[Linux-aus] Proposed Linux Australia Constitution Changes

David Newall david at davidnewall.com
Fri Jul 15 07:20:15 EST 2011

On 14/07/11 10:40, James Turnbull wrote:
> David Newall wrote:
>> >  I'm highly suspicious about the proposal.
> The current constitution is a mess - we've had several years of invalid
> amendments and it doesn't meet the organisation's needs.

I'm delighted to hear you say this.  This is a reason one could support 
(or not) for throwing away our current constitution and starting again.  
The reason for my delight is that the reason that was previously given 
was that we want a simple change of financial year and we can't do that 
without making major changes to the constitution.  I was right to be 
suspicious because that reason didn't wash, wasn't true, and in fact the 
current (published) constitution would meet the requirements if we just 
said what our financial year is.  I was right to suspect there was a 
real reason, which hadn't been disclosed.  Thank you for saying: The 
current constitution is a mess.

I don't agree that the current constitution is a mess, at least not on 
the reasons that have been forwarded to date.  The current constitution 
needs only to have a very simple clause inserted to say what is our 
financial year and we both achieve our goal of changing the financial 
year and of meeting the requirements of the new Act.

> What is
> proposed is a simple reboot of the document to bring it up to date,
> address the financial year issue and put us on the right path.

This analogy might sound simple but the proposal is not.  We are not on 
the wrong path, and simple is as I suggested above.  This is 
complicated, more complicated than just saying what is the financial 
year; and it's complicated for the reason that the model doesn't quite 
fit our needs, just as the previous model didn't quite fit our needs.  
This model doesn't allow proxies, for example.

This proposal purports to take the current model and apply changes to 
make it meet our needs, but it falls far short of the mark.  Our current 
constitution was taken from the then model (which was approximately the 
same as the current one) and our needs can consequently be summarised as 
the changes that we have made to that model.

The proposal discards some of our changes and introduces new ones, and 
the committee has not explicitly indicated this.  To discard changes 
that were all but properly made, that are deficient only in that 
previous secretaries negligently failed to submit them to the proper 
office, in the guise a change to financial year seems quite improper.  
It might even be illegal.  The committee should not reverse without 
explicit resolution those changes which members previously resolved; and 
what's been proposed is not explicit.

It's not explicit in the removal of affiliate membership.  It's not 
explicit in the changing of fees including creating new fees.  (I trust 
I don't need to provide an exhaustive list of changes that this proposal 
would effect?)

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