Ballots and Nominating Procedures

Saturday, 12 May 2012


1.1     Nominations may be made by members of the Assembly for the following:


Standing Committee

Christian Education                 chairperson

Christian Unity Working Group  chairperson

Church Polity                         chairperson

Defence Force Chaplaincy        convener

Frontier Services                    chairperson

Historical Reference Committee chairperson       (to be from NSW / ACT)

Legal Reference Committee       chairperson       (to be from NSW / ACT)

Ministerial Education

Commission chairperson and secretary 
                                                     (to be from SA)

Multicultural and

Cross-cultural Ministry               chairperson

Reception of Ministers               chairperson            (to be from Vic / Tas)

Relations with Other Faiths        chairperson                

Theology and Discipleship          chairperson

UC Adult Fellowship                  president

UnitingCare Australia                chairperson

UnitingJustice                          chairperson

UnitingWorld                            chairperson

Working Group on Doctrine         convenor

Working Group on Worship         convenor


1.2     Nomination forms are provided in section D4 of this mailing of Assembly working papers. Any nominations by Assembly members should be completed on these forms and

(a)    mailed, emailed or faxed to the General Secretary or the  Returning Officer; or

(b)    placed in a nominations box which will be located in a designated position during business sessions of the Assembly prior to the close of session 11 (5.30pm on Tuesday 17 July).

1.3     Two nominators are required for a nomination for President-elect both of whom must be members of the Assembly (Regulation The same process applies for other nominations.

1.4     Members should note that:

 (a) Each Assembly agency listed in paragraph 1.1 is bringing nominations to the Assembly, except in the case of the Standing Committee. Profile information on each of these nominees will be included in section D3 of the Assembly papers.

   (b) The Standing Committee elects members of most agency Reference Committees, as detailed in the Mandates of agencies / areas of work. The Mandates are attached at    the end of reports agency / area of work.

 (c)  At the time these papers were prepared four nominations have been received from synods for President-elect. Profiles for three of these nominees are provided in Section D2 of these papers. The name of the fourth nominee is also provided. That profile and those of any subsequent nominees will be provided with the second mailing.


2.      the assembly STANDING COMMITTEE

(Refer Constitution Paragraph 47 and Regulation


2.1     Membership

(a)    The committee comprises the President, President-elect, ex-President, General Secretary, Chairperson and National Administrator of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (all ex officio), and 18 members of the Assembly to be elected by the Assembly;

(b)    The elected membership shall include at least one person from each synod and no more than six from any synod;

(c)    The number of lay members shall be not fewer than the number who are ministers;

(d)    The order of priority to be applied by the scrutineers in ensuring that the elected membership satisfies the above requirements shall be the order appearing in sequence in paragraphs (b) and (c).

2.2       Assembly resolution 00.05 provides that within the 18 elected members there should be no fewer than eight members of each gender, two persons 25 years old or younger at the date of the commencement of the Assembly meeting.

2.3       Assembly minute 09.03.05 resolved to amend the balloting procedures (approved by Assembly minute 00.05) such that the provision that at least two persons recognised by Multicultural and Cross-Cultural Ministry as being among the multi-culturally and linguistically diverse members of the Assembly shall be elected, at least one of whom shall be a lay person will be preserved. However the requirement that one person shall be from the Pacific and that the other person shall be from Asia was removed.

2.3     Observers
Synod Secretaries, the Assembly Associate General Secretary, the National Director of Theology and Discipleship and other Assembly staff as the General Secretary may invite, attend meetings of the Committee with the right to speak but not to vote. 

2.4     The list of gifts and qualities which Assembly members may wish to bear in mind as they consider their voting for Standing Committee members is:

    • knowledge of the church and the world/community in which we live;
    • skills to receive evidence, evaluate it and make decisions;
    • foresight to recognise the ‘signs of the  times’;
    • a willingness to listen and to learn;
    • a sense of leadership and the courage to lead;
    • able to work in, with and for a team; and
    • an awareness of God’s presence with them to guide and support them in discussion and decision-making.

