The operating procedures derive from the Act, Statutes, procedural decisions taken by Council and standard meeting practices adopted by decision of Council.
1.1 Dates, Time, Duration, Extension
Statute 4.1: The Council provides that Council will hold regular meetings as it determines. Council sets the dates of regular meetings on an annual basis. Council has determined for the time being that meetings shall commence at 2.00pm.
1.2 Chairing of Council meetings
Section 18(4) of the University Act states that "the Chancellor or, in his or her absence a member of the Council elected by those present, will preside at meetings of the Council".
1.3 Lack of business
If the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor consider that there is insufficient business to justify a meeting of Council, the Chancellor will instruct the Secretary of the Council to cancel the meeting.
1.4 Special Meetings
Statute 4.1: The Council provides that special meetings may be held. Special meetings of Council may be convened:
*by resolution of the members present and voting at a previous meeting;
*by the Secretary of the Council at the request of the Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor. A written notice of such a meeting shall be sent to each member at least seven clear days prior to the meeting;
*by the Secretary of the Council at the written request of at least four members. Such a request will explain the reasons for holding the meeting. The meeting will be held within fourteen days of receiving the request.
A special meeting will consider only the business for which the meeting was convened. Other business may only be considered at a special meeting with the agreement of a majority of the members present and voting.
The Council may adjourn any meeting or debate to a future setting. New business may only be considered at an adjourned meeting with the agreement of a majority of the members present and voting.
2 Attendance at Meetings
2.1 Attendance by Council members
Council members are required to attend meetings regularly and when they cannot attend, they should observe Council procedure regarding apologies or leave of absence. Under the University Act Section 6(6)(b), Council may remove from office a member who fails without reasonable excuse to comply with Council requirements in relation to attendance at meetings.
A member who is unable to attend a meeting should inform the Council Secretary as early as possible before that meeting. Apologies are announced at the meeting and recorded in the minutes.
2.3 Leave of Absence
A member who will be absent from Council for three or more meetings in succession should seek leave of absence. Written requests for leave of absence should be submitted to the Council Secretary for consideration by Council at its next regular meeting.
2.4 Attendance by other persons
Confidential items are open only to the members of Council, members of the Senior Executive and those members of the University staff who provide administrative and secretarial services to the Council. Non-confidential items are open to members of the University who are defined as members of staff of the University, students enrolled in the University and graduates of the University. Persons who are not members of the University may not attend meetings of Council. If the Chairperson becomes aware that a person who is not a member of the University is an observer, he/she shall ask the person to leave the meeting.
Members of the University who attend meetings of Council are subject to the following provisions:
*observers shall not publish matters discussed at Council meetings without the prior approval of the Secretary of the Council;
*observers may not speak or participate in the meeting unless invited to do so by the Chairperson;
*if Council resolves to go into confidential session, observers shall leave the meeting at the request of the Chairperson;
*in the event of a disturbance being created by one or more observers, the Chairperson will ask the person or persons to desist. If the disturbance continues the Chairperson will ask the person or persons to leave the meeting. If they refuse, the Chairperson will ask all observers to leave the meeting. If they refuse the Chairperson will adjourn the meeting and it will be reconvened later to deal with the remaining items on the agenda, in which case the Chairperson will determine whether the meeting should be held in camera.
2.5 The attendance of members or invited guests during a Council meeting will be recorded in the Minutes, and a record will be made of any instance where a person who has been present at the meeting leaves the meeting or returns to it during an item.
No question can be decided at any meeting of the Council unless at least eleven members of the Council are present (Section 18(3) - University Act). If a quorum has not been achieved after a quarter of an hour from the time appointed for the meeting, or if the quorum is not maintained during the meeting, the Chairperson shall close or adjourn the meeting, and any scheduled business that has not been dealt with shall be held over until a later time, or until a future meeting.
