Assistance with motion writing

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Assistance with motion writing

This document is a most important tool for explaining the motion writing process when drafting motions for Federal Conference.

To find the definition of different motions, voting, debate and how to present, move and second a motion, please follow this link

Federal Conference Motion Process Explained


A motion is a proposal put to the conference for discussion, often recommending or requesting that Federal Council takes a particular course of action. If a motion is carried, the outcome forms the basis for actions and decisions by Council to carry out the business of the organisation.

A motion should be directed to someone and ask the organisation to carry out a specific course of action. It’s important that a motion is worded in way that clearly reflects the writer’s intention.

Example: “That ICPA (Aust) lobbies the Federal Government for equitable access to education for geographically isolated students.”


Agenda Motion:  is a motion which is in the hands of the Federal Secretary eight weeks prior to conference. These are circulated to members, allowing time for every branch to discuss and decide how their delegates will vote on the motions. Motions do not need to be presented at a state conference in order to be accepted onto the federal conference agenda. 

Supplementary Motion: is a motion about a new issue, arising since the cut-off date for Agenda motions.  Supplementary motions will only be accepted onto the agenda if they pertain to a matter not already covered in the main Agenda.  The closing date for supplementary motions is one week prior to conference.

Floor Motion: is a motion presented by delegates (i.e.: they come from the conference floor) which generally comes about as a result of discussion and debate during conference. Occasionally they cover issues that have arisen since the closing date for supplementary motions. Floor motions can only be accepted for debate with the consent of delegates, after the motion has been read to the conference by the Chair.


Presenting a motion-  motions must be moved by one person then seconded by another. Conference proceedings are recorded for the minutes. This necessitates that a microphone be used  at all times and the following information is required from a delegate moving a motion -

Delegate‘s name and branch,  followed by the reading of the motion. The person seconding the motion also needs to state their name and branch before declaring  that they second the motion. 

Moving a motionthe Chair will  nominate the motion to be put up for discussion using the motion number on the agenda and also give the branch name putting the motion, e.g. Motion A1, Outback branch.

The person moving the motion will stand, speak using a microphone and  give their name and  branch, followed by the reading of the motion.

Once the motion has been moved and read, the Chair will ask for a seconder for the motion. Following this, the Chair will request the explanation to be read. Explanations accompanying motions may be read by the person moving or seconding the motion.

Seconder for the motion- in order for a motion to be debated and voted on, someone must second it. The mover and seconder of a motion do not have to be from the same branch but must both be registered delegates. If a branch only has one delegate attending conference, a person to second the motion must be organised beforehand. Please speak to someone on Federal Council or your State Council if you need assistance with this. A delegate who seconds a motion or amendment may speak at any stage of debate.


Mover: Name and  Branch,

“I move that ICPA (Aust) lobbies the Federal Government to…”

Chair: “Do we have a seconder for that motion?”

The person seconding the motion will state:

Name, Branch and declare, “I second this motion.”

An explanation is then read either by the person moving the motion or seconding it. The motion is then debated and voted on.


The Chair will ask for speakers for the motion, speakers against the motion or comments and this will continue until the Chair feels that sufficient debate has been received for delegates to make an informed decision. If there is opposition to a motion and debate is involved, the mover of the motion has the right of reply’. If  the mover  chooses to speak and exercises their right of reply  during debate, this closes the debate and no further discussion  on the motion can take place.

Adjournment of Debate - moved when debate cannot continue because of lack of information, certain people not being present or inappropriate timing. The matter can be raised at a future time. The person requesting the adjournment can  put the motion

“That debate be adjourned” or “...adjourned until…”

Anyone who has not spoken for or against the motion can move this. This motion needs to be seconded.  

Deeming a motion covered often  a number  of  motions on the conference agenda will be similar in their intent and wording. This will only be discovered when the conference motions are circulated to branches for discussion prior to conference. When this situation occurs, it is recommended that branches consider deeming their motion covered by a similar, preceding motion.

This will assist with progressing the conference program as the motion intent will have already been carried by an earlier motion. Branch delegates with similar motions are able to support and speak to the earlier motion if they wish. Motion explanations from motions deemed covered are important to Federal Council  and will assist with actions taken on the motion after conference.

Before requesting a motion to be deemed covered, the mover of the motion must state their name and branch and then request conference’s permission to deem covered the motion they are putting on behalf of their branch. This is done by giving the motion number as well as the number of the  motion that  puts forward the same intent as the motion from the mover’s branch. e.g. Outback branch requests conference’s permission for Motion No. # to be deemed covered by Motion No. # - this is the number of the appropriate similar motion. If carried,  there will be no debate and the Chair will move to the next item on the agenda.


There may be times when a delegate will need to amend or withdraw a motion.

Withdrawing a motionif a branch chooses to withdraw a motion submitted,  they will need to ask conference‘s permission  to do so.


Name, Branch, “I request conference’s permission to withdraw Motion No. # .”

Conference will then vote on whether to allow the motion  to be withdrawn .

Word Change or Word Insertionany word change or word insertion required for a motion should be asked for before the motion is read. The intent of a motion must not change with any word change or word  insertion. The Chair will  request the  required changes be read then ask conference’s permission to accept the word change. If the word change/insertion is accepted, the delegate will then be directed to read  the  entire motion with the changed wording.

Amended Motionan amendment cannot change the intent of the motion; it can only make the motion clearer. The amendment must be moved and seconded. Members can debate or comment on the amendment ( debating whether to accept the changed wording put forward, not the motion itself), then the amendment will be voted on. If carried, it becomes the motion which is read again – no need to move and second it. The mover of the original motion cannot second the amendment.

When the amendment has been decided a further amendment may be moved, which, if carried, shall in turn supersede the motion.

The mover and seconder of any of these motions or amendments may speak to the  following amendment.

If no amendment is carried, the original motion shall be put to the vote after the mover has responded. The Chair may refuse to receive any amendment which is a direct negative or does not preserve the substance of the original motion.


The ICPA (Aust) constitution allows each branch and State Council to be represented by two delegates and each allocated one vote. If a branch or Council is represented by only one delegate,  that person is allowed  two votes and will be given two voting cards.  Every Federal Councillor is entitled to one vote and they are voting on behalf of Federal Council rather than their Branch. It is  important for delegates to remember that  they are representing their branch and hence should be voting according to  the direction given by the branch to delegates prior to conference. Delegates should not be voting from a personal view point .

When the intention of a motion or explanation is not clear on reading it prior to conference, further explanation and debate on the floor may offer clarity and necessitate a change to the direction given to a delegate on how to vote on behalf of the branch. In this case, it is wise for a branch to give  permission  beforehand to a delegate to make the voting decision on the day according to any extra information presented.

In order for a motion other than a constitutional motion to be carried, it must receive the majority of the votes or it will be lost.

Constitutional motions (including policy motions) require three quarters of delegates to vote in favour of the motion for it to be carried.

More information on the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association Rules of Debate can be found in the back of your conference booklet.