Following is a series of brief articles highlighting aspects of the way things work in the Queensland Greens.
If there's anything members would like to ask or understand better about the Queensland Greens, email email@example.com and the team will do their best to provide an answer.
- What's the difference between the Queensland Greens and the Australian Greens?
- How can a member can get involved in the Queensland Greens?
- What's the function of Queensland Greens Branches?
- What sorts of things are branches responsible for?
- What is consensus decision making?
- What formal committees are there in the Qld Greens?
- What positions can I stand for in the Qld Greens?
- What is the difference between the Qld Greens State Council and the Qld Greens AGM?
- How does the Qld Greens Management Committee work?
- What does Membership Ratification mean?
- What is a Branch Office Bearer and how do I become one?
- When can branches conduct their AGM?
- How does a branch run their Annual General Meeting?
- How are ballots at Branch AGMs counted?
- What does a good branch meeting look like?
- How do Branches Preselect Candidates?
- What is a local Returning Officer?
- What is 'authorisation' all about and why is it important?
- How is Qld Greens policy made?
- How do the Qld Greens IT systems work? (and what to do when they don't)
- Ways to participate in the Qld Greens
- What to do if you have a problem in the Qld Greens
"What's the difference between the Queensland Greens and the Australian Greens?"
Each Greens party in Australia is an independent political party with its own Constitution, processes, organisational structures and policies. However, along with the other state Greens parties across the country, the Queensland Greens is a member of the confederation of the Australian Greens.
As a member of the Queensland Greens you are also a member of the Australian Greens. Each state party is responsible for the management of memberships in their state, and for state & local policies and elections.
Each of the state parties (called 'member bodies') contributes an agreed amount of revenue to a budget for the Australian Greens. This budget is used to fund projects of benefit to all, such as national polling and message testing, shared IT systems, etc.
At our AGM, the Queensland Greens elects a representative to the Australian Greens National Council. Together the delegates from across the country make decisions on matters affecting the confederation, such allocation of funds in the AG budget, adopting national policies etc. Queensland's Lead National Delegate consults on propositions being put to National Council before attending to represent our party.
"How can a member can get involved in the Queensland Greens?"
Here is a summary of the ways a member can get involved and contribute to the goals of our party.
Helping out in campaigns is the most valuable thing members can do. There's something for everyone, from holding signs to door knocking.
Branch Meetings and Activities
All members are welcome to attend their branch's meetings. If that's not for you, there are plenty of other branch activities to join in.
Policy review and development
Members can contact the Policy Convenor to get involved in reviewing existing policy or developing new policy.
Member Action Groups
These groups form to support advocacy and action on issues of interest to members. Email the convenor to join. The current groups are:
• Qld Greens Women’s Network
• Qld Rainbow Greens
• Qld Greens Participatory Democracy Circle
• Qld Young Greens
• Qld Greens Supporters of First Peoples
• BlakGreens Working Group
• Disability Working Group
Volunteer at an Office
There are endless useful and interesting things to be done by volunteers at the Qld Greens and elected representative's offices.
State Council (meets quarterly) National Conference (bi-annually)
Only Branch delegates can vote at State Council, but all members can attend as observers. Also the weekend includes a workshop program open to all members. There are also National Conferences twice yearly, also offering workshops.
"What's the function of Queensland Greens Branches?"
Branches are the fundamental building blocks of the Queensland Greens and the primary conduit through which members participate in the party and contribute to the party's political goals. Branches run local campaigns, elect delegates to the party decision-making body (State Council), ratify new members, and are the party's eyes and ears in the community.
Branch boundaries are based on Qld state electorate boundaries, with most branches covering more than one electorate. At this time there are 30 branches covering the 93 state electorates (details here).
Branches are comprised of members based on their geographical location within state electorates (although any Qld Greens member may apply to be a member of any Queensland branch regardless of location).
Branches work autonomously to conduct campaigns and other Greens activities in their area, providing the Branch’s decisions are consistent with the principles and objectives of the Greens, remain within the Greens' policy frameworks, and take into account national and state campaign priorities and election strategies. Branches are also responsible for preselecting candidates for electorates within their area. The Queensland Campaign Committee is responsible for endorsing the candidate and may also oversee this process depending on the primary Greens vote and the capacity of the branch.
Branches make decisions using consensus decision-making processes, usually at monthly branch meetings. All Current and Grace members of a branch have the right to participate in branch decisions and ballots.
At their Annual General Meeting, each branch elects its office bearers, branch delegates to State Council, and Local Election Campaign Committee members.
At a minimum, these office bearer roles are a Branch Convenor, Branch Secretary and Branch Treasurer – although many branches elect additional roles to undertake specific duties, such as Membership Officer, Events Coordinator, Spokesperson, Fundraising Secretary. Some branches also elect co-roles (sharing the duties of a role between two elected members) or deputies / assistants to the formal roles to mentor people and grow capacity in the branch.
