ASBS logo

President's Report

ASBS Newsletter 104, September 2000

[Delivered to the 22nd Annual General Meeting in Sydney]


Since the current council of Australian Systematic Botany Society Inc. was appointed in December 1999, this President’s report covers less than six months. I would like to acknowledge the outstanding work of the last Council and sincerely thank each of them for the significant contribution that they have made. The current Council members look forward to assisting the growth of the Society. Building on the achievements of previous Councils will do this.

A review of the Society’s Constitution has highlighted a problem that requires resolution as soon as possible. In particular, the Council has recognised that the Society is not meeting its obligations under its “Name, Object and Rules of the Australian Systematic Botany Society Inc.” (namely, the Constitution) or the “Associations Incorporation Act 1991” (namely, the Act).

One of the important areas where the Society has failed to meet the requirements of the Constitution and the Act is that we have to hold the AGM within five months of the end of the financial year. Unfortunately, this requirement means that the last seven AGMs were not constitutional. Therefore, since the we were incorporated in 1993, the Society has not held constitutional AGMs. Since we are a small Society, with members scattered throughout Australia and Overseas, it has proved very difficult for us to satisfy this legal requirement.

There is also a legal requirement for the audited accounts of the Society to be lodged with the Registrar-General (in the A.C.T.) within 6 months of the end of the financial year. As a consequence of the AGMs being regarded as the deadlines, our failure to submit the audited accounts on time results in the Society incurring a late-fee. The penalty is currently set at $200.

The Society is also non compliant with the Constitution in the area of categories of membership. The Society has created “Institutional” and “Retired and unemployed” member categories but these have not been defined within the Constitution.

Council has agreed to review the Society’s procedures and protocols as defined by the “Name, Object and Rules of the Australian Systematic Botany Society Inc.”, in association with the “Associations Incorporation Act 1991” and other legislation referred to in this Act. It has been agreed to complete the following actions by the end of December 2000:

  1. To complete the review of the Constitution
  2. To comply with the Act
  3. To develop guidelines for Council and subcommittees appointed by council
  4. To present recommendations to the Membership

Although the above issues are legally serious, I would like to stress that all previous Councils have been extremely diligent in applying the spirit of Constitution in all matters. Our aim is to satisfy the Constitution and the Act while ensuring the future development of the Society.

Barry Conn