3.      Notes

3.1     A full listing of Assembly agencies / areas of work can be found by reference to the index of the reports.

3.2     In 1997 the Assembly adopted a policy on gender balance within the membership of all bodies appointed by the Assembly and the Standing Committee. It requires “that women shall comprise at least 40% of the membership of each body and men shall comprise at least 40% of the membership of each body, unless:

  • the mandate of a particular body states otherwise;
  • the Assembly specifically  makes a different determination in respect of any particular body”.

        Authority was given by the 1997 Assembly to the Standing Committee “in relation to the Assembly bodies elected by it, to take such action as it considers appropriate to resolve any difficulties” arising from these requirements. These decisions (Assembly minute 97.04.11) remain in place, unless varied by this meeting of the Assembly.

3.3     It should be noted that the General Secretary is an ex-officio member of all Reference Committees and similar bodies.


4.      Nominating and voting procedures

4.1   The following procedures were adopted for the 1985 Assembly and subsequent Assemblies. Three changes were approved by the 1991 Assembly and this Assembly is being asked by the Standing Committee to change the 1997 approved voting procedure for the position of President-elect. The current procedure is provided beneath the process proposed by the Standing Committee.

Nominating procedures

4.2   If in the case of any appointment or election by the Assembly the Regulations do not specify the manner in which nominations are to be made, nominations shall be made in such manner as the Assembly shall determine in respect of such appointment or election, and failing any determination of an exclusive manner of nomination, nominations may be made by the relevant body or by members of the Assembly in writing in a form which:

(a)    states the name, address, presbytery and synod of the nominee;

(b)    states the position for which nomination is made;

(c)    states any qualification or information regarding the nominee which is a pre-requisite to appointment in that position;

(d)    is signed by two members of the Assembly who nominate the nominee; and

(e)    either is signed by the nominee or contains a statement that the nominators believe that the nominee will, if elected, accept the appointment.


4.3     A short profile of a nominee may be submitted by the nominator(s) with the nomination form. Any such profile may be edited by the Returning Officer or the Business Committee.

4.4     Subject to any resolution of the Assembly the Business Committee shall have discretion to determine whether in the case of any election, profiles of nominees should be made available to members of the Assembly and if so, the manner in which they shall be made available.

4.5     Nominations for all ballots shall be lodged with the General Secretary or the Returning Officer or in such manner as the Business Committee shall direct.

4.6     Nominations shall close at such time as the Assembly determines.

Voting procedures

4.7     If the number of persons who are nominated for appointment or election does not exceed the number of persons to be appointed or elected:

(a)    voting shall be by show of hands;

(b)    a single vote shall be taken in respect of all nominees unless the Assembly resolves that a separate vote shall be taken in respect of each nominee;

(c)    nominees who receive an absolute majority of votes shall be declared appointed or elected.

4.8     If the number of persons who are nominated exceeds the number of persons to be appointed or elected:

(a)    voting shall be by ballot;

(b)    ballot papers shall contain the names of all nominees in the order determined by the drawing of lots.

4.9     If more than one person is to be appointed or elected and the number of persons who are nominated exceeds the number of persons to be appointed or elected:

(a)      each member of the Assembly shall have the number of votes equal to the number of persons to be appointed or elected;

(b)      each member of the Assembly may cast votes up to the number of votes equal to the number of persons to be appointed or elected;

(c)      if a specific or minimum or maximum number of persons having prescribed qualifications are to be appointed or elected, a ballot paper shall not be informal by reason only that the votes have not been cast for such specific, minimum or maximum number of qualified persons;

(d)      the voter shall not be required to indicate order of preference;

(e)      except insofar as a specific or minimum or maximum number of persons are required to have prescribed qualifications for appointment or election, the requisite number of nominees who obtain the greatest number of votes shall be appointed or elected and in the event of equality of votes the person or persons who shall be appointed or elected from those having equal numbers of votes shall be determined by lot.

