Does a motion need to be seconded?

This question is common and the answer is fairly simple.

In Australia and New Zealand it is custom to have every motion seconded. Whether it is a requirement however depends on your constitution or governing rules.

If your governing rules say that every motion requires a seconder, then that’s it – every motion (and amendment) requires a seconder. You cannot get around it.

If however your governing rules say nothing, then unless the act of parliament under which you operate says you need a seconder (and I know of none that do), then you do not need to call for a seconder.

If your custom is to have a seconder, but your rules do not require it, then it is wise to follow the custom but it is technically at the discretion of the chair to require or not require a seconder.

The smartest thing to do is always have a seconder – it demonstrates that there is some support for the motion. A motion (or amendment) which cannot attract a seconder is unlikely to succeed anyway.

If your organisation is outside Australia or New Zealand and uses Robert’s Rules of Order then the situation is slightly different.

Robert’s Rules do require a seconder in all circumstances (RONR [10th ed], p. 34-36) except two.

The two exceptions are:

1. Small boards. When a board has less than 12 members, motions do not require a seconder. (RONR [10th ed], p. 470)

2. When a committee report is given and a motion is moved to implement the report’s recommendations. (RONR [10th ed], p. 489)

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.

4 Comments »

  1. avatar Bill Says:

    It stands to reason that a motion needs to be seconded to allow discussion or debate on the motion.

  2. avatar Dede Hacking Says:

    Can a board of directors propose a motion to a share holders meeting or a general meeting of members?
    If so what would the wording look like?

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