Group members for at least 12 months in order to be entitled to vote in pre-selections. Two returning officers shall be appointed by the Group Meeting and a secret vote using standard optional preferential voting shall be supervised by the returning officers; this will take place even if there is only one candidate and a voter may place a “no support” mark against a candidate if he/she wishes. No proxy or absentee votes shall be accepted. If the result is a tie between two or more nominees, after distribution of preferences, then those nominees not in the tied first place will have already been eliminated. If one nominee remaining has more primary votes than any other nominee remaining then he/she is deemed to be pre-selected, otherwise the voting process is repeated. The successful or only candidate must have the support of at least 50% of members present; otherwise the candidate is eliminated and the whole process is repeated.

8.6 The successful candidate shall sign the Candidate/Representative Agreement; this signing shall take place within one week of the pre-selection election unless a longer period is agreed to by The Group. If the Candidate/Representative Agreement is not signed within the required time period then The Group, at its discretion, may grant a time extension; otherwise the pre-selection election is nullified.

9. SELECTION OF ELECTION CANDIDATES (COUNCIL)

9.1 In addition to the whole of clause 8.2, nominees shall be asked to indicate which wards they wish to nominate for in order of preference. A nominee may nominate for up to two wards. The nomination invitation shall also indicate that nominees must live in the Blue Mountains council area and should indicate that only nominations for position 1 on each ticket are being called for at this stage.

9.2 Clause 8.2 applies if any other local group is jointly responsible with The Group for all or part of any ward.

9.3 Clause 8.3 applies.

9.4 Clause 8.4 applies.

9.5 Each ward for which there are nominee(s) shall have a separate election process. If possible, wards shall be considered in the order which allows all nominees who have nominated for two wards to have their preferred wards to be considered first. If it is not possible to satisfy all such nominees in this way then The Group may decide to consider wards in any order.

9.6 If a person’s nomination for a ward is successful, they are automatically eliminated for consideration in any other ward.

9.7 For each ward, clause 8.5 applies with the proviso that only position 1 on the council election ticket is being elected at this stage.

9.8 For each ward, clause 8.6 applies.

9.9 The Group should endeavour, where possible, to ensure equal gender representation among candidates for the four ward 1 positions and to take into account the representation needs of minority and disadvantaged groups.

9.10 The clauses 9.1 to 9.9 above shall only result in the selection of candidates for position 1 on the ticket for each ward. The filling of the positions 2 and 3 on each ticket is left to the discretion of the Campaign Committee, if such a committee exists, or failing that to The Group at a Group Meeting or by the quick decision making process outlined in clause 4.10. The candidates selected for positions 2 and 3 shall sign the Candidate/Representative Agreement as in clause 8.6. The appointed member, in his or her selections, should take note of those nominees, if any, defeated in the elections for position 1; however it is not mandated that they be selected for positions 2 or 3.

10. AUDITING/INSPECTION OF FINANCIAL RECORDS

10.1 Any member is entitled to inspect the financial records of The Group, providing at least two weeks notice is provided to the Treasurer.

10.2 An external auditor may be appointed to provide an opinion of the financial records following a motion passed by The Group.

11. MAINTENANCE OF GROUP DOCUMENTS PRESENT AND PAST

11.1 The Secretary shall maintain in paper form an archive of:

11.1.1 All Group Meeting minutes including Annual General Meetings and Special General Meetings.

11.1.2 All Group inward and outward correspondence.

11.1.3 Current office bearer duty lists, tasks and roles.

11.1.4 Signed Candidate/Representative Agreements.

11.1.5 Current version of this constitution.

11.1.6 Current versions of constitutions of The Greens NSW and the Australian Greens.

11.1.7 Current version of the Charter Of The Australian Greens

11.1.8 Membership lists for previous years.

11.1.9 Current list of proscribed organisations that no member may belong to.

11.1.10 A list of persons known to have been denied membership of the Greens either permanently or for a given period.

11.1.11 A definition of the boundary of the area covered by The Group.

11.2 The Treasurer shall maintain an archive of all financial records appertaining to previous years.

11.3 The archives should be available for inspection by any member giving two weeks notice.

12. WINDING UP/DISSOLUTION OF THE GROUP

12.1 The Group may be wound up (dissolved) either by The Greens NSW or by a motion passed at a Special General Meeting.

12.2 In the event of a winding up of The Group, all money and assets shall be transferred to The Greens NSW after settlement of any liabilities.