Annual general meeting (AGM) season is upon us and, if you haven’t already, it’s time to start planning. Better decisions are made if a meeting is well planned, runs smoothly and different points of view can be properly heard.

Understanding the rules that you must follow in planning and running your AGM is crucial. These rules come from your constitution and the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act).

Here are some simple answers to common questions:  

When?   Under the CATSI Act, an Aboriginal corporation must hold its AGM within five months of the end of its financial year. If your financial year ends on 30 June, your ABM must be held by 30 November each year. You can apply to the Registrar to extend this time.  
Where?   The board needs to choose a reasonable date, time and place for the AGM. These should be chosen carefully so the most members and other attendees, such as the auditor, can attend.  
Who?   You must give notice of an AGM to all members, directors, the secretary / contact person and your auditor (if any).  Your constitution may specify how notice is to be given and when. These rules must be strictly complied with.  Other guests, such as lawyers or advisers, may be invited to attend.  
Why?   The board sets the business to be discussed and decided on at an AGM.   Standard items of business for an AGM include – the appointment of directors, the appointment of an auditor (if applicable) and the consideration of reports (CEO report, financial statements).   AGMs are also a good opportunity for the members to ask questions of the board and management.  
What? The board should plan what will happen at the meeting – for example, how debate will be facilitated, who will chair the meeting and how the minutes will be recorded. You should seek advice on any questions that the board is unsure of – for example, whether you can make an audio recording of the meeting or whether members can have representatives attend the meeting on their behalf.  

Your constitution may include other rules which govern your AGM.  For example, your constitution may specify how voting must take place and whether proxy votes are allowed.  You should be sure to read these rules carefully when you plan your AGM.