Social Action Australia Constitution and Platform

The Social Action Australia Constitution and Platform

  1. The name of the Association is Social Action Australia (SAA) or any abbreviated form thereof.
  2. A fundamental purpose of SAA is to undertake investigation into public issues so that remedial action can be undertaken if warranted.
  3. The SAA Association is governed by this constitution and platform and has a federal branch and state branches.
  4. SAA supports a distributionist social democratic approach regarding government, business/economics, industrial relations and community affairs encompassing principles associated with subsidiarity.
  5. This Association supports the One Nation political philosophy as advanced by the British statesman Benjamin Disraeli.
  6. SAA ardently endorses Australia’s federal system with an emphasis on states’ rights, the rule of law and equality of all before the law.
  7. SAA accordingly endorses the content and spirit of Australia’s 1901 Commonwealth Constitution.
  8. SAA is consequently adamantly opposed to recognition been granted in the 1901 Constitution to local government because this will crucially help facilitate the so-called ‘regionalization’ process whereby the roles and functions of states will be fatally undercut in pursuit of a Canberra based centralist public policy.
  9. While supporting the 1901 Commonwealth Constitution’s stipulation that an official religion cannot be established, this Association still acknowledges the important role of which the range of faiths fulfil in enhancing this nation’s culture and SAA therefore wholeheartedly supports freedom of religion and religious expression.
  10. SAA condemns all terrorism, particularly when religion is misrepresented when it is invoked by terrorists.
  11. SAA supports the Westminster parliamentary system of democracy with bi-cameral legislatures and accordingly advocates the re-establishment of an upper house for the Queensland state parliament so that legislation can be assessed against the benchmark of the common good.
  12. SAA recognises the value of local community history groups in protecting heritage and accordingly this Association is opposed to local government amalgamation on the basis that this process has had the impact of generating unrepresentative and unresponsive bureaucracy.
  13. SAA endorses the separation of powers doctrine encompassing an independent judiciary to help promote the principles of natural justice.
  14. SAA similarly endorses Australia’s tradition of industrial relations conciliation and arbitration as facilitated by Andrew Fisher, Alfred Deakin, Kingsford Smith, H B Higgins and John Watson.
  15. This Association also acknowledges Julia Gillard’s role in facilitating the 2009 passage of the Fair Work Act which SAA supports due to this Association’s endorsement of a pluralist industrial relations system.
  16. SAA supports the dignity of the human person.
  17. SAA accordingly supports palliative care and advocates public funding in support of availability of dignified aged care for those unable to afford this. Consequently, this Association considers excellence in aged residential care to be a fundamental human right of all elderly Australians.
  18. SAA supports elderly Australians who require financial assistance receiving a more than adequate pension from the state so that they can live in a dignified retirement.
  19. SAA endorses Australia’s system of compulsory superannuation due to its positive impact in providing millions of Australians with the opportunity to retire with financial security.
  20. SAA advocates that industry fund boards retain their connection to their members by not forcing them to take on so-called “independent” directors as a prelude to their takeover by banking and insurance companies so that the principle of contributor control over superannuation funds can be facilitated.
  21. SAA supports the retention of a non-user pays Medicare as the main facilitator of universal health coverage.
  22. This Association also supports the National Disability Insurance Scheme because of its impact in promoting human dignity.
  23. SAA supports Australia’s alliance with the United States as well as multilateralism in support of democracy and human rights in international relations.
  24. SAA endorses a ‘win-win’ two state solution to the Israeli-Palestine dispute with the proviso that Israel’s continued existence is not threatened.
  25. SAA advocates that Australia respect its obligations under international law concerning the rights of refugees and that the practice of indefinite refugee detention be ended.
  26. SAA supports trade unions as essential in promoting the dignity of the human person by ensuring that there is just salary/wage remuneration and decent working conditions encompassing penalty rates and overtime payments.
  27. SAA is opposed to union amalgamation because this Association recognises that craft-based unions are more democratically responsive to their members’ representation needs while engendering a sense of members belonging to their union.
  28. This Association advocates employee involvement in union and in non-union enterprise bargaining as well as employee participation in Joint Consultative Committees and Occupational Health and Safety Committees.
  29. The process of enterprise bargaining is endorsed by this Association as a means of facilitating union renewal and union effectiveness.
  30. Maintenance of an award safety net is advocated as well as penalty rates to ensure that pay and conditions facilitate the dignity of the human person.
  31. SAA is opposed to all forms of labour exploitation (such as child labour) and this Association unequivocally condemns mainland communist China’s Logai system of slave labour.
  32. SAA welcomes the advent of the digital economy when it is being used as an opportunity for employment growth. However, this Association advocates that pay and working conditions not consequently be undermined due to the onset of increased employment flexibility which is evolving with the onset of an on-demand economy.
  33. While SAA supports foreign investment, this Association advocates vigilance against predatory strategic designs on the part of the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) of totalitarian nations which may threaten Australia’s economic and political independence.
  34. SAA supports the traditional family owned farm, particularly in the light of threats from corporate agribusinesses, the SOEs of totalitarian nations and multi-national mining companies.
