It’s official! GUPSA now has a new Constitution!
So the new constitution is now in place at long last. As 2017 unfolds, GUPSA will transition to the new structure which will be fully operational following the elections for the new GUPSA Board in trimester 1.
As you know GUPSA this year has been working on constitutional change. The constitution we inherited was adopted back in 2003. With the threat of so-called Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU) following the election victory of Howard federal government in 2004, attempts were made to revise both the constitution and by laws with plans for a Special General Meeting in 2006. However the Howard government was successful in getting its VSU legislation through the federal parliament and VSU was implemented in 2006. GUPSA lost its funding and lost all its staff so that the Special General Meeting was derailed and no constitutional changes were made. For the next 6 years the main priority of the GUPSA executive was keeping the organisation going with minimal resources.
With the implementation of the SSAF, GUPSA began receiving funding in mid-2012. However a lot had changed over the previous 6 years, plus the SSAF regime meant that GUPSA operated under very different conditions than the ones in existence when the old constitution was adopted. A review of the constitution was done and much of it was found in need of change as it just didn’t apply to the new conditions under which GUPSA was operating. Various amendments were considered but so much of the constitution was out of date, it was clear that amending it was not enough. We needed a new constitution and it needed to be drafted by someone with expertise.
To that end GUPSA sought the assistance of Michael Connelly of the CPR Group to draft a new constitution. That began a process of meetings with the GUPSA committee, to discuss and refine the draft. The goal we had was to have the new constitution in effect for 2017. It was also decided that rather than attempt to revise the old by laws it was better to repeal them all and start from scratch once the new constitution was implemented. To that end a Special General Meeting was held 25 August at the Unibar which voted in favour of repealing the old by laws in full.
The process for changing the constitution has several steps. First a draft has to be prepared that adequately serves the organisation. Because GUPSA is a student association established at Griffith University, the university also needs to be consulted, especially now that it supports so much of the day to day operations of GUPSA. Then the constitution needs to be voted on at a general meeting of the GUPSA membership. A final Special General Meeting was held at the Unibar on 27 October which approved the new constitution finally replacing the old one.
One last step remained. The new constitution has to be approved by the University Council. This week we were advised by the Office of the Vice President (Corporate Services) that at its December meeting the University Council decided as below:
On the recommendation of the Griffith University Postgraduate Students Association (GUPSA), Council resolved to:
a) Rescind the Griffith University Postgraduate Students Association (GUPSA) constitution (2003/0218)
b) Approve the Griffith University Postgraduate Students Association (GUPSA) constitution (2016/0000213) with immediate effect.
To find out more about the new structure, you can download a copy of the new constitution here, or download an overview of the changes here.