"What sorts of things are branches responsible for?"
As stated above, Branches are the fundamental building blocks of the Queensland Greens.
A significant level of autonomy is afforded to branches by our Constitution and By-laws, and with this autonomy comes a proportional level of responsibility.
It can help to provide clarity around the functions that our rules say are the responsibility of branches, versus the responsibility of the state organisation (office staff or party committees/office bearers). Some commonly misunderstood examples are provided below.
- Ratifying new members – a quorate meeting of the branch must make the determination to change a Provisional member to a Current member; neither the office staff nor State office bearers can, nor can the branch office bearers do so.
- Running preselections – branches are responsible for running preselections for lower house and local government elections. The State Returning Officer can provide advice and assistance, but not run the preselection for the branch.
- Approving membership transfers – if a member moves from the territory of one branch into another, or if the boundary of the branch changes so the member’s address is in a new branch, the decision to transfer to the new branch is at the individual member’s discretion, and then the new branch must ratify their request to transfer. Neither the branch they were originally ratified into nor the office staff / State office bearers can transfer the member to another branch. The only exception to this is when a brand new branch is formed – then members living in the new branch’s boundaries can be transferred unless they request not to.
- Making decisions for the branch – decisions are made by a quorate branch meeting. Branch office bearers are not empowered to make decisions on behalf of the branch; they only have administrative duties, and no intrinsic powers. They can have authority specifically granted to them by motions passed at a quorate branch meeting. All authority for elected office bearers comes from the branch and can be revoked by the branch.
- Managing branch spokespeople – branch spokesperson(s) appointed by a branch are managed by the branch to ensure that they comply with By-law 3.1 Local and State Spokesperson Rights and Responsibilities. It is not the Qld Campaign Committee’s responsibility to ensure branch spokespeople abide by the by-law.
- Reporting donations – branches are responsible for reporting to the state party donations that exceed the ECQ, AEC or Qld Greens internal thresholds, within the mandated timeframes. This includes in-kind donations.
While the state organisation can provide advice and assistance to branches with regard to functions like these, it can't actually perform the functions on behalf of branches.
If your branch is uncertain about branch responsibilities or any other aspect of how the Qld Greens works, please send queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"What is consensus decision making?"
The Queensland Greens, like other Greens parties, is committed to decision-making processes that facilitate everyone being able to participate in discussions and decisions, and that minimise the extent to which only a few people dominate outcomes.
This commitment requires a method by which multiple and often distributed groups can arrive at a collective decision, in which all participants agree enough with the outcome to accept it. This contrasts with decision-making models based on majority-rules voting, in which those on the minority side are wholly disenfranchised.
What the process means on a practical level is that sufficient time must be allowed for discussion of the matter, in which all participants can be respectfully heard. A facilitator helps the group to synthesise the discussion to a final position that all participants find acceptable. This synthesis involves compromise, but the goal is to ensure that all participants can accept the decision. If some participants cannot accept the decision, discussion should continue.
If the decision pertains to the larger party organisation, the same process is undertaken at the next level. The positions already discussed and agreed at the local level (e.g. Qld Green Branches) are taken to the next level (e.g. Qld Greens State Council) by delegates. The delegates then seek to reach a collective decision that they all find acceptable.
The advantages of this process over the admittedly quicker process of majority-rules voting are that no ideas are lost, and each member's input is valued as part of the solution. The process of discussing and resolving participants’ concerns and objections means the final decision is more robust and more widely supported.
"What formal committees are there in the Qld Greens?"
The Qld Greens' primary decision-making body is State Council. It is made up of delegates from each of the branches and meets quarterly. State Council is a direct representation of the Greens' grassroots democracy principle. However, as this body cannot meet frequently, most of the operational needs of the party are delegated to various committees that are answerable to State Council. All committees are elected by Qld Greens members for one-year terms, with any casual vacancies filled by ballots at the next State Council meeting.
The function of all committees is described in the Constitution and By-laws, however a brief explanation is below.
Day-to-day management and campaign decisions for the party between State Councils are made by the Management Committee and the Queensland Campaign Committee respectively.
The Parliamentary Liaison Committee works to support our elected State parliamentary representatives and provide communication lines between them and the party organisation.
The Queensland Policy Committee oversees the development and review of Qld Greens policy, and is made up of the Policy Convenor and 4 general members.
The Constitution & Arbitration Committee has a dual function, to provide interpretations of the party's Constitution and By-laws on request or in situations where clarity is required, and to provide rulings for the resolution of complaints against members or party bodies.
There are also other elected positions in the party (such as the policy working group convenors, the Communications Working Group and delegates to National working groups) that fulfil additional or subsidiary roles for the elected committees and/or State Council.