4.1 Notice of meeting and circulation of agenda
The notice of meeting is in the form of the agenda and papers for each meeting. The agenda will indicate the time, date and place of the meeting. The Council Secretary will send the notice of meeting to the nominated address of each member of Council, at least seven clear days before the meeting (ie on the Thursday of the week prior to the meeting). Inadvertent failure to notify a member of a meeting, or to issue the notice of meeting by the deadline specified above will not render the meeting invalid.
4.2 Late circulation of papers
Additional papers may be circulated no later than two clear days before the meeting.
4.3 Tabling of papers
The Chancellor may allow papers to be tabled at a meeting, although a majority of members present and voting may resolve not to consider them at that meeting.
4.4 Submission of items for the agenda
Items of business for inclusion in the agenda may be submitted by the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, members of the Senior Executive, the Secretary of the Council, the standing committees of Council and individual Council members. They should be supported by documentation which explains the item and recommends action to be taken by the Council. To be accepted for inclusion on the agenda, items of business must concern matters which are within the jurisdiction of the Council.
4.5 Deadline for Agenda
Items and papers for inclusion in the agenda for a regular meeting of Council must be received by the Council Secretary no later than nine clear days before the meeting. As Council meetings are normally held on a Thursday, this means that to be included in the agenda, material must be received by the Secretary before 5.00pm on the Friday of the week before the agenda is circulated. Except with the approval of the Secretary of the Council, material received after this deadline will be held over until the next regular meeting.
4.6 Questions/comments about agenda papers
Council members should contact the Council Secretary if they have queries about items in the Council agenda and minutes, or if they want information about Council procedures or the operation of the University.
4.7 Nominated address
Members of Council will advise the Council Secretary of the address to which all communications about the Council are to be sent and will notify the Council Secretary of any change of address.
4.8 Additions to the agenda
A new item of business which does not appear on the agenda may only be considered at a regular meeting with the agreement of a majority of the members present and voting.
4.9 Starring of items for discussion
- The * symbol is used to denote significant items of business to be discussed by Council. Prior to circulating the agenda for each meeting, an agenda preview group comprising the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and the Secretary of the Council, determines which items will be starred. At the beginning of each regular meeting, the Chairperson will ask Council members to:
- * identify and star any additional items for discussion; and
- * resolve that all unstarred items be received or approved as appropriate, which means that the recommendations attaching to such items are accepted without discussion.
5 Order of Business
The Chairperson may vary the order of business at any meeting. The order of business at each regular meeting shall generally be as follows:
- * apologies;
- * any matters concerning the membership of Council;
- * confirmation of the minutes of the last regular meeting and the minutes of any special meetings held since the last regular meeting;
- * business arising from the minutes – this item allows members to raise for discussion items arising from the minutes which are not included elsewhere in the agenda;
- * starring of agenda items which members wish to be discussed;
- * identification of significant items which should be given priority to allow a full discussion during the meeting;
- * items for decision/approval;
- * items for discussion, including a report from the Vice-Chancellor (confidential and/or non-confidential);
- * items for noting.
6.1 Confidential items
The items for Council meetings will be designated confidential (printed on grey paper) or non-confidential (printed on gold paper). The confidential items are circulated to Council members only. Prior to a meeting, a member may only discuss confidential items with other members of Council, the Secretary of the Council or the Council Secretary. A small number of these matters are confidential only until a decision has been made by the Council and they are then reported as non-confidential items of the minutes. Following a decision by Council on a confidential item, information about the decision may be disclosed to persons who are not members of Council unless the Chairperson directs or the minutes indicate that the item is to remain confidential.
6.2 Confidential minutes
If a matter remains confidential following a Council meeting (eg because it is still subject to negotiation or formal acceptance), it will be denoted by a symbol "C" alongside the number of the item in the minutes and circulated to Council members only. Matters decided by Council as part of the confidential agenda, which are no longer confidential following the meeting, will be recorded as non-confidential and included in the non-confidential minutes distributed to members of the University.