  35. SAA advocates population dispersal by encouraging human settlement in regional centres to ease the overcrowding of major cities, traffic congestion and the high real estate prices which consequently ensue. This Association therefore advocates improved public transport infrastructure to facilitate expeditious transit between major cities and regional areas to maximize the scope for decentralization.
  36. SAA is opposed to super-profits taxation based on the principle that once businesses have paid their fair share of tax and adhered to restraints of trade (such as just financial remuneration of their employees) that they are entitled to the profits which they achieve.
  37. SAA supports and encourages all levels of Australian government to pursue the objective of full employment.
  38. In pursuit of the objective of full employment SAA advocates that job agencies receive public funding based on their success in assisting job seekers actually find secure employment.
  39. SAA advocates the introduction of a Vocational Education Training (VET) course in job finding so that employees of job agencies will have the requisite qualifications/skills to help their job seeking clients find secure employment.
  40. SAA staunchly supports private property rights and private enterprise while recognising the important role of the state and trade unions in ensuring that everyone has a standard of living in keeping with their human dignity within a humane market economy.
  41. SAA supports and encourages small and medium businesses as potentially important facilitators of full employment.
  42. Within Australia’s big business sector SAA endorses Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices, advocates greater shareholder rights/participation and encourages transparency in business transactions.
  43. In pursuit of the objective of business diversity and consumer choice, SAA supports community banking and financial credit co-operatives.
  44. SAA supports a needs-based system of public social welfare.
  45. SAA recognises that the pursuit of the objective of prisoner rehabilitation provides the best opportunity to overcome the sad blight of recidivism. Accordingly, SAA believes that former prisoners should be respected as full members of the community once they have paid their debt to society.
  46. SAA endorses legal aid services receiving public funding on the basis that everyone is entitled to the best available legal representation, particularly for those who cannot afford this.
  47. This Association, where practical and appropriate, supports a non-adversarial alternate approach towards the operation of the criminal justice system (particularly in relation to juvenile delinquency) to help prevent people becoming ensnared in the prison system which ultimately can be both expensive and tragically counter-productive.
  48. SAA supports media ownership diversity and opposes censorship of public commentary.
  49. SAA advocates fair international trade and that adequate protection for the nation’s wealth and employment generating sectors be applied.
  50. This Association believes that the environment should be given the benefit of the doubt by promoting, where practical, low carbon dioxide and/or non-carbon dioxide producing processes.
  51. The issue of the validity of human induced climate change is one which this Association believes should be thoroughly investigated and debated.
  52. Technological innovation is advocated by this Association as the primary means of more immediately facilitating the lowering carbon emissions as opposed to extending the Renewable Energy Target which is having the effect of unnecessarily driving up electricity prices.
  53. That the Ministry for Industry, Innovation and Science be returned to the Australian federal cabinet with an enhanced role in government to help facilitate lower carbon emissions and the promotion of start-up-businesses to promote employment growth, as has very successfully occurred in Israel.
  54. SAA recognises the vital role of universities, TAFEs and business colleges in instilling key life skills for their graduates. To promote the full extracurricular potential which these institutions offer students, SAA advocates universal membership of student representative organisations and will (should a Young Social Action Australia (YSAA) be established) foster campus-based election tickets to promote excellence in student government and student advocacy.
  55. This Association opposes upfront tertiary education fees and as such endorses the HELP system of payment deductions as an equitable system of student fee reimbursement.
  56. SAA supports gender equality (encompassing equal pay) with a particular recognition of the socio-economic value of family home based work.
  57. SAA is opposed to so-called ‘affirmative action/positive discrimination’ (sic) programmes and gender quotas in both the private and public sectors on the basis that such policies undermine a merits-based approach in employment relations.
  58. SAA supports the state providing state financial support to ensure that at least one parent will have the capacity to stay at home to support their children when they are reliant upon such parental support.
  59. This Association recognises that the current labour oversupply is having a downward impact on wage levels and adversely affecting employee bargaining power thereby contributing to the facilitation of insecure/precarious employment patterns.
  60. SAA believes that local employees should be given employment preference over imported labour.
  61. SAA supports needs-based funding for both independent and government schools so that excellence in education is promoted ensuring that everyone receives the best start possible in their subsequent tertiary studies and/or work life.
  62. SAA believes that the role of primary and secondary school should be accorded a similar degree of investment and funding as provided in the Finnish school education system.
  63. This Association promotes discussion and engagement (including the lobbying of public officials) so that the policies and outcomes associated with the above enunciated principles can be achieved. Therefore, talks on issues related to SAA’s principles will be sponsored by this Association as integral to a social action educative process. Consequently, SAA will endorse and support suitable men and women as candidates belonging to a particular party or on an individual basis, in federal, state, municipal, trade union or in TAFE/University student elections.

