Pirate Congress 2016/Constitutional Amendments

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Official Party Document
The veracity of this document is ensured by the National Council and editing of this page is limited to members of the National Council.

Constitutional amendment proposals must be presented to the National Council a minimum of 28 days before the National Congress, which this year is Friday 24 June 2015 at 11:59 pm (AEST) as per article 9.1(2) of the constitution. Proposals submitted after that date will be held over until the following National Congress. Please email your proposals to [email protected].

If you wish to propose a change to anything here: please open a discussion topic on the forum, directly contact the person who put the amendment, or alternatively contact the Secretary at [email protected] to put you in contact.

Once the deadline for proposals has been met, unless specified by the relevant by-law, amendments may only be made by formal motion at the National Congress.

CAP-0: Raise quorum

Put by: The National Council as required by the Constitution.

Motion

As per Article 9.1(3) of the Party Constitution, members must vote on whether to raise the quorum for constitutional amendments by 2%, which this Congress is from 20% to 22%.

Do you agree to raise the quorum by 2%, to 22%?

CAP-1: Change notification requirements for constitutional amendments

Put by: Mozart Olbrycht-Palmer

Motion

Amend the Constitution so that arts 9.1(2) and 9.1(3) read as follows:

9.1(2) Constitutional amendment proposals must be submitted by email to the Secretary by 9:00 am AEST on the Saturday that falls on the 28th day before the first day of the National Congress.

9.1(3) Members must be notified by email of any proposals for amendments by 11:59 pm AEST on the Saturday that falls on the 28th day before the first day of the National Congress. This requirement can be fulfilled by placing the proposals at a specified place on the Party website or wiki before this deadline and informing the membership of their location.

Rationale

Article 9.1(2) requires members to be notified by email of any proposals for amendments by 11:59 pm on the 28th day before Congress. This requirement can be fulfilled by placing the proposals on the wiki and informing the membership of their location (art 9.1(3)). However, art 9.1(5) implies that 11:59 pm is the cut-off time for submitting assessments, giving the Secretary no time to fulfil their obligations of notifying the members in a constitutionally valid way. This resolves the issue by requiring constitutional amendment proposals be submitted by 9:00 am on the 28th day, after which the Secretary can ensure all proposals are on the wiki, before emailing the members by 11:59 pm that night. It also fixes the 28th day to be a Saturday to save confusion.

CAP-2: Adopt the Schulze method for congressional voting

Put by: Simon Frew

Motion

Amend the constitution to include the following definition of the Schulze voting method:

A Condorcet preferential voting system that compares each candidate by their rank to each other to find the winning candidate. Wikipedia

Amend article 10.1(7) to read as follows:

The voting method to be used for elections at the National Congress shall be the optional preferential Schulze method.

Rationale

Removes cumbersome language around how we vote and official adopts our previously de facto voting method.

CAP-3: Changes to handling vacancies on the National Council

Put by: Simon Frew

Motion

Replace article 10.1(6) with the following articles:

  • A member of the National Council is automatically considered to be unable or unwilling to perform their duties if they fail to attend a meeting four (4) consecutive times or for two (2) consecutive months, whichever occurs first, and the position is automatically declared vacant.
  • The National Council may declare a National Council member unable or unwilling to perform their duties and render that position vacant by an absolute two-thirds majority vote of those remaining members of the National Council.
  • In the event a vacancy appears on the National Council:
    • If at the last National Congress there were further candidates for the vacant position, the National Council must invite the next strongest candidate for that position onto the National Council, and repeat until the list exhausts. The National Council has seven (7) days to fill the vacancy using this method.
    • If there are no candidates or the time expires, the position is announced as vacant and an election is called for twenty-one (21) days from the date of the expired timer or date of resignation if no timer was triggered.
    • Other than the above, the election procedure is to follow the voting procedures of a National Congress, and may be held entirely online.
    • If no candidates stand for election, the National Council may opt to appoint a member to the National Council by absolute two-thirds majority vote of the remaining members of the National Council.

Rationale

Explicitly defines the requirements for a Councillor to be declared inactive and adds provisions for choosing a replacement now that we have the technical ability to hold online elections at any time.

CAP-4: Grammar A

Put by: Simon Frew

Motion

Capitalise every mention of Constitution

Rationale

CAP-5: Explicitly disallow state branches from registering as a federal party or division

Put by: Simon Frew

Motion

Add the following to section 2.1:

No State or Territory Branch may register as a federal political party, nor as a division of the Federal Party.

Rationale

Kill bureaucracy 10 years in advance. Parties have this dirty habit of spending too much time on developing mechanisms of control and bureaucracy. Disallowing this is future-proofing to stop in-fighting and ensure the federal party remains the central point for federal elections insofar as handling AEC bureaucracy is concerned and stops the 'regionalisation' of the Party.

CAP-6: Changes to the positions on the National Council

Put by: Simon Frew

Motion

Remove the role of Deputy Treasurer (3.2.6), Registered Officer (3.2.7) and the two Councillors (3.2.8).

