Andrea from Koroop in Victoria, Australia has asked: “Can the president move a motion at a meeting? What law is this held under?”
The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that a wise chair will only move certain motions from the chair.
The only motions a president or person in the chair should move are motions of congratulations or motions of condolence or motions of thanks. These are nearly always “carried by acclamation” with the obvious exception of the motion of condolence. These are often carried without a seconder.
Inexperienced or “power chairs” sometimes move all sorts of motions and in so doing demonstrate their lack of understanding of their role.
Procedural motions should never be moved from the chair. For instance, a motion seeking to close debate, when moved from the chair, takes away all impartiality – the cornerstone of the chair’s authority.
Substantive or main motions can be moved from the chair technically, but a wise chair will not – they will invite a members to move the motion.
A chair may suggest that it would be appropriate for a particular motion (procedural or substantive) to be moved but encourage someone else to move it. They may even suggest the wording.
The minute a chair moves a motion from the chair, they have “declared their hand” and their impartiality goes out the window. They therefore cannot, with integrity, preside over the discussion which follows and their major role is to fairly and impartially preside.
Andrea also asks – What law this is held under?
There is no law as such, it is custom and good governance. Most meeting procedure authorities agree that the presiding person should not move motions from the chair.
Please Note: The author accepts no responsibility for anything which occurs directly or indirectly as a result of using any of the suggestions or procedures detailed in this blog. All suggestions and procedures are provided in good faith as general guidelines only and should be used in conjunction with relevant legislation, constitutions, rules, laws, by-laws, and with reasonable judgement.
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