Q and A on all things Federal Conference

Q: Why do we hold a Federal Conference?

The Federal Conference is one of the most important events on the ICPA calendar.  It brings together members from around Australia who will put motions, usually of a federal nature, forward on behalf of their branch for consideration. These motions will be debated on the floor, voted on and if carried, form our policy and set the direction for our organisation.  Conference is an opportunity to hear speakers talk on a variety of issues.  Invited guests will be present and an opportunity exists to meet and network with these people.  Another important part of conference is the Annual General Meeting at which Federal Council will be elected for the following year and the association's annual financial reports tabled.

Q: Why is the Federal Conference held at the same time of the year?

The timing of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) is influenced by the end of the ICPA (Aust) financial year, which is May 31.  We have a four week window from the middle of July to the middle of August in which to hold the AGM.  This ensures we allow time to have all Council's financial dealings audited for presentation to members and avoiding school holidays in all states.  The election of Federal Council takes place at the AGM and we choose to hold the conference and AGM at the same time to ensure we have a good representation from branches while avoiding the additional costs incurred by attending two separate meetings.

Q: Where is conference held?

Federal Conference moves from state to state on a rotational basis.  The location of Federal Conferences within each state is not a matter for Federal Council to decide, rather, it is the decision that all members, voting at a conference on behalf of their branch, make whilst allowing for accessibility and affordability, to ensure branch delegates and observers can attend conference.  Hosting the federal conference in a different state each year offers members the opportunity to be involved and attend without it being too far away.

Q: Where will I find more information about the conference?

On this website.  Click on the events tab and go to the Federal Conference date.

Q: I've never been to conference and never been a delegate.  How will I know what to do?

If you've never attended a conference before, it's recommended that you attend the "conference procedures" workshop that Federal Council holds the afternoon before conference.  You will be taken through how to present a motion, rules of debate and given an overview of conference proceedings.  Federal Councillors will also attend the workshop for introductions and will see that you are seated with experienced delegates at conference.  Federal Councillors are more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

Q: How many delegates can each branch send to conference?

Branches are encouraged to send as many members to conference as possible.  However every branch is only entitled to have two delegates registered and therefore entitled to vote each day.  Different delegates can represent a branch from day one to day two.  Branch delegates present their branch motions, along with explanations, as well as vote on behalf of their branch on all other motions at conference.

Q: How many votes does a branch have?

Every branch represented at conference is entitled to two votes.  When only one delegate from a branch attends, that delegate may exercise two votes for that branch.

Q: If I attend as a branch observer can I vote or comment on motions?

If you are registered as a branch observer, you are not entitled to vote -- it is your branch delegate who will be registered to vote.  However you are encouraged to comment if you have relevant information that will assist delegates to make an informed decision.

Q: Can our branch submit a motion if we don't have a delegate attending conference?

Yes, you can submit a motion if you don't have a delegate attending though it's best if you do have a branch delegate who has a thorough understanding of the issue, present at conference to put the motion.  When a branch cannot send a delegate, you can contact your State Council President and they will arrange to others to put forward and second the motion on your behalf.

Q: I don't have enough knowledge about the motion to make an informed voting decision.  What do I do?

Outcomes of motions brought to Federal Conference will impact on all states.  As states operate a little differently from each other, these outcomes can have a varying effect on different states.  We encourage all branches that are not clear about the intent of a motion to contact the branch who has put up the motion and ask questions to gain further information.  Your branch will then be able to have an informed discussion prior to conference.  When sending in motions for inclusion on the conference agenda, make sure that your branch also sends in the explanation so all members are clear on what you want to achieve with the motion.  What may seem straight forward to you may not be to others, particularly on the conference floor.