Introduce the following roles:

  • Fundraising Officer
    • The Fundraising Officer shall, at a minimum:
      • Work with the National Council to develop fundraising programs and campaigns; and
      • Work to ensure the continued solvency of the Party.
  • Volunteer Officer
    • The Volunteer Officer shall, at a minimum:
      • Be the primary officer for new member engagement;
      • Provide guidance to members and the public at large on ways they can help the Party; and
      • Be the primary officer for coordination of volunteers during an election period.
  • Communications Officer
    • The Communications Officer shall, at a minimum:
      • Coordinate the digital voice of the Party, such as active engagement on social media;
      • Work with the publicity organs of the Party to ensure consistent and effective messaging; and
      • Provide guidance to the National Council on publicity matters.
  • Campaign Officer
    • The Campaign Officer shall, at a minimum:
      • Work with the National Council and the Party to build effective campaigns outside of and during the election period;
      • Effectively engage with the public to enhance the public image of the Party; and
      • Assist other officers with the development of effective campaigns.

Rename the following roles:

  • Party Secretary (3.2.3) to Secretary
  • Deputy Party Secretary (3.2.4) to Deputy Secretary

Redefine the following roles:

  • President (3.2.1)
    • The President shall, at a minimum:
      • Act as the coordinator for providing direction of the Party;
      • Take an active role in advocating on behalf of the Party in the public sphere;
      • Default as the chair of the National Congress, and meetings of the National Council; and
      • Co-ordinate the activities of the National Council.
  • Deputy President (3.2.2)
    • The Deputy President shall, at a minimum:
      • Assist the President with their duties in accordance with this Constitution; and
      • If the President is unable (on a temporary basis) to conduct their obligations under the Constitution, the Deputy is to substitute and fulfil those obligations.
  • Secretary (3.2.3)
    • The Secretary shall, at a minimum:
      • Provide notice in advance to members of all official meetings, and of the National Congress;
      • Prepare schedules, agenda, and correspondence from members for submission to the meeting or National Congress, and record attendance of persons present, and arrange for minutes or logs to be recorded;
      • Co-ordinate official correspondence of the National Council;
      • Maintain the party register, in accordance with Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918;
      • Maintain custody of all documents, statements and records of the Party, and except for those documents that are otherwise accounted for in this Constitution, by other officers; and
      • Briefly minute, or delegate responsibility for minuting, listing the decisions of meetings of the National Congress and National Council and ensure publication at the earliest possible convenience.
    • The Secretary fulfills the requirements and obligations of the position of the same name as defined in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.
    • The Secretary fulfills the requirements and obligations of the position of Registered Officer as defined in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.
  • Deputy Secretary (3.2.4)
    • The Deputy Secretary shall, at a minimum:
      • Assist the Secretary with their duties in accordance with this Constitution; and
      • If the Secretary is unable (on a temporary basis) to conduct their obligations under the constitution, the Deputy is to substitute and fulfil those obligations.
  • Treasurer (3.2.5)
    • The Treasurer shall, at a minimum:
      • Develop and ensure security and accountability measures for all receipts and payments are followed;
      • Submit an Annual Financial Report to the National Congress, detailing balance sheets, financial statements and relevant particulars;
      • Maintain adequate controls over Party finances and all financial records, documents, securities ensuring smooth transition when position is transferred; and
      • Ensure that all book keeping is conducted by an appropriately skilled person, and all documents conform to relevant legislation and regulations and this Constitution.
    • The Treasurer fulfills the requirements and obligations of the Party Agent as defined in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.
    • The receipt of all monies paid to the Party, the issuing of all receipts and the deposit of such monies into accounts determined by the National Council.

Remove section 2(4)

Rationale

CAP-7: Require full members to be registered to vote

Put by: Fletcher Boyd

Motion

Add the following paragraph to 4.1(1):

4.1(1)(e) Are registered on the Australian electoral roll.

Rationale

Although new members make a declaration to this effect when joining the requirement is not currently explicitly defined.

CAP-8: Change the member resignation process

Put by: Fletcher Boyd

Motion

Change 4.1(2) from:

A Member’s Party membership will not lapse unless the Member resigns from the Party in writing to the National Council, or an applicable membership fee is failed to be paid more than ninety (90) days after their membership period has expired.

To:

A Member’s Party membership will not lapse unless the Member resigns from the Party in writing to the Secretariat, or an applicable membership fee is failed to be paid more than ninety (90) days after their membership period has expired.

Rationale

In practice resignations need to be processed by the Secretariat and sending them to the National Council as a whole is unnecessary.

CAP-9: Change the required minuting timeframe

Put by: Fletcher Boyd

Motion

Change 6(7) from:

The minutes of a meeting should be distributed to the Members within seven days of the meeting. The National Council may specify procedures for the collection and dissemination of such minutes.

To:

The minutes of a meeting should be distributed to the Members within fourteen days of the meeting or before the group next convenes, whichever is shorter. The National Council may specify procedures for the collection and dissemination of such minutes.

