StepBridge Australia Constitution

1.    Name 

The name of the club shall be “STEPBRIDGE AUSTRALIA BRIDGE CLUB”. 

2.    Definitions 

In these rules, unless the contrary appear:

  • COMMITTEE means the Management Committee of the Club.
  • GENERAL MEETING means a General Meeting of the Club convened in accordance with these rules.
  • MEMBER means a financial member of the Club.
  • THE ACT means The Associations Incorporation Act, 2009.
  • ABF means the Australian Bridge Federation.
3.    The Objectives of the Club 

To provide online facilities for members to play the game of Contract Bridge.

To  support  and  promote  the  game  of  Contract  Bridge  consistent  with 3.1  and  3.3  of  this section.   To  this  end  the  Club  will  become  and  remain affiliated  with  the  Australian  Bridge  Federation  Inc.;  and the  South  Australian Bridge  Federation  Inc.

To  provide  social  contact  between  members  of  the  Club  and  members  of  other  clubs  through  the  medium  of  Contract  Bridge. 

The  Club  is  a  non-­‐profit  organisation  and  shall  at  all  times  be  operated  for the  benefit  of  members.

Play  shall  be  governed  by  the  current  International  Laws  of  Contract  Bridge. 

4.         The Powers of the Club 

For  the  purposes  of  carrying  out  its  objectives  the  Club  may,  subject  to  the  Act  and  the Constitution: 

Acquire,  hold,  deal  with,  and  dispose  of,  any  real  and  personal  property;

Open and operate bank accounts;

Invest money in any security in which Trust Money may by Act of Parliament be invested; 

Borrow  money  upon  such  terms  and  conditions  as  the  Club  considers  appropriate; 

Enter  into  any  other  contract  considered  necessary  or  desirable  in  the interests  of  the  Club.

5.         Annual General Meeting

There shall be an Annual General Meeting no later than 30 September in every year.   The very nature of StepBridge forces special conditions for this meeting.

At least one month before that date, the Secretary should send an email to all members advising that the Annual General Meeting will be held.   The email should include the Treasurer’s report and the President’s report. The email will advise that all members must be financial members to vote.   It will also ask for Nominations for all Committee positions and for any motions or matters of business for the club to be emailed to the Secretary at least three weeks before the Annual General Meeting.

The Secretary will email all members at least two weeks before the Annual General meeting, enclosing a list of all matters to be voted on by the members.  This will include a list of all candidates for the various Committee positions.   An email address will be given of the Returning Officer who should not be standing for any position. All members will have until midnight 30 September to email their votes to the Returning Officer.  The Returning Officer will be appointed by the Committee and does not need to be a member of the Club.   The Returning Officer will announce the results of all votes as soon as practical.

The meeting will be deemed to have taken place on 30 September.

If at all practical, all notices and reports and announcement of voting results will appear in the Members area of Stepbridge or be sent by email on request.

The order of business at the AGM shall be to:

Confirm the minutes of the previous AGM and of any SGM held since that meeting.

Present a report by the President covering the business of the year.

Present the Treasurer’s Report of the year’s finances.

Elect officers of the Club and ordinary members of the committee, where required.

Set an annual subscription, table fees and director fees.

Conduct any other business requiring consideration by the club in general meeting, including any special business of which notice has been given in accordance with this constitution.

6.         Management Committee

The  affairs  of  the  Club  shall  be  administered  by  a  Management  Committee which  shall  consist  of the  following  officers: President, Chief Technology Officer, Secretary, Treasurer, Masterpoints Secretary, StepBridge International Representative, and five (5) Committee members.

Committee  meetings  shall  be  held  as  and  when  required,  provided  that  a Committee  meeting  must  meet at least three times in each year.  Committee meetings will be held over skype or some similar method due to the widespread location of members.  Recordings of meetings will be authorized and taken by software developed to record skype meetings like Pamela or a similar program.

A  Committee  meeting  shall  be  called  upon  the  request  of  at  least  two Committee  members. Committee  members  shall  be  given  reasonable  notice of  the  time  and  place  of  the  proposed  meetings  and  when  a  meeting  is  called to  discuss  a  specific  matter,  members  should  be  informed  of  the  matters  to  be discussed  when  given  notice  of  the  meeting.

The  quorum  for  a  Committee  meeting  shall  be  half the number of committee members,  and  motions  shall  be passed  by  a  simple  majority  of  those  present  and  voting.

The Associations Incorporation Act 2009 requires that an incorporated association has a Public Officer. The Public Officer must be a person of or above the age of 18 years who is a resident of NSW.  It is not necessary for the Public Officer to be a member of the association but may be an ordinary member or committee member of the association.   The Committee will appoint the Public Officer.

Should  a  vacancy  occur  among  the  members  of  the  Committee,  the  remaining members  shall have  the  power  to  fill  the  vacancy  from  the  members  of  the Club  and  the  member  so  appointed  will  continue  in  that  position  for  the remainder  of  the  year. 