"What positions can I stand for in the Qld Greens?"
In addition to the all-important role of candidate for your local government, state electorate, federal lower house electorate and senate, all of which are selected from the Queensland Greens membership body using direct election processes, there are also a large number of roles to be filled internally in our party.
Many of these are filled at the Annual General Meeting election by a ballot of the entire Queensland Greens membership:
- Management Committee (Convenor, Secretary, Treasurer, Campaigns Convenor, Membership Convenor, Policy Convenor, Lead National Delegate, Rural & Regional Convenor)
- Queensland Campaign Committee (Campaign Secretary, Campaign Treasurer)
- Constitution & Arbitration Committee (Convenor, Secretary, 3 General Members)
- Parliamentary Liaison Committee (3 General Members)
There are also Committee and Working Group positions elected during the final State Council of the year. These are elected by branch delegates attending State Council:
- Queensland Campaign Committee general members (5, including 2 regional)
- Queensland Policy Committee general members (4)
- Communications Working Group (3)
- Mediation and Resolution Working Group (5)
- Delegates to permanent Australian Greens Working Groups (currently Constitution Review Panel , Donations Reference Group , First Nations Committee , Global Issues Group , Participatory Democracy Working Group , Women’s Working Group )
In addition to these roles for the wider party, there are also roles at branch level, which are elected at each Branch Annual General Meeting:
- State Council delegates (between 2 and 4 depending on branch size)
- Local Election Campaign Committee members
- Other roles depending on your branch structure (e.g. Membership Secretary, Deputies to the primary roles etc.)
All members are encouraged to participate in making our party vibrant, robust and diverse by putting your hand up for these roles. There is information available in Greenhouse (log in required) to support some of these roles (click on Qld Greens pod, Guidelines for Branches and Members). Also the current incumbents will be pleased to answer questions if you're thinking about nominating for a position. Find contact details here.
The party especially wishes to encourage members who identify as women, and representatives from minority groups, to nominate for roles as candidate and in our party, to strengthen the voice of these groups and ensure the Queensland Greens represents the full spectrum of our community.
"What is the difference between the Queensland Greens State Council and the Queensland Greens AGM?"
The Qld Greens' primary decision-making body is State Council. It is made up of delegates from each of the branches and meets approximately quarterly. The day-to-day management and campaign decisions of the party are delegated to the Management Committee and the Queensland Campaign Committee between State Councils. State Council is responsible for decisions including:
● Approving party and campaign budgets
● Changes to by-laws
● Adoption of policy
● Ratification of decisions made by the Management Committee
● Receiving reports from elected representatives, committees and working groups
● Election of policy working group convenors and casual vacancies for the committees
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Queensland Greens is a meeting of all the members, as required for any incorporated association once in each calendar year. At the AGM, the Qld Greens must present its members with financial statements and reports as specified in the Constitution, and members must elect key office bearers for the coming year. The AGM is also the forum in which proposed changes to the Constitution may be made, if approved by consensus or two-thirds majority of voting members present.
Office bearers elected at either the AGM or State Council are as follows:
• Elected by a ballot of all members, finalised at the AGM:
- Management Committee (Convenor, Secretary, Treasurer, Campaigns Convenor, Membership Convenor, Policy Convenor, Lead National Delegate, Rural & Regional Convenor)
- Queensland Campaign Committee Campaign Secretary and Campaign Treasurer
- Constitution & Arbitration Committee General Members
- Parliamentary Liaison Committee General Members
• Elected by State Council Delegates, at the final State Council meeting of the calendar year:
- Queensland Campaign Committee general members (including a mandatory number of regional representatives)
- Queensland Policy Committee general members (4)
- Communications Working Group
- Mediation and Resolution Working Group
- Delegates to permanent Australian Greens Working Groups (currently Constitution Review Panel, Donations Reference Group, First Nations Committee, Global Issues Group, Participatory Democracy Working Group, Women’s Working Group)
• Any casual vacancies that occur during the year are filled by a ballot at the next State Council meeting.
"How does the Qld Greens Management Committee work?"
The Queensland Greens Management Committee provides a point of coordination for the elected officers who are responsible for the general business and operations of the party. The Committee is formally responsible for the management of the affairs, property and funds of the incorporated association that is The Queensland Greens.
Management Committee has responsibilities as outlined in the Constitution and Bylaws, and limited power to make time-critical interim decisions on behalf of the party, but all decisions made by the Management Committee are ratified by State Council as the ultimate authority of the party.
