ACNC recently circulated a set of
rules for unincorporated associations (worked up in conjunction
with Justice Connect) and called for comment before 20 November
2015. The rules appear very useful for organisations which are
small, do not have particular constitutions, and do not wish to
become incorporated as these rules, give guidance for best
The rules follow some of the standards applying in corporate
rules, for example, when voting for any decisions in a company,
namely for changes to the rules or changes to purposes a special
resolution of members is required, that is, one for which 21 days
notice has been given and 75% of members voting support.
Standard charity clauses are within the rules was only to permit
activities that support the objects, prohibiting distribution of
income or assets to members and requiring the association to
operate as a registered charity. The winding up provisions require
a special resolution and prohibition of distribution to members or
organisations unless they are charitable with similar charitable
purposes not carried on for profit or gain.
The rules contain an indemnity to protect committee members who
could otherwise be sued and that indemnity allows the committee
member to be reimbursed from the proceeds of the association.
The rules oblige the association to have a financial year and
the standard period 1 July to 30 June has been selected.
The rules identify how membership will be recorded and persons
admitted to membership.
The rules permit members to view the rules, general meeting
minutes and the Register, but not copies of meeting minutes of the
committee unless the committee specifically allows that.
The committee is to be empowered with all functions and powers
of the association. A committee member must satisfy the responsible
person tests under the ACNC Act
The duties of committee members are set out and mirror many of
those required of company directors and committee members of
incorporated Associations. This is strong governance and probably
appropriate but it may dissuade individuals from agreeing to act as
An appropriate dispute resolution process is included as we are
all aware that many committees often reach a situation of
dysfunction where there are disagreements between members.
Overall the rules appear to be a helpful document.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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