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Rule glitch may stymie PNGAA reform

Members of the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia will not be allowed to vote by post on the most important change in the organisation’s history: a thorough revision of its objectives and Constitution. This places a great burden on plans to reform the organisation to equip it for a more relevant and sustainable future.

Earlier this month, the PNGAA national committee delayed the annual general meeting until June to allow new rules to be implemented, including one allowing postal voting for the committee. But the NSW Associations Incorporation Act, under which the PNGAA is established, doesn’t provide for a postal ballot for the special general meeting that will held on 26 April to vote on the changes. The current rules of the Association state that “all votes shall be given personally or by proxy”.

What this means is that the 75 percent majority required to achieve constitutional change needs to be garnered by personal attendance at the meeting held on Sydney’s upper north shore or by proxy voting. This poses a huge hurdle for change in the PNGAA unless determined action is taken to inform members and to get out the proxy vote.

The PNGAA committee has only one honourable course to take in this matter: after resolving to recommend a ‘yes’ vote to the membership, it must post proxy forms and a supportive explanatory statement to all members to enable them to exercise their vote.

By all means let the opponents of change cobble together a ‘no’ statement of their own – and post that to members too. At least this would bring them out into the open and allow members to properly evaluate the thinking that lies behind their determination to hold back the PNGAA.


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Rod Hard

Whilst the "postal vote" has been ruled out, I have no doubt that aims can be achieved through through nomination of proxies....and I feel that those individuals unable to attend in person will have no difficulty in "allocating authority."

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