Management Committee's responsibilities include:
- Set dates, venue and workshops for the State Council weekends
- Undertake tasks as directed by State Council
- Authorise staff hiring & management
- Make interim decisions of a minor and/or administrative nature on behalf of State Council (which are later ratified by State Council)
- Deal with day-to-day business and emergencies (with any decisions again later ratified by State Council)
Management Committee consists of a State Convenor, State Secretary, State Treasurer, Campaign Convenor, Policy Convenor, Lead National Delegate, Membership Convenor and Rural & Regional Convenor.
Management Committee positions are unpaid. The positions are elected by the members through a party wide ballot for a one-year term. Any current member of the party may nominate for any Management Committee position. The ballot is held in the weeks prior to the AGM. The results of the ballot are announced at the AGM.
The Queensland Greens State Director is required to attend Management Committee meetings as non-voting participant in order to provide a two-way conduit of information between the Committee and the party office.
"What does Membership Ratification mean?"
When a person joins the Queensland Greens, their membership is formally called Provisional. Some administrative tasks are completed by the Qld Greens office, and then the Provisional member’s application for membership is brought to the attention of their local branch. It is the branch’s responsibility to ratify the membership application.
Being ‘ratified’ changes the membership status from Provisional to Current. This change is required before a member is eligible for their membership entitlements. Membership entitlements include:
- Voting in candidate preselections and other Qld Greens ballots
- Participating in Branch decision-making
- Nominating to be an office bearer
- Nominating to be a candidate (after 6 months' membership)
- Requesting access to the members-only document storage Greenhouse
- Ability to join a Policy Working Group
- Ability to join a Member Action Group
A new member’s local branch is responsible for making contact to commence the ratification process. Every Branch has its own process for assessing the suitability of a new member to be ratified. This is an important responsibility of branches, since the membership entitlements confer access to confidential information and enables participation in important Qld Greens processes.
If you are a Provisional member and your branch hasn’t yet been in touch to ratify you, you can find their contact details here. If you are having difficulty getting in touch with your branch to become ratified, you can contact the Membership Convenor (email@example.com) for assistance.
"What is a Branch Office Bearer and how do I become one?"
In accordance with our Constitution and By-Laws, all Queensland Greens branches must elect a Convenor, Secretary and Treasurer, and nominate State Council delegates. Branches may also choose to elect other roles like a Membership Secretary, a Spokesperson to speak on local issues or manage branch social media pages, a Fundraising/Events Secretary, and/or deputies to each of the formal roles.
All branch positions are voluntary. Branch office bearers are elected at the branch AGM, which is held each year between the months of October and December. State Council delegates are selected at any branch general meeting, although many branches combine the elections of all roles at the AGM. For any casual vacancies that occur in the period between AGMs, an ordinary quorate branch meeting can make an interim appointment until the next general meeting.
There is no prohibition against office bearers nominating for consecutive terms, however it is good practice to seek renewal and capacity building in the branch by encouraging other members to nominate when possible. Electing deputies to the office bearer roles is a good method of training an inexperienced member to step up to the role in future.
Guidance for the roles and responsibilities of branch positions is provided in the Branch Manual. This can be accessed in Greenhouse HERE (if you're a member and don’t yet have Greenhouse please contact the office to request access).
Further guidance on the office bearer roles is provided in a series of office bearer training workshops provided during the first State Council weekend of each year. The workshop materials can be accessed in Greenhouse. These materials will be updated from time to time as feedback is received from office bearers and members.
It is strongly recommended that outgoing branch office bearers actively assist their replacement to understand and perform their new role.
If you are interested in being an office bearer for your branch, nominations are generally taken for the positions in the lead up to the branch AGM and a ballot conducted during the branch AGM meeting.
"When can branches conduct their AGM?"
The timing of Branch Annual General Meetings has been regularised into a three-month period from October to December each year.
The purpose of aligning branch AGMs in the final quarter of each year is to allow the party to provide centralised office bearer training for new office bearers at the beginning of each new year. This assists branches to function much more efficiently and helps to prevent a lot of the difficulties that would otherwise be faced by branches regarding process, systems, access etc. Allowing for AGMs to be conducted over a 3-month period also provides the necessary flexibility to avoid conducting a branch AGM in close proximity to an election.
Historically, some outgoing branch office bearers have provided a good handover to assist their replacement to ‘learn the ropes’. However in many cases, the previous office bearer had left or been otherwise uninvolved in the handover, with the result that new branch office bearers struggled to understand and fulfil their roles. As a result, branches were stressed and less functional.
The party will therefore offers office bearer training at the first State Council weekend following the Oct-Dec quarter, with capped reimbursement for travel costs for regional and rural office bearers.
Providing the training in conjunction with a State Council weekend minimises additional travel for regional and rural office bearers, many of whom are also delegates for their branches.
Any queries regarding these new arrangements can be sent to the Membership Convenor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"How does a branch run their Annual General Meeting?"