6.3 Breach of confidentiality
If there is evidence that a breach of confidentiality has occurred but the source is not able to be identified, the Chairperson will bring the matter to the attention of Council at its next meeting, and will remind members that it is their responsibility to act in accordance with these confidentiality provisions. If a particular member is alleged to have breached confidentiality, that person may be the subject of a censure motion.
6.4 Censure motion
Such a motion may only be proposed in a confidential item of the Council agenda. Council will consider a censure motion in accordance with principles of natural justice. In order to give the person who is the subject of the motion time to prepare a response to it, either:
* notice of a censure motion must be given prior to a regular meeting; or
* notice of a censure motion may be given at a meeting, in which case the member giving notice of the motion must inform Council of the substance of the allegations of breach of confidentiality and must provide evidence to substantiate these allegations at the time notice is given. The subject of the motion will then be given the right to respond to the allegations. However, the Chairperson will allow no further discussion, and debate and resolution on the motion will be deferred to the next regular meeting.
Once appropriate notice has been given, the censure motion will be included as a confidential item for consideration and decision at the next regular meeting of the Council. The censure motion must be moved and seconded prior to debate on it. In proposing the motion, the mover must inform Council of the substance of the allegations of breach of confidentiality and must provide evidence to substantiate these allegations. If he/she fails to do so the Chairperson will disallow the motion. If the motion is accepted by the Chairperson, the member who is the subject of the motion then has the right to put his/her case to Council. The censure motion and the outcome of Council's debate on it will be recorded in the confidential section of the minutes.
6.5 Recording of Proceedings
The making of a voice recording of meetings is not permitted exept with the permission of the Chairperson.
Minutes of the proceedings of every meeting of Council will be recorded and at the end of each year will be bound, and kept as a permanent record of the decisions of the Council. The minutes of each meeting will be presented at the next regular meeting for confirmation as a correct record and signature by the Chairperson. Discussion about the minutes will be restricted to questions about their accuracy as a record of the business of the Council. Members who wish to question the accuracy of the minutes should contact the Council Secretary prior to the next regular meeting in order to propose a motion to amend the minutes prior to their confirmation.
The minutes of Council will record:
* the nature of the meeting, whether regular, special, or adjourned;
* the date, time and place of the meeting;
* the name of the person presiding at the meeting, the names of members of Council who are present, the names of officers of the University in attendance, the names of any persons present by invitation and the names of members who have tendered an apology;
* a summary of the business conducted at the meeting including all duly moved and seconded motions, and amendments; a concise statement of major points of discussion about a motion, followed by the motion; at the request of any member, a note that the member voted against or abstained from voting on a motion or amendment;
* any other matters at the direction of the Chairperson.
8 Notices of Motion
A member who wishes to give formal notice of a motion in advance of a meeting may either:
* propose the motion at the preceding meeting; or
* present a written notice of motion to the Council Secretary not less than nine clear days prior to the meeting.
To be accepted for inclusion on the agenda, a notice of motion must concern a matter which is within the jurisdiction of the Council. A member may place no more than three notices of motion on the agenda for any meeting of Council. A notice of motion may be given by one member on behalf of another member. In the absence of a member who has given notice of motion, any member present at the meeting may move such motion.
8.1 Proposing a motion
Prior to allowing debate on a matter, the Chairperson will ensure that the meeting has before it a duly moved and seconded motion. A member who wishes to move or foreshadow a motion that does not appear on the agenda should prepare a written copy of the motion. Where practicable, the member should arrange for the Council Secretary to copy the proposed motion and circulate it to all members present at the meeting. This provision does not apply to procedural motions or to motions which are simple and easily understood. In the event that the motion cannot be prepared and duplicated prior to the meeting, the member proposing the motion should put it in writing, read it to the meeting and submit it to the Council Secretary to be recorded in the minutes. Motions will be proposed through the Chairperson. If the motion is accepted by the Chairperson he/she will initiate debate by calling for a member to second the motion, and then calling for speakers for and against. The Chairperson will not accept a motion which is the same in substance as any other motion or amendment which has been carried or lost during the same meeting. If the Chairperson moves a motion, a seconder is not required. When a question before Council consists of more than one motion, the Chairperson will put those motions separately, unless Council resolves to combine them into a single motion. The Chairperson may direct a complicated question to be divided and put as a series of motions. Once the separate motions have been put, the Chairperson may combine them and put the whole motion to the vote.
