Thanks for all the hard work that has gone into this.
1 - Replace the words Ratepayers Association with Community Association. A name change may better capture the objects and purposes of the Association. Many people here are not ratepayers but are residents and they get confused as to whether they are entitled to be a member or not. Also, it would broaden the scope of the type of the things our association could facilitate.
'Community' also better captures the goal of the Association - to represent the interests of the community at large on the Nine Mile Peninsula.
2 - Section 16 (3) says: A quorum for the transaction of the business of a general meeting is 5 members of the Association entitled to vote.
This number is too small. As far as I understand, it means substantial decisions that affect the community could potentially be made by a small group of only 5 residents.
3 - Section 17 a clause inserted allowing the chair to delegate the chair's role to a member they see fit. There may well be an instance in the future where there might be members but not a president who are red-hot at facilitating meetings.
4 - Sections 20 and 21; Votes and taking of polls.
It is not made explicit but Section 20 (4) seems to imply that a vote is carried at a minimum margin of 50% + 1. This is clearly based on a majoritarian democratic model and may be a misfit to the scale of our association. Small scale community democracy should lean much more heavily toward collaborative consensus building through deliberation where the concerns of the minority views are engaged with through dialogue and incorporated as much as possible into a motion BEFORE it is eventually voted on.
I strongly believe that motions carried at a 50% +1 margin is too small when making potentially big decisions that affect the whole community. If the margin is that small it is a clear indication that pre-voting deliberation has failed somewhere and half (or close to) of the community has a problem - that is a BIG problem. The margin has to be higher like say 66%. A margin that high or higher -75% clearly indicates that deliberations have worked and peoples concerns have been incorporated into the motion or at least their concerns have been engaged with and they understand the rationale for the motion even if they don't agree with it all. This process will result in much higher community sense of legitimacy regarding decisions made.
5 - Powers of the Committee Section 23 (c) says: (the committee) has power to do anything that appears to the committee to be essential for the proper management of the business and affairs of the Association.
Whoa that sounds scary. Is this linked back into being bound by the rules of the constitution somewhere?
6 - Section 32 (5) is proposed to say: If a member of the Association has not paid his or her annual subscription for a financial year of the Association on or before the commencement of the annual general meeting of the Association that is held during that financial year, whichever is the later day, he or she is not entitled to attend, or vote at, that annual general meeting.
In my opinion removing the word 'attend' above would be good. People should always be able to attend the meeting of their community - freedom of assembly and they might want to try before they buy (join). I am sure we imagine ourselves to be inclusive rather than exclusive.
7 - Sections 34 and 35 and 36 (2) should be deleted or struck through. Expulsion of members has simply no place in our community. These rules were not included when citizens drew up the original DS constitution and I presume they had no idea that they lurked in the Model Rules. Expelling is simply archaic practice that starts me thinking of witch hunts and kangaroo courts etc, It is clearly exclusionary and does not fit with the inclusive and transparent theme that the Association would like to make itself by. If there is a problem with a member I am sure there are all sorts of mediation strategies that can be deployed in a small community.