All  offices  shall  be  declared  vacant  at  the  Annual General  Meeting  and  an election  shall  be  conducted  as  prescribed  in  Section seven of this Constitution.

7.         Election of the Management Committee 

Candidates  for  election  must  be  nominated  by  a  financial  member  and  must signify  their  willingness  to  be  nominated  either  in  writing or by email.   Candidates must be members of the club.   Candidates may nominate themselves.

Should  more  than  the  required  number  be  nominated  for  any  position,  a ballot  shall  be  conducted  in  accordance  with  the  following  procedure: 

Members  shall  vote  for  as  many  candidates  as  there  are  vacancies. 

The committee will appoint a returning officer who will not be eligible to stand for committee.

The  candidate  obtaining  the  highest  number  of  votes  shall  be  elected. 

Voting will be by email unless another method is available and is approved by the committee.

8.         Directors                

The Management Committee will appoint all directors. It may decide to appoint a Head Director who will be responsible for training new directors on the software. Due to the nature of Stepbridge, those directors do not have to be recognized as directors by the state association or ABF.

The Management Committee will decide the remuneration to directors.   This remuneration should be made monthly although the Committee may vary that timing.

9.         Membership   

Any person can apply for membership of the Club.  The application shall be in writing or email. Upon  acceptance   of  the  application  by  the Committee  and upon  payment  of  the  prescribed fees,  the  applicant  shall  be  a  member  of  the Club.

A  member  may  resign  his  membership  by  giving  notice,  however,  such  a member  shall  be  liable  for  any  outstanding  subscriptions.

A member may elect to be a home club member of Stepbridge Australia Bridge Club Inc. The club will facilitate this membership by collecting the relevant ABF affiliation Fees from the player and forwarding those fees to ABF.

An Affiliate member is a member who maintains their home club membership elsewhere.  An affiliate member will have voting rights and may become a Committee member.

10.      Subscriptions 

Annual subscriptions will be determined by the Committee.    A  member whose annual  subscription  remains  unpaid  for  90  days  shall  cease  to  be  a  member, unless  the Committee  grants  an  extension  of  time  to  pay.   To vote at the Annual General Meeting and/or to be a committee member, a member must have paid their annual subscription but does not have to be a “home club” member.

The  amount  payable  for  Table  Fees  shall  be  determined  by  the  Committee.

11.       Finances

The  Treasurer  shall  keep  a  record  of  all  receipts  and  payments  and  shall  keep books  of  account  recording  the  financial  affairs  of  the  Club.

The  Treasurer  shall  present  a  financial  statement  to  each  Committee  Meeting and  shall  present  a statement  to  the  Annual  General  Meeting, giving  details  of  the  financial  affairs  for  the  previous  year.

The financial year shall run from 1st July to 30th June.

The  Treasurer  shall  maintain  bank  accounts  in  the  name  of  the  Club  and  shall keep  the  funds  of  the  Club  in  bank  accounts  approved  by  the  Committee.

Withdrawal forms or cheques  shall  be  signed  by  two  Committee  members nominated  for  the  purpose  by  the  Committee.   Any internet transfers or direct credits or other payments from the Club’s bank account must be approved by at least two Committee members.  Such approval given by email or recorded skype conference.

12.      Conditions of Play   

Times  and  places  of  tournaments  shall  be  determined  by  the  Management Committee.

The  Committee  shall  have  the  power  to  determine  the  conditions  of  play  and  may  delegate  such  power  to  a  Tournament  Committee  or  Director.

13.         Discipline

The  Committee  shall  have  the  power  to  suspend  or  expel  any  member  as  in its  discretion  it  considers  to  be  in  the  interests  of  the  Club.    However,  no such  action  may  be  taken  without  first  giving  the  member  the  opportunity to  submit  a statement in his or her  favour. 

The  member  alleged  to  have  offended  will  be  notified  in  writing  by  the  Secretary  of  the  reason  for  the  action  [with  details,  dates,  times,  etc.]  and invited  to  submit  written  or  oral  statement  on  his  or  her  behalf.    A  meeting of  the  Committee  will  be  convened  within  fourteen  days  of  the  notification.

14.         Dissolution

In the event of the Club agreeing, at a meeting called for the purpose, to  disband,  any monies remaining after returning funds held in start up funds to  members who  contributed , and disbursements of payments due, any assets of the Club shall be  vested in the State Bridge Association.

15.         Alteration of the Constitution

No rule of the Constitution shall be made, altered or repealed except by an ordinary majority vote of members present at the AGM or at a Special General Meeting of the Club duly convened for that purpose. Not less than twenty eight (28) days prior to the general meeting, notice of the proposed alteration, amendment or repeal must be forwarded to all members.   Voting will proceed as for voting at Annual General Meetings.

The Public Officer shall be responsible for sending the renewed Constitution to the appropriate Government Department.

16.        Initial Year of the Club

The initial year of the club is November 2016 to December 2017.   No Annual General Meeting is to be held in March 2017.   All members of the Committee for this period have “volunteered” to enable the club to be functional with short notice.