Volume 19, Issue 11
The LSS Special General Meeting (SGM) was on the 5th of May. De Minimis has written this short account of what went down, if you couldn’t make it on the night. A number of proposals were voted on. A copy of all proposed changes will be appended to the end of this article.
The meeting barely maintained quorum throughout, at one point having to be briefly paused when a poor internet connection saw attendance drop below the minimum-required thirty Members present. The motion to change membership requirements passed easily, despite it coming out that the Masters Last Students’ Association had not been consulted about the change. However, the proposal to merge the Environments portfolio with Equity and Social Justice (ESJ) failed to get up. It was obvious that the Leadership Team (LT) had thought carefully about the change, but it still faced significant questions regarding the effects it would have on service delivery, including from a current ESJ Director.
Of course, the proposed transparency clause was always going to be the biggest battle of the evening. The proposer’s initial pitch stressed cognizance of the need to balance the transparency interests of members with the Committee’s need for operational flexibility. They also reminded the meeting that every LT member who ran in the 2021 elections had promised voters greater transparency.
Despite that pointed reminder, in a meeting dominated by Committee and former Committee members, the proposal seemed likely doomed from the outset. After all, corporate boards are not known for voting for more oversight of their activities. The ‘culture of transparency’ espoused by the proposer has been promised by Committee candidates for years, and yet has never materialised.
Nevertheless, the proposal received a vital lifeline from the Secretary, who said in response to a question that she was happy with the sections that pertained to her role. Indeed, she had a hand in drafting the proposal, which did not go far beyond placing an onus on the Committee to proactively pursue their existing passive obligations.
Other speakers were far less generous. Indeed, the 2020 President seemed to impugn the proposer personally, when he called their attitude ‘telling’.* The current Treasurer voiced his own concerns, particularly on providing members with unaudited financial information.
When it was pointed out to the Treasurer that he is already required to provide such information to Members under the current Constitution, he persisted in suggesting that he wouldn’t be comfortable doing so. He also noted that he intended to do a ‘final tally’ of the books prior to the AGM and, concerningly, suggested that the financial records of the Association might not be accurate until that time.
After a long exchange explaining the existing duties of the LSS Committee, as well as fielding confused interjections from other Directors, the proposer conceded that they would not be able to change the doubtful minds, and the matter was called to a vote. It failed with only six votes in favour.
De Minimis has requested the financial records of the LSS, at the Treasurer’s earliest convenience.
*In the interests of full disclosure, in September last year, I personally accused the former President of being involved in a cover-up regarding non-compliance with the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012. I do not believe this has affected my reporting on this issue.
Max Ferguson is a Third-Year JD Student.
Note: in response to a request, we have referred to all parties by title, rather than by name.
The opportunity to provide comment on this article was extended to all parties involved.