    SAA’s Fellowship Functions and the Annual Kath Bridgeman Dinner
  64. SAA will hold at least three fellowship functions a year and the annual End of Year Kath Bridgeman Dinner, honouring the late long serving clerical secretary at the former Social Action office.
  65. SAA’s Official Publication is with the Federal Executive serving as the editorial board.
  66. SAA’s Branches: SAA will organise branches based on state upper house regions (or state seats in the case of Queensland) with a branch executive elected for two-year terms consisting of a President, a first Vice-President, a second Vice-President, Secretary, Assistant Secretary and a Treasurer.
  67. SAA members may join a local branch based on their positive commitment to the local area regardless of whether the individual resides in that local area.
  68. SAA members may not belong to more than one local branch.
  69. Allied Organisations: The Federal or a State Executive may admit as an Allied Organisation any properly constituted body upholding principles, objectives and policy positions consistent with those of this Association by their representative having membership of the applicable SAA executive.
  70. Local branches may admit a local group as their Allied Organisation entitling their representative to have both speaking and voting rights at the local branch and on the local branch executive.
  71. Young Social Action Australia: The foundation of a youth wing named ‘Young Social Action Australia’ (YSAA) is duly authorized. This youth wing will be for members aged sixteen to twenty-five and their constitution will be based on this document. Young Social Action Australia will have responsibility for any Social Action university, business college or TAFE clubs which may be founded.

    SAA’s Federal and State Executives
  72. The Federal and State Conferences will respectively meet bi-annually to separately elect the respective Federal and State Executives which will consist of a

    a. President;
    b. First Vice-President
    c. Second Vice-President
    d. Secretary;
    e. Assistant Secretary;
    f. Treasurer

    These positions will be elected for two-year terms.

  73. The State Executive may also have added to it one nominee from YSAA (if constituted) or one from an Allied Organisation.
  74. The Federal Executive may have added to it one member appointed by each of the respective state executives.
  75. Association members may attend, speak and vote at either Federal or State Executive meetings if they give the relevant secretary at least one week’s notice.
  76. If an executive member holds more than one portfolio position then that member will still have one vote on the applicable executive.
  77. State Executive meetings will be held every third Friday of the month between February and November of each year.
  78. Federal Executive meetings will be held on a quarterly basis each year.
  79. Rank and file members without portfolio positions attending either the Federal or State Executive meetings will not count toward constituting a quorum for the meeting.
  80. The Federal Executive has the right to arbitrate between state branches in cases of interstate disputes but this does not entail a right to sack a state branch as the right to recall and elect a new State Executive rests exclusively with rank and file members who can convene an extraordinary State Conference to sack and subsequently elect a new executive.
  81. In the event of there being a SAA federal or a state parliamentary representation, SAA federal, state or local branch executives will not have the right to dictate to parliamentarians how they will vote or conduct themselves because the rights of all SAA endorsed public officials to vote and act according to their conscience will be respected by this Association.
  82. SAA respects that its elected representative’s primary duty is to their constituents so that may exercise a conscience vote.
  83. In the event of there being state or federal parliamentary representation, SAA rank and file members will have the right to vote by secret postal ballot to elect the Association’s federal and state parliamentary leader as well as the position of parliamentary deputy leader.
  84. A minimum of fifteen percent of membership may, by signed petition, initiate a spill motion against either a sitting parliamentary leader or deputy leader at either a state or a federal level. (Only members in the relevant state or territory may sign a recall petition in the relevant state or territory).
  85. The federal or state SAA parliamentary leader will have the right to allocate portfolio responsibilities to fellow SAA endorsed parliamentarians.
  86. This SAA Constitution can be amended by a two-thirds majority of the SAA Federal Conference.
  87. The prerogative to grant Association membership, suspend Association membership or to expel Association members rests with the relevant SAA State Executive.
  88. The SAA Federal or the SAA State Executive may employ salaried staff to undertake work as directed for the relevant branch.