As outlined above, all branches must conduct their AGM during the period between 1 October and 31 December each calendar year.
The branch secretary must send notice of the AGM to branch members no less than 7 days before the AGM (and preferably earlier with a reminder 7 days out). If the branch requires written nominations to be submitted before the AGM, the nomination form and instructions for its submission should be included with this notice.
Each branch will conduct their AGM a little differently, however the usual process is as follows:
- Current office bearers present their annual reports to the meeting.
- The convenor or appointed facilitator:
- Outlines the positions to be elected
- Confirms the appointment of a returning officer
- Calls for nominations (nominations from the floor are generally acceptable, some branches may require formal nominations prior to the meeting)
- Invites the nominees to speak to their nomination
- Hands over to the returning officer for the conduct of the ballot
- The process for conducting and counting a ballot is described in By-law 2.1 Voting & Conduct for Internal Elections. However, the branch may determine that it is not required to conduct a secret ballot, but instead to elect office bearers by another method, such as endorsing nominees from the floor by consensus. This decision must be made at a quorate branch meeting and minuted, at some time prior to commencing the ballot.
- The returning officer may appoint an assistant. Once the ballot has been conducted and counted, the returning officer reports the results to the meeting.
Some branches allow proxy voting at their AGM. It is best practice for branches to arrange their AGMs in such a way as to maximise the capacity of their voting members to participate directly, however in cases where it is not possible to facilitate the direct participation of voting members, proxy votes can be accepted. This requires notice of the ballot and proxy voting instructions to be sent to all voting members at least 7 days prior to the AGM, and members must then provide their proxy vote in the proper form before the beginning of the AGM. See the Constitution sections 22.12.6 to 22.12.8 for details.
Branch members should be mindful of their obligation to elect individuals with the capacity to contribute positively to the Queensland Greens. Queensland Greens practice is to include a voting option of “Seek Further Candidate” on our optional preferential ballot papers, in order to facilitate the ability of members to fulfil this responsibility.
After the branch AGM, the branch secretary must arrange notification of the ballot outcome to all branch members, and ensure the AGM minutes and details of appointed office bearers are provided to the State Secretary (email@example.com). Branch AGM minutes are ratified at the following year's AGM.
"How are ballots at Branch AGMs counted?"
The Queensland Greens By-law 2.1 Voting & Conduct for Internal Elections prescribes the ballot method that is to be used for all internal Qld Greens elections. This includes ballots conducted at Branch AGMs (Annual General Meetings).
The by-law specifies that ballots for the election of one person to a single position (e.g. branch convenor) will be counted using the Black method of the Condorcet system, and that ballots for the selection of candidates to multiple positions from the same ballot (e.g. state council delegate) will be counted using the single transferable vote system Gregory method with a Droop quota.
"Er ... what?" say most of us!
Fortunately, if your branch does not have a resident whiz returning officer familiar with the technical intricacies of these counting methods, or if branch members would just prefer a more simple and intuitive approach, the branch is empowered to make a decision to undertake ballots using whichever counting method is preferred.
The Constitution makes allowance for branches to determine their preferred ballot counting method:
15.3 ... These Office Bearers shall be elected by secret ballot or by a method otherwise determined by the branch at the Annual General Meeting of the branch.
Firstly, this section allows a branch members to agree that the branch is not required to conduct a secret ballot, but can elect office bearers by another method, such as endorsing nominees from the floor by consensus.
Secondly, if a branch still needs or wants to elect branch office bearers via secret ballot (for example, when the ballot is contested), then the branch can elect to use a different, easier method for counting the ballot if they wish to.
Both these decisions must be made at a quorate branch meeting and minuted at some time prior to commencing the ballot.
"What does a good branch meeting look like?"
Queensland Greens Branches need to hold at least 4 quorate meetings every year to remain a formal branch of the Queensland Greens. Most branches meet monthly or bi-monthly, with a break over the end of year holiday period.
Each branch has its own culture and priorities that will inform how they run their branch meetings. However, certain activities are common to all branches.
Firstly, the branch secretary should ensure all branch members are informed of the meeting time, place and key agenda items, preferably no later than a week beforehand. The meeting itself generally runs along these lines:
- The convenor or appointed facilitator calls the meeting to order, makes an acknowledgement of country, explains safety in the Qld Greens and mandatory reporting requirements, and calls for apologies.
- The secretary checks that the meeting is quorate (and if it is not the meeting may continue but no formal decisions can be made).
- The facilitator runs through the proposed agenda and checks if there are any additional items.
- The facilitator leads the meeting through the agenda, facilitating discussion and consensus agreement on any required decisions and motions.
- Minimum business should include:
- Ratification of previous branch meeting minutes
- Ratification of new members
- Office bearer reports
- Discussion of decisions to be made at State Council (during the branch meeting prior to each State Council meeting)
- The secretary should record all decisions, ballots and any key discussion in the minutes.
