The New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters Incorporated
1991 Branch and Delegates Guide to Conference
From: Break In April 1991 Each Branch should hold a remit meeting in time to brief your Branch representative for the Annual General Meeting at Queen's Birthday Weekend. If NZART is to function democratically, all Branches should be represented. The following is a recommended procedure that complies with the Constitution.
1. Appoint your delegate
You may appoint up to two delegates one of whom should be the senior delegate. If your delegates disagree at Conference, it is the senior delegate who will be recognised as being authorised to cast your Branch vote. Try not to appoint association Councillors or Officers if you have another willing delegate available. If asked, Councillors and Officers will be happy to be your delegate, but they will already have had a long meeting the day before. Besides, the Annual General Meeting is for Branches and individual members to have their say and an opportunity for Councillors and Officers to listen, so make the most of it.
Your delegate need not be a Branch member, but must be an Association member. If your Branch is not sending a delegate, give your voting instruction to a delegate from another Branch, or, if that is not possible, to the General Secretary. 3. Count the transmitting and non-transmitting members of NZART present at your meeting, and note each total carefully Your delegate will need these figures to apply to the Branch total voting strength for any Conference vote. Association members attached to your Branch by headquarters are entitled to attend and vote at your remit meeting, even if they are not members of your Branch. Members attached to another Branch must vote at that other Branch meeting.
4. Specifically give your delegate discretion
Your delegate will listen to the Conference debate, and needs your authority to vote in a manner other than the way you voted at your Branch meeting. Unless you do this, there is no point in the Association having an Annual General Meeting, which could then just as satisfactorily be conducted by a postal ballot. You should give your delegate discretion in all cases - even if your Branch view seems to be set in concrete and unlikely to change. It is surprising how new material can arise at Conference which will place matters in a different light. Further, instructions to your delegate which are "set in concrete" will be of no use if a remit is amended, as your delegate will have no way of knowing how you would have voted on the amendment. You must trust your delegate to represent you properly and delegates themselves should insist that they have the necessary discretions.
5. Try to brief your delegate not just on your vote, but what you think
Why do you think the vote should go in a particular way? This will enable your delegate to partake in Conference debate in a more informed way, and ensure that your views are presented logically and intelligently.
6. At The Conference
Remember, this is an Annual General Meeting of an Incorporated Society, and not a general forum. Only delegates may vote, except where an individual member indicates at the commencement of the Annual General Meetings that the member wishes to vote in person and not through a delegate. When this happens, the Branch vote will be reduced accordingly. Strictly, this "delegates only" rule applies also to votes on matters of procedure, but in practice, the Chairman will, in non-contentious matters, take a "feeling of the meeting" vote at which this rule is not observed. For example, common sense requires that votes on such matters as acceptance of apologies, or that the heaters be turned up or down, will be conducted as meeting votes rather than delegate votes. Voting on contentious issues, however, will be strictly confined to delegates. All Association members are entitled to speak at the meeting. This is not confined to delegates. Non-members (for example, overseas visitors and spouses of members) may speak only at the discretion of the Chairman. Soon after the Annual General Meeting commences, your delegate will be given a Branch voting figure, divided into transmitting and non-transmitting. These figures must be carefully noted. It is the delegate's task to convert the voting ratio from the Branch meeting so that it reflects the Branch vote. If your Branch vote was 20-10 at Branch meeting, and your Branch has 150 members, your delegate will vote 100 for, 50 against, at Conference - unless your delegate uses discretion and alters this vote after having listened to the discussion. Delegates who do not understand this procedure must ensure they do so before the meeting commences. Remember, your delegate will be given a separate voting strength for transmitting and non-transmitting figures. Your delegate must use the transmitting figure on transmitting remits, and the non-transmitting figure on non-transmitting remits. Remember, too, that all constitutional remits are transmitting and require a 60 per cent majority to be passed.
7. Discussions and Voting
The remit is introduced briefly by the delegate of the Branch that has put it forward. If your Branch has put forward a remit, be prepared for this. No seconder is required. Discussion will follow. The delegate from the proposing Branch will have a brief right of reply. Voting is first on voices. If the Chairman is satisfied the vote is decisive, the Chairman will declare the result. If the result is unclear on the voices, the Chairman will then call for a show of hands from delegates. If your delegate is dissatisfied with the result declared, your delegate may then call for a count of votes, which will be conducted immediately. Note carefully that if your delegate requires an actual vote count, your delegate must make this demand before the meeting proceeds to the next business. It is the right of any delegate to require a count, but unnecessary counts should not be called for as it delays the meeting. Notwithstanding the above, in appropriate cases, voting may be by acclamation.
Do make your contribution. Identify yourself by callsign and by Branch and address the Chairman. Do not repeat what has already been said. If you don't understand a point, ask for clarification. When necessary, seek the help of more experienced delegates. If you disagree strongly with what is said, say so, but preface your remarks courteously, for example, "With respect to the previous speaker's view, my Branch strongly disagrees. These are the reasons ...". Don't be intimidated by the atmosphere, which new delegates may find difficult at first. While the atmosphere takes a little while to get used to and may seem hostile and unforgiving at first, it is actually a friendly and tolerant forum, and delegates will soon get used to it. If in doubt, seek guidance from Councillors and former Councillors (White Badge ) or honorary Life Members (Red Badge ), who will be only too happy to help you.
9. Conference Venue
Towards the end of the meeting, the Chairman will call for volunteers to hold the Conference in two years time. Is your Branch area able to be a host? Please consider this at your remit meeting, as in recent years delegates have tended not to come briefed on this point.
10. The Constitution
The following provisions relate to the Annual General Meeting, and are covered in the forgoing. You may like to read the actual provisions before Conference. Para 2(a) definition of " Annual Conference " Para 4(a) (i), (ii), (iii), voting etc. Para 19,20, and 21, attendance, voting etc, note particularly 20(d). See also19(a) setting the venue for Conference. Para 22, procedure for introduction and voting on remits Para 24, constitutional remits.
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