    SAA’s Federal and State Conferences:
  89. The credentials of all delegates who will attend either a Federal Conference or a State Conference will be submitted to the relevant Secretary by at least one month before such a conference convenes.
  90. The respective Federal/State Executive will email or mail out the official agenda (including conference motions previously submitted to the relevant Executive) one week before the Conference’s commencement with executive members having full conference voting rights.
  91. The respective Federal and State conferences will be composed of two elected delegates from each constituted branch or from an Allied Organisation.
  92. In the event of constituted Association branches not being in existence, general members may constitute themselves as delegates to elect either a State or Federal Executive.
  93. At the relevant State or Federal Conference, a Returning Officer (in the case of there being contested elections) and a Minutes Secretary will be elected by the conference as among the first orders of business.
  94. An extraordinary federal or state conference can be convened by the relevant executive or by twenty percent of members signing a petition that such an event take place. An extraordinary conference should be held within two months of it being duly authorised with notice of motions being submitted at least one week before-hand to the relevant executive. Unless, there is a motion to dismiss and elect new office-bearers or the executive, the elected terms of Association office-bearers and executive members will continue until the regular scheduled conference.
  95. In the case of contested elections, the vote will be conducted by secret ballot by majority vote with provision for run-off elections if need be. A prospective candidate for an executive position will require a nominator and a seconder with nominations being taken from the conference floor.
  96. Conference motions will require a mover and a seconder with regular meeting procedures in place of a speaker in favour and against a motion with the mover having a right of reply with motions been carried by a majority vote by show of hands unless a secret ballot is requested by at least two conference delegates.
  97. The Federal or State Conference can elect specialist committees between three to five members to help ensure the implementation of conference decisions.
  98. This constitution can be amended by a federal conference by a two-thirds majority vote.

  99. SAA membership can be granted to someone who pays the annual joining fee or pays to attend one of the Association’s fellowship functions in conjunction with the prospective member filling out and signing an authorised membership to be approved by the relevant State Executive.
  100. Association membership may be granted by the relevant State Executive to someone who supports this Association’s principles and objectives.
  101. Social Action Australia members may endorse and campaign for municipal, state and federal election candidates as well as for candidates in trade union elections or TAFE/University elections who support this Association’s objectives and principles.
  102. Members of political parties who individually who support this Association’s objectives and principles may join the Social Action Australia association.

  103. Approval for admission to SAA as an Allied Organisation will be made by the relevant executive.

    SAA Endorsement of Candidates in Elections
  104. As early as practicable, before any federal, state, municipal election or trade union election, the Association’s branches and/or the relevant State Executive may seek applications for intending candidates for SAA endorsement in such elections.
  105. Branches in their electorates will have the power to determine the order of preferences for any Social Action Australia how-to-vote recommendation in federal elections. In the case of relevant branches not being in existence this prerogative will be exercised in this instance by the Federal Executive. This executive will have the prerogative of authorising how to vote senate tickets on behalf of this Association.
  106. Association branches will have the power to determine the order of preferences for any Social Action Australia how to vote recommendation in state elections and municipal elections. In the case of relevant branches not being in existence this prerogative will be exercised in this instance by the State Executive.
  107. The relevant State Executive will have the power to determine the order of preferences in University/TAFE student elections unless there is an existing executive of a Social Action campus club who will then exercise this prerogative.
  108. The relevant State Executive will have the power to determine how to vote preference recommendations in trade union elections unless an SAA workplace-based employee organisation with its own executive has been formed which will then exercise this prerogative.

    SAA Finance and Banking Arrangements
  109. Membership Fees: An annual SAA individual membership fee will be set, varied or waived by the relevant State Executive.
  110. Funds: All funds received by Social Action Australia will be deposited in a central account in the name of a recipient State Branch, with a financial institution approved by the relevant state branch. The funds will be withdrawn by cheque (a) President, (b) Secretary or Treasurer with a minimum of two signatories.
  111. Electronic transfers may be made by the President, Secretary or Treasurer with either prior or retrospective approval by the relevant state branch at the applicable monthly State Executive meeting.
  112. Where a national bank account been established the Federal Executive will have responsibility for that account with the same procedures in place as with regard to financial transactions as those which are applicable to the state branches.
  113. The Assistant Secretary/Treasurer will make a financial report at the relevant monthly executive meeting, a record which will be kept by the relevant secretary with a financial report been provided at the bi-annual Federal or State Conference.
  114. The relevant State Executive or local branch may undertake fundraising activity for future elections with records been kept and deposited with the relevant executive as to how such funds are spent.

    Duties of SAA Members
  115. SAA members are encouraged by this Association to promote this Association’s objectives and principles in private personal conversation or publicly in the media.