As for all Greens meetings, it is very important that branch meetings observe Safe Meeting Procedures. These are detailed in the Queensland Greens Constitution & Bylaws (available on Greenhouse here) and there are also guidelines available in the Branch Manual (here) and in A Green Guide to running safe meetings or discussions (here).
Decisions are made by consensus (see the topic on consensus decision-making on this page), and important decisions should be recorded formally as motions. This would include things like the ratifications mentioned above, decisions to expend branch funds, formation of sub-committees or working groups, etc.
A formal motion needs a mover and a seconder (and both must be financial - i.e. Current or Grace - members). Once all meeting attendees have been invited and had opportunity to voice their views and concerns, the facilitator can call for objections to the motion. If there are no objections, the motion can be passed by consensus. If consensus can’t be reached and the decision can’t wait, the question can be resolved by vote. A two thirds majority is required to carry the motion.
Many branches make efforts to ‘liven things up’ by inviting guest speakers from the community, holding social events before or after the meeting, or including free-ranging discussions on policy and politics. This is a great way to encourage attendance and to build the cohesion of the branch.
"How do Branches Preselect Candidates?"
A critical responsibility of members, branches and the Queensland Campaign Committee (QCC) is to preselect Greens candidates. This is to ensure all voters have the chance to Vote 1 Green in every election.
Where the electorate covers the territories of more than one branch, the branches should cooperate to select the local election campaign committee (LECC) and organise the preselection process. All financial members living within the electorate are eligible to vote in the preselection.
Here is a summary of how the process works:
For electorates where the primary Greens vote was under 15% at the last election, the QCC determines when preselections should begin. For electorates with a primary vote over 15%, the responsible branch(es) are required to conduct a preselection process as soon as practicable six months after the previous election.
"What is a local Returning Officer?"
Branches appoint a local returning officer (RO) to manage branch-level ballots, such as the election of office bearers at AGMs, or the preselection of candidates.
This is a separate position from the Qld Greens Returning Officer, which is a role elected at each Queensland Greens AGM and is responsible for conducting party-wide ballots. However, if a branch-based ballot is high profile or contentious, the branch may request the Qld Greens RO to conduct the ballot, with or without the assistance of a local RO.
Local ROs may be elected for a year-long term like other branch office bearers, or may be appointed for specific ballots. This is a decision for the branch. However, if branches do not appoint an RO to conduct candidate preselections within one month of preselections opening, the Qld Campaign Committee may appoint one.
ROs should familiarise themselves with the by-laws in the Qld Greens Constitution dealing with Voting and Preselections.
For internal branch elections, the RO must oversee the process: ensuring that nominations are called appropriately, determining the voter roll, and conducting the ballot in accordance with the by-laws.
For preselections, the RO is responsible for:
- ensuring that nominations are called per the by-laws
- checking that received nominations are valid
- sending nomination forms to the Campaign Secretary
- determining the voter roll
- conducting the ballot in accordance with the by-laws
- informing the Campaign Secretary of the outcome
"What is 'authorisation' all about and why is it important?"
Electoral law in Australia is very strict about what a political party can say and who can say it. There are legislative and regulatory requirements at local, state and federal levels.
'Authorisation' is the process by which the Queensland Greens ensures that all messages and materials that go into the public domain have been checked for compliance with electoral law, as well as our party's policy, electoral strategy, and design guides.
At the federal level, requirements for authorisation were escalated in 2018, and things that used to be OK are now constrained. Similarly, regulatory requirements around state and local government election finances were changed in 2018 and 2019 respectively and compliance requirements are now more complex.
Legislated authorisation requirements for political parties are quite complex, and to safeguard the party and ensure our electoral success, it's more important than ever that all candidates, campaign teams, branches etc. follow the party's formal authorisation process before:
- printing materials
- publishing articles
- purchasing advertising (including digital)
- creating social media assets
- creating campaign websites
- preparing messaging that will be communicated to voters in any form, including text messaging, phone banking, videos, emails, speeches
If the Queensland Greens, or any candidate or representative of the party, fails to comply with legislative requirements, consequences can be severe; including injunctions that prevent the party from campaigning, and hefty fines.
WHAT TO DO?
There is a complete guide to authorisation in the Queensland Greens in Greenhouse here.
The short version is:
- All created, edited, produced, printed or digital material for an election (branded Green or otherwise) must be checked and authorised by the appointed authoriser in the Election.
- They are checked for editing, policy, design, compliance and messaging.
- Send draft materials to firstname.lastname@example.org and DO NOT proceed until an authorisation has been received.
If you have queries about authorisation, you can contact the Qld Greens Campaign Manager for the current election or the State Director at email@example.com.
