Together. The Party. Draft Constitution.
1. Name. The party shall be called The Together Party. It may be abbreviated to the word ‘Together’. Logos will be created that include the full and abbreviated party names.
2. Aims. The party will campaign for the restoration of government in the public interest, for the return of government to an active, constructive role in our society, for an end to privatisation, for fair and effective taxation to achieve social justice, for a broad range of policies designed to rebuild and protect the common wealth of Australia and Australians. See the Together Manifesto for more details on the aims of the party and its policies: Annexure A.
3. Members. To join Together you need to provide your personal details to the party including full name, address, date of birth, telephone number and email address, unless we agree otherwise. You agree that we may check your name on the AEC electoral roll to confirm that you are enrolled to vote. If you are not on the electoral roll, you may be an associate member. You also need to agree to advocate for the party, consistent with its aims, and to make your best efforts to participate in the party by attending annual general meetings (whether in person or electronically), by volunteering to support the campaigns of the party, or by assisting with fundraising and making direct donations to the party. You agree not to bring the party into disrepute and to not disparage the party without justification. Members who, in the judgement of the general committee, bring the party into disrepute or disparage the party without foundation, may be expelled (in this event, members may appeal and must be allowed natural justice or procedural fairness at all times). There will be no membership fee. Members must be at least 16 years of age. A register of members will be kept by the party.
4. Donations. Only individuals resident in Australia or Australian nationals may make donations to the party. No donations from companies or anyone or any entity other than individuals will be accepted. Together will accept government funding in accordance with Australian law. Members do not need to participate in fundraising but are encouraged to do so.
5. Candidates. The party membership may decide to run candidates in any house of any Australian parliament, state or federal. The short term objective of the party is to run candidates in the 2019 federal election in the Senate in New South Wales. A majority of members must support the nomination of any candidate for the party. Any proposed candidate must be approved as ‘fit and proper’ by the general committee before being put forward for election by the party members. Candidates will be confirmed at the first party conference in February 2019 and at annual party conferences thereafter.
6. Office Holders. The party shall have an executive of no more than 7 people who are all elected by the other members of the party at a general meeting. Each member will sit on the committee until the next annual general meeting; the committee may appoint a member of the party to a casual vacancy but any appointments will only sit on the committee until the next annual general meeting. The roles and rules for committee members shall be as follows:
Chair – who will lead the committee and organisation consistent with party aims and its policy platform as approved by members from time to time;
Secretary – who is responsible for the day-to-day running of the party under the direction of the committee, along with governance and compliance, party administration and correspondence including liaison with the AEC on general election and enrolment matters along with other statutory obligations under the Electoral Act and other law (and also acts as the Registered Officer);
Treasurer – who is responsible for internal finances, book-keeping and reporting along with annual financial disclosures and including other statutory obligations under the Electoral Act and other law (and also acts as the Party Agent);
Committee members (4) – who will participate in decision making of the organisation
New members - the general committee may invite new members to join the committee between our first meeting and the first conference in February 2029;
Party Agent – the Treasurer will also be the Party Agent, responsible for filing the financial disclosure returns of the party and receiving any election funding granted to the party;
The Registered Officer – the Secretary will also be the Registered Officer who is responsible for nominating the party’s endorsed candidates and the approved name and abbreviation to be used by Together and its candidates on ballot papers.
7. Corporate Structure. The party will become a corporate entity to be able to operate its own bank account, attract donations and reinforce financial transparency. For convenience the party might begin as an Incorporated Association in New South Wales but if candidates run in other jurisdictions the party may need to become a company limited by guarantee. The committee may decide this issue before the first annual conference in February 2019. Submissions will be sought from members before any decision is taken on corporate structure.
8. Organisation and Operation. The party will have one national organisation. The party will not have state or territory based branches. The membership may review, and if it sees fit change, this position over time. The party accepts that it is new organisation with limited capacity and will remain as simple as possible in its operations for the time being. Together will rely on volunteer input. A Code of Conduct for volunteers will be established.
9. Finances. The party will have its own bank internet account with a community-owned banking institution. The treasurer and another committee member will have access to and operate that account on an either-to-operate basis. All cash taken by the party must be deposited within 48 hours. Any member is entitled to receive a copy of the party bank account statement. Financial statements will be generated using our bank account statements. Non-electronic transactions should be minimised. Statements will be reviewed before each committee meeting and checked for errors and anomalies. Until a corporate entity is established, a committee member may open an account to hold money on trust for the party.
10. Financial reports. The financial year for the organisation will run from 1 July to 30 June each year. Balance sheets and profit and loss statements (or their equivalent from time to time) will be generated and approved by the general committee. An auditor may be appointed and elected by the party membership. The treasurer will oversee the preparation of reports. Financial reports will be made to members in advance of the annual general meeting by email.
11. Annual General Meeting. An annual general meeting (AGM) will be held each year in October. Members must be given at least one month’s notice of an AGM. Members may propose agenda items for the AGM and are encouraged to do so. The committee of the party may decide whether to include or exclude an agenda item for the AGM. Candidates for election and formal party policy will be approved at the AGM each year. The annual conference may coincide with the AGM.
12. Committees. The party will elect a general committee to act on behalf of members and run the organisation of the party. The general committee will include the chair, treasurer, secretary and 4 other members and shall be responsible for setting the direction of the party, implementing the decisions of the membership and committee, meeting the legal and other compliance obligations of the party and overseeing all campaign activities. The committee will meet at least quarterly or more regularly as it sees fit. Minutes of each committee meeting must be kept including all decisions made by the committee; and the minutes must be made available to members within one month of a meeting. Sub-committees may be created by the general committee as it sees fit including governance, policy development, finance, candidate selection and fundraising sub-committees. Sub-committees need only report to the general committee but their minutes may be included in the minutes of the general committee. The general committee will set all terms of reference for sub-committees and will retain all decision-making power; sub-committees are empowered only to make recommendations.
13. Policy Development. The party will create a think tank and community brains trust to assist policy development. The party will actively encourage all members to participate in policy development. Policies will be formally endorsed by members at the annual conference each year. The general committee will determine the agenda of and presenters for the annual conference. The party website will be designed to enable members to post contributions to policy debates and to engage with other members and the public on policy issues.
14. Changes to this Constitution. The party may change any part of its constitution only by passing a special resolution, that is, three quarters of all members voting including proxy votes must vote in favour of any change. The committee may make minor changes to the constitution up until the first party conference in February 2019.
15. Winding Up. In the event the party is wound up, any surplus from its operations will be donated to a non-profit charitable or political cause chosen by a majority of the members. In the event that the organisation owes money at the time of winding-up party members will only have to pay the organisation the amount of any unpaid membership fees; if there are no fees payable then a member will have no debt to the organisation.
16. Privacy. We will use member personal information to communicate with members and government bodies like the AEC. We will never sell member information. Member names will be listed on a register that other members may inspect. We will store your information including contact details securely. We only obtain personal information from our members directly and do not purchase personal information from third parties.
Note: the detail of this Constitution may need to be revised to meet the requirements of the Australian Electoral Commission and the Electoral Act over time. If Together becomes a company limited by guarantee, then the Corporations Act 2001 will also apply. In any event, where the constitution is silent on a matter, the members of the party agree to be guided by the provisions of the Corporations Act 2001 that apply to public companies limited by guarantee.
Note: the detail of this Constitution may need to be revised to meet the requirements of the Australian Electoral Commission and the Electoral Act. If Together becomes a company limited by guarantee, then the Corporations Act 2001 will also apply.