Tuesday 19 January 2010

Community radio meeting venue change to block access, is another breach

The venue for the controversial Community Radio meeting on Wednesday evening has been changed at the last minute, just 24 hours before the event, in a plan to stop the public attending.

Blocking access to this meeting is a contravention of the community access provisions of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cwth) and the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 (Qld).

The meeting will now be in the upstairs function room in the Raintrees Tavern.

The last minute change is also a serious breach of the rules governing notification of a meeting, that state 14 days notice must be provided of a venue, date and agenda. This will invalidate the meeting and make any voting or resolutions non-binding.

The official legal "Secretary's Handbook for Queensland Incorporated Associations" states the following requirements in advising of a meeting. Being Common Law, would over-ride any contrary provisions in the Cairns Community Broadcasters Incorporated Rules.

The venue is part of the information required to be provided. A change of venue with less than 14 days notice, contravenes these requirements. When people are not informed, or there was difficulty in getting to the new venue, it is probably not acceptable.

  • 4.03.4 Common Law Requirements
    The courts have for many years worked on the basis that a notice of meeting must include "that which is necessary for those receiving it to know what is proposed to be done at the meeting so that they can decide whether or not to attend."

    They take a robust view from the point of view of an ordinary member who scans the document quickly. The notice should not mislead a member and be a full and fair disclosure of the matters to be discussed at the meeting.

    Matters which will always be necessary in a notice of meeting will be:
    - Name of the association
    - Clear identification that the document is a "notice"
    - Type of meeting
    - Place
    - Date
    - Time
    - General nature of the business to be transacted
    - Date of service of notice
    - By what authority the notice is served

The meeting was to be held in the Foodcourt at Raintrees, however president Rodney Coutts ordered a change to venue at less than 24 hours notice to a "controlled-access" meeting room.

The upstairs function room in the Raintrees Tavern, is accessed via the stairs that will have security guards with membership lists to vet everyone who attempts to attend the meeting. However, anyone can attend a meeting if they are holding a legitimate proxy on behalf of a member. Additionally, it is customary to allow guests to attend such meetings, and is in keeping with the principles of community access radio.

With a new ACMA investigation announced today, focused on the Coutts-blocking of membership, this latest tactic is going to be greeted by the regulatory bodies like a bag of cold sick.


Stephen Welsh said...

I may see you over at raintrees - sounds like fun

Umpire said...

KFC's a good pen name. Why doesn't he simply call himself chicken?

KFC said...

You are a very funny person Umpire, but don't quit your day job. So, is Umpire a brand of deodorant for foul balls? Back at ya!
Enough of this frivolity.
More importantly, How about answering my question to you from the previous post? What other station in Cairns is using public funds like 4CCR has been?