"How is Qld Greens policy made?"
Current Queensland Greens policies are published on our website, and it is a fundamental requirement that Queensland Greens policies must not contradict Australian Greens policies. But how are our policies developed?
Like all important decision-making in the Queensland Greens, development of policy is a participatory process. The Queensland Policy Committee (QPC), elected from the membership, manages the process.
The QPC Convenor is elected at the Queensland Greens AGM, and the other members of the Committee elected from the membership at State Council meetings.
Any Queensland Greens member can volunteer to assist with the work of reviewing or developing policy, or raise a query or suggestion about policy, by contacting the Policy Convenor. Once the QPC agrees on a new or revised policy, the committee places it on the agenda of the next State Council meeting for approval. If approved, the policy is formally adopted and published on the website. If not, further work may be done by the committee (or the Greens members who drove the project) before it is presented again for State Council approval.
All Queensland Greens policy undergoes review on a timeframe determined by the QPC. All members are provided with the opportunity to contribute to this process, and the means for doing so is advertised in the member newsletter and other members-only forums.
"How do the Qld Greens IT systems work? (and what to do when they don't)"
The Queensland Greens' IT systems include:
- CiviCRM - for maintaining member and supporter records, managing donations, managing database access, creating group mails and events
- ROCkET (Recruit Organise Campaign Engagement Tool) - for creating supporter call lists, making booth rosters etc. (also ROCkET's predecessor EMS or Election Management System shows up when you log in)
- gVIRS (Grassroots voter interaction system) - for creating door knock lists and recording voter interaction data
- Greenhouse - the Australian Greens’ members intranet, for storage of guidelines, documents, minutes etc.
Access to the systems is based on the position you hold in the Queensland Greens. For example, branch office bearers can request access that enables them to see the records of members and supporters within their branch area. To request access, contact the Queensland Greens Office Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org). You will need to provide:
- confirmation of your position as a member of your Branch executive OR written permission from your Branch Secretary to give you access, and
- details of the area(s) for which access is required (e.g. Branch name, electorate name, ward name) and the tasks you need to perform.
Access to the Greens online systems is given only on the understanding that the privacy and confidentiality of member and volunteer details will be respected and that information from the database may only be used for legitimate activities of the Queensland Greens. You will be required to accept these terms before accessing the systems.
Guidelines for using the systems are available in Greenhouse (see documents under Qld Greens pod/Help with IT and also in the Branch Manual under Guidelines for Branches and Members).
These systems are shared by all Greens parties across Australia, and are maintained centrally at a national level as part of the resource sharing that was agreed by the federation of state party branches that formed the Australian Greens. The maintenance team consists of two employees and a range of IT-minded volunteers around the country.
Due to the low level of IT staffing, it can be difficult and slow to fix problems. If you are experiencing a problem using one of the systems, you should:
- log out and back in to check that the system has not simply timed out
- if the problem persists, collect detailed information about it:
- what exactly were you trying to do
- when you were doing it
- how did it go wrong (including screen shots if at all possible)
- details of your device, operating system, browser etc.
- provide this information to the Office Manager (email@example.com) who may be able to solve it for you straight away
- if the problem is very complex the Office Manager will log a ticket with IT support
"Ways to participate in the Qld Greens"
The Greens is a grassroots party that relies almost entirely on volunteer effort. Given financial constraints, there is only a tiny force of paid staff, and you'd be surprised how few active volunteers there are - working together to make such a positive difference in our political landscape, working hard for a future for all of us. Our members are our strength. If you're not already an active part of this amazing movement for change, be proactive and think about how you can pitch in.
- Campaigning for the next Local, State or Federal election is the most important thing we do. There is a myriad of campaigning tasks to be done for each and every electorate, and you can volunteer in your local electorate or reach out to a campaign next door, whatever works for you. There's definitely something for everyone no matter what level of experience or where you are:
- door knocking voters (the most effective way to change votes)
- phone banking voters (the next most effective)
- calling other volunteers
- handing out 'How to Votes'
- holding signs at busy roads/sites
- hosting yard signs
- donating campaign funds
- helping run a campaign with your local branch
- helping to run fundraising events
- assisting with messaging and social media
- assisting with political strategy on your local campaign team
- assisting to analyse voting patterns with your local campaign team
- connecting local community groups with your candidate
- identifying issues of importance in your area
- identifying media opportunities in your area
- Get active in your local Greens Branch. If you haven't heard from them directly, look them up here and get in touch.
- If you can't find a place to slot in or you're having trouble reaching your local branch, contact the Membership Convenor or the Rural and Regional Convenor, they can help you get in touch with the right people for the activities you might be interested in.
In addition to volunteering in campaign and branch activities, there are many other ways in which members can get directly involved in the Queensland Greens - see below.