Rationale

Change the required timeframe from 7 to 14 days unless doing so would adversely affect the next meeting. It is not uncommon for responsible parties to have constraints on their time that preclude shorter returning periods.

CAP-10: Change to National Congress announcement requirements

Put by: Fletcher Boyd

Motion

Change 6.1(3) from:

The National Congress must be announced forty-two (42) days prior to the date of the Congress.

To:

The National Congress must be announced at least forty-two (42) days prior to the date of the Congress.

Rationale

Currently the constitution needlessly specifies an exact date for the announcement.

CAP-11: Clarify Policy Meeting schedule requirements

Put by: Mozart Olbrycht-Palmer

Motion

Amend art 6.3(2) to read:

(2) The Policy Meeting may:

(a) be an independent meeting, (b) coincide with the National Congress, or (c) coincide with another meeting.

Amend art 6.3(3) to read:

(3) A Policy Meeting must always coincide with the Annual National Congress, but additional Policy Meetings may be held as often as deemed appropriate by the National Council.

Repeal art 6.3(4).

Rationale

There was a small amount of confusion as to whether arts 6.3(2) and (3) were inconsistent, as one reading may suggest that the latter requires Policy Meetings to always coincide with the National Congress. This clears up that seeming inconsistency. Art 6.3(4) is repealed as it is incorporated into the new art 6.3(4).

CAP-12A: Freeze quorum

Put by: Mozart Olbrycht-Palmer

Motion

Repeal art 9.1(4)

Preserve the text in art 9.1(1) to read: 'The constitution may only be amended during the National Congress. Amendments require a two-thirds majority vote with a quorum of twenty (20) percent of Members at the time the amendment was proposed.'

Rationale

This will freeze quorum at 20% of members for constitutional amendment proposals. While it is desirable to raise quorum until we reach an ideal point where the maximum number of members that can be reasonably expected to vote are in fact voting. The problem with this is that if we raise quorum to 22% this year, we will not know whether we have exceeded the maximum number of members that will vote until next Congress, where we risk having all amendment proposals defeated for lack of quorum.

CAP-12B: Protective quorum provision

Put by: Mozart Olbrycht-Palmer

Motion

Amend art 9.1(4) to read:

At each subsequent National Congress, the members will vote on whether to raise the quorum in Article 9.1(1) by an additional two (2) percent (eg from 10% to 12% to 14%, etc), unless this would raise quorum above the percentage of members who cast a vote at the previous National Congress. In the event that the Members do not vote in favour of that increase or are prevented by this clause from voting to increase quorum, then this clause will lapse.

Rationale

This is an alternative solution to the problem described in CAP-12A’s rationale. This would mean that if 25% of members voted at Congress 2016, and quorum was raised to 22%, the following Congress could raise it to 24%. However, if only 23% voted in 2016, the membership would not be able to raise the quorum to 24% in 2017 because this would exceed the quorum at the previous Congress.

CAP-13: Quorum clarification

Put by: Mozart Olbrycht-Palmer

Motion

If CAP-12A or CAP-12B does not pass, amend art 9.1(4) to read:

At each subsequent National Congress, the members will vote on whether to raise the quorum in Article 9.1(1) by an additional two (2) percent (eg from 10% to 12% to 14%, etc). In the event that the Members do not vote in favour of that increase, then this clause will lapse. This motion may be defeated on the Congress floor as if it were an ordinary constitutional amendment.

Rationale

This makes it clear that the motion to raise quorum can be defeated by debate at the National Congress conference, and would therefore not pass to a full vote of the membership. This would be more flexible but not as certain as CAP-12A or CAP-12B.

CAP-14: Dispute Resolution Committee vacancies

Put by: Mozart Olbrycht-Palmer & Thomas Randle

Motion

Amend art 12(3) to read:

12(3) A member of the Dispute Resolution Committee will cease to hold their position if they notify the National Council in writing of their resignation from the Dispute Resolution Committee or resignation from the Party.

Insert the following clauses after art 12(3) and correct the numbering

12(4) In the event that a member of the Dispute Resolution Committee is unable or unwilling to perform their duties, the National Council may declare the position vacant by a three-quarters majority.

12(5) If a Dispute Resolution Committee member joins the National Council, their Dispute Resolution Committee position must be declared vacant from the date on which the member begins their term on the National Council.

12(6) In the event that a position within the Dispute Resolution Committee becomes or is declared vacant, or remains unoccupied following a National Congress, the National Council must arrange, as soon as feasible, for the election of a replacement by the members with not less than seven (7) days in which nominations may be received, with a voting period on the same terms as clause 6.4.

12(7) If a National Council member joins the Dispute Resolution Committee, their National Council position will be declared vacant from the date on which the member begins their term on the Dispute Resolution Committee, and will be filled in accordance with clause 10.1(6).

Rationale

This provides a method to resolve vacancies on the Dispute Resolution Committee between National Congresses and add a reasonable limitation on those that can serve on the committee.