4.10   If only one person is to be elected and more than one person is nominated:

(a)      the election shall be by preferential ballot;

(b)      each voter shall be entitled to one vote;

(c)      each voter shall record a vote on the ballot paper by placing the number “1” opposite the name of the nominee for who it is desired to give the first preference vote and shall give contingent votes for all the remaining nominees by placing the numbers “2”, “3”, “4” and so on as the case may require opposite the names of such nominees so as to indicate by numerical sequence in the order of the voter’s preferences for them;

(d)      upon the close of the ballot the scrutineers shall proceed to count the total number of first preference votes recorded for each nominee;

(e)      that nominee who has received the largest number of first preference votes shall, if that number constitutes an absolute majority of votes, be elected;

(f)      if no nominee has received an absolute majority of first preference votes, the scrutineers shall make a second count;

(g)      on the second count the nominee who has received the fewest first preference votes shall be excluded and each ballot paper counted to that nominee shall be counted to the nominee next in the order of the voter’s preference;

(h)      if any nominee then has an absolute majority of votes that nominee shall be declared elected, but if no nominee then has an absolute majority of votes the process of excluding the nominee who has the fewest votes and counting each of the ballot papers to the continuing nominee next in the order of the voter’s preference shall be repeated until one nominee has received an absolute majority of votes and such nominee shall then be declared elected;

(i)       if on any count two or more nominees have an equal number of votes and one of them has to be excluded that nominee amongst them who had the least number of votes at the end of the preceding count shall be excluded and if such nominees had an equal number of votes at all preceding counts the Returning Officer shall determine by lot which of them shall be excluded;

(j)       a ballot paper shall be informal and rejected if the voter has failed to indicate the number of preference in respect of the name of any nominee.

4.11   An ‘absolute majority of votes’ means a greater number than one half of the whole number of votes which are cast.

Voting procedures for President-elect

This process is the process proposed by the Standing Committee to take effect at this Assembly.

4.12   (a)      if more than two nominations are received for President - Elect, a first-round preferential ballot be used to identify the two candidates with the highest number of preferences;

(b)      if a candidate in the preferential ballot receives more than 50% of the first preferences of those participating in the ballot, that candidate be declared elected;

(c)      if there are only two nominations, or following a prior preferential ballot, in which no candidate received more than 50% of first preferences, the names of the two candidates who, after the distribution of preferences, received the most votes shall be submitted and members shall indicate their preference for one candidate; and

(d)      to be declared elected, a candidate must receive the support of more than 50% of those participating in the ballot.

Following is the current process.

4.13   The election for President-elect shall be conducted in the following manner:

(a) On the first ballot, each member of the Assembly shall be entitled to cast a vote for one of the nominees.

(b) If an absolute majority of the votes is cast in favour of a nominee on the first or any other ballot, the nominee shall be declared elected.

(c) If one of the nominees is not elected on the first ballot, the names of not less than three nominees shall be submitted to a second ballot. They shall be determined in descending order of votes cast in their favour in the first ballot. The second ballot shall include the names of:

  (i)  each nominee who obtains more votes on the first ballot than the number calculated by dividing the total number of votes cast by the number of nominees in the  ballot; and

  (ii) if the number of nominees satisfying condition (i) is less than three, the next nominee or nominees in descending order of votes cast in their favour, to make the number up to three, or more than three in case of equal votes for nominees to fill the third place.


(d) If the number of nominees submitted to the second ballot is more than three, the same procedure shall be followed as detailed in (a),(b) and (c) and if necessary, successive further ballots shall take place until the number of nominees is reduced to three.

(e) The ballot between the remaining three nominees shall be an optional preferential ballot.

(f)    If votes in favour of two of the three nominees are equal after distribution of preferences on the optional preferential ballot, the nominee who obtains the higher number of first preferences will be declared elected, and if both of them obtain an equal number of first preference votes, then, unless the Assembly determines otherwise, the names of the two nominees shall be submitted to a further ballot.

(g)    If first preference votes in favour of two or more nominees are equal, there shall be a notional distribution of the preferences of the other nominee(s) in order to determine the nominee who shall not proceed further in the ballot.


Warwick van Ede    
Returning Officer

Rev Terence Corkin                              
General Secretary