Queensland Greens State Council
The Queensland Greens State Council is the decision-making body of the party. It is made up of delegates from each of the branches.
Meeting dates for the year are agreed at the final state council meeting of the previous year. Sometimes the dates need to be changed if circumstances change.
The State Council meeting will take place on the Sunday of the nominated weekend, with training and workshop activities allocated to the Saturday.
Motion proposals for the State Council meetings must be received by the Queensland Greens Secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org) at least six weeks before the scheduled Sunday meeting date.
Qld Greens Policy work
Refer to "How is Qld Greens policy made?".
Qld Greens Member Action Groups and Working Groups
Member Action Groups and Working Groups are formed from time to time within the Qld Greens to champion particular issues or concerns about which members are passionate. Current MAGs are:
- Queensland Greens Women’s Network (QGWN). QGWN's goals are: Increasing the number of women selected as candidates in high profile seats; Campaigning on internal party policy, culture and practice that impact on women’s ability to be elected and to play a full role in the party; Campaigning on issues concerning women in the wider Qld community; Building and maintaining a network of empowered and resourced women able to fulfil their potential in the Party and in wider progressive politics. Email: email@example.com.
- Queensland Rainbow Greens. Rainbow Greens' goals are: Acting as a source of information and as a policy think-tank on issues affecting the LGBTIQ community and members; Providing suggestions regarding potential campaign opportunities on issues associated with LGBTIQ; Providing a means for socialising and supporting LGBTIQ members; Liaising and working with NGOs actively advocating on these issues. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Queensland Greens Participatory Democracy Circle (PDC). PDC focusses on the implementation of the party's founding principle of: "Democracy a) To increase opportunities for public participation in political, social and economic decision-making. b) To break down inequalities of wealth and power which inhibit participatory democracy." To that end we contribute to the party's policies and positions relating to democracy, hold forums to discuss and debate democracy, and, work to improve the structure and functioning of internal democracy at all levels of the party. Email: email@example.com.
- Queensland Young Greens (QYG). QYG's goals include: Providing a voice to progressive youth in Qld; Giving opportunities to young Queenslanders to agitate in a safe and supportive environment; Supporting University Greens Clubs and affiliated progressive Societies on campus; Providing training and skills development to young members of the Qld Greens; Helping develop policies on issues that affect young people in Qld; Running events and activities that help foster a sense of community and togetherness amongst members; Collaborating with other progressive youth organisations on campaigns and issues that affect us all; Having Greens candidates elected before their 31st birthday. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Queensland Greens Supporters of First Peoples. Goals include: To actively learn from and be led in its activities as much as possible from Australian First Nations People, share those learnings with the branches and State Council, and facilitate First Nations People’s engagement with the Qld Greens; To actively seek to support First Nations Peoples initiatives in the community in its own capacity and by bringing the matters to the attention of the Qld Greens. Email: email@example.com.
- Queensland Greens Disability Working Group (QG-DWG). QG-DWG goals include: to build spaces and support networks to be a welcoming organisation for people with disabilities, to help the party lead on state disability issues, to provide a means of socialising, support and networking for QG-DWG members, to support and empower people with disability to take up an active role in the party, to influence internal party policy, culture and practice which impacts on people with disability's ability to be elected and play a full role in the party, and to liaise and work with select NGOs actively advocating on issues faced by people with disability. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Queensland Greens communication groups
There are a number of Facebook groups and E-lists used by Queensland Greens members and supporters for discussion and coordination of Greens activities. You can find a list of these and how to join them here (Greenhouse login required - contact the office if you don't have access).
If your Qld Greens branch, group or committee has a discussion group of this kind that's not on the list, please contact the Communications Working Group (email@example.com)
Constitution and Bylaws Review Group
Help to review and renew the party's constitution and bylaws. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the discussion e-list.
"What to do if you have a problem in the Qld Greens"
If you have a problem as a member
There are several avenues of seeking support or making a complaint, depending on the details of your experience.
There is a summary of the options available and how to access them HERE (in Greenhouse - contact the office if you don't have access)
You can seek assistance or advice from the Mediation and Resolution Working Group using THIS FORM
You can contact the Membership Convenor for information (email@example.com)
Zero tolerance and mandatory reporting of sexual harassment, assault and bullying
In accordance with the Qld Greens Code of Ethics, members witnessing or having knowledge of sexual harassment, assault or bullying occurring during Greens events or activities are required to report them to the State Director (or a Qld Greens office bearer they are comfortable to communicate with, who is then required to report to the State Director) so the incident can be dealt with within the formal processes of the Party as soon as possible. (Direct contact details are available in the fortnightly members e-newsletter, or call the Qld Greens office 07 3357 8458.)
The formal procedure for managing complaints of sexual harassment or assault is here.