8.2 Lapsed motion or amendment
Any motion or amendment which is not seconded lapses and will not be recorded in the minutes. This provision does not apply to dissent motions and some procedural motions which normally are not open for discussion and which do not therefore require a seconder (refer to 8.9 and 8.10 below).
8.3 Amendment or withdrawal of motion
A motion may be amended or withdrawn by the mover and seconder with leave of Council. An amendment is an alteration to the terms of a motion which is designed to improve the motion. The Chairperson will not accept a proposed amendment if it negates or contradicts the substantive motion. Once an amendment has been moved, seconded and accepted by the Chairperson, debate on the substantive motion shall be suspended until the amendment is carried, lost or withdrawn. When an amendment has been proposed and carried, the meeting may resume debate on the original motion as amended. When an amendment has been put and lost, or withdrawn, the original motion will be put subject to any further amendments and after such further debate as appropriate. A member may move and second only one amendment to each substantive motion. The Chairperson will accept only one amendment at a time. A motion to amend a proposed amendment which is already before the meeting may only be accepted if the mover and seconder of the original amendment agree to incorporate it into that amendment. In all other cases further amendments will be foreshadowed, to be moved and seconded only when the amendment before the meeting has been carried, lost or withdrawn. The mover of an amendment has no right of reply.
8.4 Chairperson may take part in the debate
The Chairperson may take part in the debate from the Chair, or he/she may vacate the Chair and call upon a member of Council to act as Chairperson while he/she speaks from the floor.
8.5 Member wishing to speak
Every member of Council who wishes to speak will signify this intention to the Chairperson. When two or more members signify an intention to speak the Chairperson will call upon these members in the order in which he/she considers they signified that intention. Members will address their remarks through the Chairperson.
8.6 Member may speak only once
Generally, the Chairperson will allow members to speak only once to a motion before the Council, with the exception of the mover of the motion who is given the right of reply. A seconder may normally speak only once. However, he/she may reserve this speech until later in the debate and will signify this at the time he/she seconds the motion. A member who seconds a motion or amendment without debate is deemed not to have spoken. Members should try to limit their remarks on any one subject to no more than five, but preferably three, minutes. No member may speak to any motion after it has been put by the Chairperson and the show of hands or ballot has been taken.
8.7 Right of reply
The mover of a substantive motion has the right of reply. The mover of an amendment, of some procedural motions (refer to 8.10), or of a dissent motion (refer to 8.9), has no right of reply.
8.8 Point of order
A point of order is taken when a member formally draws the Chairperson's attention to an alleged irregularity in the proceedings of the meeting. The most common grounds for a point of order are that a breach of the rules of procedure has occurred, or that a speaker's remarks are irrelevant or repetitious. A point of order must be taken as soon as the alleged irregularity occurs. It takes precedence over the business before the meeting. The member making the point of order must identify the action he/she is objecting to and the reasons for the objection. The Chairperson shall allow discussion on a point of order prior to announcing his/her ruling and reasons in support of that ruling. If a member does not agree with the ruling, he/she may move a dissent motion (refer to 8.9). Points of order and the rulings on them shall be recorded in the minutes.
8.9 Dissent motion
A member who disagrees with a ruling from the Chairperson may move a dissent motion "That the Chairperson's ruling be dissented from". The dissent motion must be moved immediately following the ruling. Usually there is no need for discussion on a dissent motion and a seconder is therefore not required. The mover of a dissent motion has no right of reply. Another member will take the Chair during the vote. Dissent motions will be minuted.
