Dear RACWA Member,
All incorporated associations in WA have been impacted by the introduction of the new Associations Incorporation Act 2015. The new Act requires clubs to meet a new set of conditions, and in most cases this requires each club to update its Constitution. The updated Constitution must be submitted to the Department by 1st July 2019.
Clubs have the option to adopt a standard Constitution, known as the “Model Rules”. During the transitional period, a decision to adopt the Model Rules is at the discretion of the Committee, whereas normally a change to the Constitution would require a special resolution at a General Meeting. The RACWA Committee reviewed the options and decided there were good reasons to have our own customised Constitution, rather than adopt the Model Rules. The main benefits were to preserve the existing classes of membership, and to include new rules related to the proposed RACWA Foundation. Clubs that choose to write their own Constitution in this way, are required to adopt their Constitution in the traditional way i.e. by special resolution at a General Meeting.
While we deviated from the Model Rules in key sections, we attempted wherever possible to remain true to the Model Rules. This will make it substantially easier to keep our rules in step with the Act, and to defend any issues arising from our Constitution.
In order to avoid calling an Extraordinary General Meeting, the Committee commenced drafting the new rules in 2017, with the aim to present the new Constitution at the 2018 AGM. This will be the last chance to present the new Constitution to members prior to the due date, without calling an additional General Meeting. Senior members of the Committee worked on the project initially, and the first draft was completed in mid-2017. In order to have the draft independently reviewed and scrutinised, a Constitution Sub-Committee was formed. The Sub-Committee was chaired by Bruce Rathbone, and he was ably assisted by James Murphy, Ian Wright and Bruce Harvey.
The Sub-Committee spent many months poring over the draft, and submitted their final recommendations in May 2018. Those recommendations were then discussed between Committee and Sub-Committee, and where agreed, incorporated into the final draft.
I am very grateful to the Committee and Sub-Committee for their hard work to get to this point. We have a very good draft Constitution. Now it’s your turn! We have less than 3 months until our next AGM, but I believe this should be enough time to gather your feedback, and where appropriate, incorporate it into the Constitution that we present to the AGM for approval.
One small word of caution. The Constitution is not meant to be highly prescriptive and full of operational detail. For this purpose we have By-Laws. In the past we have not done a great job of collating decisions of the committee and the members into a register of By-Laws. The new Constitution will require us to do a better job of this. If you believe a rule is missing from the Constitution, ask first if it should, or could, be incorporated into By-Laws instead. If the answer is “yes”, the proper remedy is to request a By-Law rather than changing the Constitution. In discussions between the Sub-Committee and Committee, a number of requirements for new By-Laws have already been identified. These relate to:
Rules 5 and 45 – to set limits pertaining to payments to members;
Division 1 – to grant conditional membership privileges, pending Committee acceptance of the membership application – this already happens in practice;
Rules 14(4) and (5) – to formally delegate discretion to alter and waive membership fees to the Executive Manager;
Rule 31 – to specify limits of authority for the Executive Manager; and
Rule 73 – to specify the required protections for Club records in the care of the Executive Secretary and the Executive Manager.
Please review the attached draft Constitution, and feel free to provide feedback. Within the Word document all rule references are hyperlinks, so you can click on a reference and the cursor will move to that location – this should make it easier to navigate around the document.
If you suggest minor improvements or find omissions or typos, these will be corrected immediately. If we receive many changes, we will publish an updated draft prior to the AGM. If there are competing positions we will bring these to the AGM for discussion.
Please email your feedback directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.