Originally, we excitedly planned to hold the Convention, Quality Awards presentation and AGM in Far North Queensland this year. But with the pandemic we clearly needed to rejig our plans and put together the AGM to accommodate the various travel and gathering restrictions that are currently in place.
Fortunately, our co-operative’s rules accommodate for a general meeting held in multiple locations linked by on-line conferencing. There are clearly some differences and obligations in how the meeting must be run, including that any speaker must be able to be heard by all others present at each location. For those of you inclined to read the details, the DFMC Rules are available on our website at https://dfmc.org.au/operation/dfmc-constitution/ – Part 4, Division 2 Conduct of General Meetings on page 22.
We are planning to host the meeting as an online conference using Microsoft Teams from our Geelong offices on November 17 and have satellite sites for members to attend with DFMC staff, Directors or WRAC members managing venues. So, whilst the event in FNQ would have been a terrific opportunity for members to visit a beautiful and unique dairying region, this format will afford more members the ability to participate via satellite sites.
In addition, members will also be able to participate remotely via the online conferencing system from your own home or business. However members participating via their own home or business will be attending the meeting as a guest and will only be able to vote by proxy. In the interests of public health and safety, we think it best if most people participate remotely and do not physically attend the meeting.
Will I be able to vote?
Yes. If you can physically attend the Geelong office or one of the satellite sites you will be able to vote as we will have nominated scrutineers to formally record the “show of hands” or indeed a more formal poll if called. If you participate remotely from your own home or business, you will only be able to vote by proxy.
Will I be able to speak at the meeting or ask questions of the board?
Yes. The platform we plan to use has very good functionality to indicate you wish to speak. Protocols will be announced before the meeting and the Chairman will manage the questions in a manner similar to a physical meeting. All attendees will be able to hear your question. The Standing Orders at General Meetings (Item 53 of the Rules) will be adhered to, however, in accordance with DFMC’s Rules, the Chairman may depart from the Standing Orders if this is for the benefit of the members or the Co-operative as a whole.
Will there be any special or unusual co-operative issues voted on at the meeting?
No. It is anticipated that the meeting will only address and vote on “ordinary business” such as the minutes of the last general meeting and the audited financial statements for the previous financial year. These are outlined in Section 49(1) of the Rules.
Covid-19 restrictions will need to be complied with.
In order to ensure everyone remains safe, we will need to comply with any Covid-19 requirements such as social distancing and limits in respect of public gatherings at the Geelong office and each satellite site of the AGM. Accordingly, if you are planning to attend in person at one of the locations, we will ask you to pre-register prior to the meeting.
In due course we will share specifics on where, how, and when with all members via mail including formal meeting notices and proxy forms. Of course, if you have any questions please contact Tony, Dom, Dan or Mark.