8.10 Procedural motions
Procedural motions concern the conduct of the meeting. The most common procedural motions are:
(a) "that the Council proceed to the next item of business"
(b) "that the Council adjourn"
(c) "that the question now be put
(d) "that the question not now be put"
(e) "that the speaker no longer be heard"
(f) "that the matter be referred back to the person or body which submitted the proposal".
The Chairperson has the discretion to refuse to accept motions (a), (c) and (e) but may not refuse the other procedural motions listed above.
Motions (b), (d) and (f) require a seconder because discussion on them is permitted. Motions (a), (c) and (e) do not require a seconder and no discussion is allowed. Motions (a), (c) and (d) may not be amended. The other motions listed above may only be amended to alter details of time, place, etc.
The movers of procedural motions (b) and (f) have a right of reply. No right of reply is permitted to the movers of the other procedural motions listed above.
If procedural motions (a) or (d) are carried, the substantive motion or item of business may not be considered again at the same meeting but may be brought forward to a subsequent meeting.
A member cannot move more than one procedural motion during debate on a particular motion or amendment.
8.11 Conclusion of debate
When debate about a motion is concluded, the Chairperson will ask Council to vote on the motion.
9 Method of Voting
A question that comes before a meeting of the Council will be decided by the majority of members present at the meeting and voting on the question (Section 18(1) of the Act). Ex officio members are entitled to vote.
Voting will be conducted by a show of hands, unless a secret ballot is requested by at least three members. The Chairperson will ask the members who are present to vote on a motion or amendment by asking first those members who wish to vote in favour to raise their hands. The Chairperson will then ask those members who wish to vote against the motion or amendment to raise their hands. The Chairperson will then declare the motion carried or lost. A member who does not vote for or against a motion or amendment will be deemed to have abstained from voting. At the request of a member, the Chairperson will inform the meeting of the numbers voting for and against. Numbers of votes cast will not appear in the minutes unless a member asks for the vote about a particular motion or amendment to be recorded. At the request of a member, the minutes will record that the member voted against or abstained from voting on a motion or amendment. Section 18(2) of the University Act provides for the Chancellor or person presiding at the meeting to have a vote and, in the case of an equality of votes, a casting vote. Any reasons given by the Chairperson to explain his/her use of the casting vote will be recorded in the minutes. Where a secret ballot is held, the Secretary of the Council will act as Returning Officer.
Members may submit questions on notice for inclusion in the agenda. Such questions, in writing, will be sent to the Council Secretary not less than eleven clear days prior to a meeting.
Any petition to be submitted to Council must be in writing and may be presented to a meeting of Council:
- * by any member or by the Secretary of the Council;
- * by a group of not more than three of the petitioners at the invitation of the Council.
The person(s) presenting the petition shall inform Council who has sent it, how many people have signed it and what it is about.
12 Conferring of Degrees and Diplomas In Absentia
Statute 7.7: Admission to Degrees provides that a candidate for a degree "shall be presented at a graduation ceremony … ". Further, a candidate "may be admitted either in absentia or by attending a meeting of the Council if the Council so approves." The conferral of degrees and diplomas at Council meetings is handled in accordance with the following procedures adopted on 28 June 1996:
* the Chancellor has appointed the Vice-Chancellor to act in place of the Executive Deans of Faculty for the purpose of presenting candidates for degrees and diplomas at Council meetings;
* the presentation of candidates by the Vice-Chancellor is made in writing in a paper distributed with the Council agenda;
* candidates are admitted in absentia through approval by Council of the document which lists the candidates and the awards and degrees for which they have fulfilled requirements;
* the conferral of degrees in absentia will be an unstarred item on the Council agenda and will be dealt with accordingly.
13 Matters Not Dealt With in Procedures and Guidelines
If questions arise which are not dealt with in these procedures and guidelines the decision of the Chairperson shall be final.
14 Suspension of Procedures and Guidelines
Any of these procedures and guidelines may be suspended by means of a motion made with or without notice. Such a motion must be carried by a majority of the members present and voting.