ACS has announced it will review its plans to transition ACS to a Company Limited by Guarantee, following the ruling by Justice Wigney in the Federal Court which voided the resolution passed at a Special General Meeting held on 25 October 2019.
In June 2019, then-ACS President Yohan Ramasundara outlined plans to modernise the governance of ACS to meet the needs of its members in a rapidly changing environment.
But in a detailed judgement, Justice Wigney said the special resolution passed at the 25 October 2019 meeting was “invalid”.
The ACS Management Committee said that while disappointed, it respects the Court’s decision.
“No process is ever perfect, and for a not-for-profit membership body we have shown an exhaustive effort to keep all members involved in the consultation processes, and to participate in the resolution process.
“We all have the objective of a united profession with a common goal of maximising the outcomes for our nation.
“We will take the key learnings from the Court hearing, and carefully consider how we can improve the process to transition into a Company Limited by Guarantee."
The proceedings are not yet finalised, with a case management hearing to occur in February 2020 on a date yet to be determined for the purpose of considering what, if any, orders or directions should be made for the convening of a general meeting of the Society.
ACS members were notified of the Federal Court outcome via email on Monday afternoon and will be kept informed of this process as it develops, the Management Committee said.
A successful resolution would have seen the changing of ACS’ legal structure from an incorporated association under the Associations Incorporation Act 1991 (ACT) to a company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), resulting in a name change name to the 'Australian Computer Society Limited' and the replacement of the existing Rules and Objects of the Society with a new Constitution under the Corporations Act.
Since being founded in 1967, ACS has been an incorporated association registered in the Australian Capital Territory. In 2017 ACS laid out its five-year Strategic Plan focusing on boosting the profession’s capacity and capability while positioning ACS as a catalyst for sparking innovation.
Following the release of the Strategic Plan, ACS consulted with almost 200 elected members on the suitability and limitations of its existing association-based governance model.
After the review, ACS' National Congress unanimously recommended at its December 2018 meeting for ACS to migrate to a Company Limited by Guarantee while maintaining its not-for-profit status.
Yohan Ramasundara was ACS President from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2019.