2001 Natcon BM minutes

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Minutes of the Australian Nation Science Fiction Convention (Natcon) Business Meeting

Held on the 15 April 2001

Present: David Cake (Chair)
Rohan Wallace (Minutes Secretary)
Other members of the Natcon

The meeting was declared open at 12:10pm.

The chair clarified that proxies were not acceptable and that the conbook was wrong in saying that they were.

Minutes of the previous meeting

Correction: p5 “year 200” replaced with “year 2000”

Motion:	To accept the minutes of the previous meeting as a true and accurate record of the proceedings

Moved: Jeremy G Byrne	Seconded: Russell B Farr


Procedural Motion: To move the reports on the 2000 and 2001 Ditmars to the second item of special business after the selection
of the 2003 natcon site.

There was a short debate on the procedural motion.  The members providing the reports had other business to attend.


Selection of the Nation Science Fiction Convention for 2003

The only nomination received was from Brett Griggs, convenor of SwanCon 2003.

Brett spoke to his bid.  Questions were asks and answered.

Motion: To accept SwanCon 2003 as the Natcon for 2003.

Moved: Peter Kelly	Seconded: Russell B Farr


Report on the 2000 and 2001 Australian Science Fiction Awards (Ditmars)

Simon Oxwell provided a verbal report for 2000.  He said that the new rules were useful and workable.

He commented that some questions were raised regarding the categories of awards.  In particular it was difficult determining
whether the novella and short story category applied.  He also commented that the categories were somewhat litery-centric.

A question was raised as to whether the fan categories were adequate.

Simon was thanked for his report.

Mark Bivens provided a report for 2001.  A typed report would be made available.

In summary, he raised the following points:
	Improved communication was needed between the award sub-committee and publications and electronic communication
co-ordinators of the concom.
	The awards sub-com. needs to take a more active role
	Nominations need to be made available earlier and dispersed widely
	Some initial confusion over the number of nominations required for the professional categories (ie 4) compared to the fan
categories (ie 2), but the rules did specify the difference.
	There needs to be flexibility in determining the eligibility for determining the category a work falls within
	The best collected work category needs clarification
	It was suggested that a collected work be a multi-volume work produced over a period of time having a single editor.
	There were difficulties in getting hold of a nomination form
	43 nomination forms were received by the deadline
	No questions were asked regarding the publication date of a work or the Australian residency status of an author of a work
	Putting the rules on the back of the nomination form was a good idea and should be continued.
The ability to combine the short story and novella categories into one was used and worked well.
	It was suggested that Fanzine and Best Fan production should be separated into two categories.  About half of the
nominations received for the combined categories for Fanzines, with the other halve being for Fan productions
	It was further suggested that if there were not enough nominations for the split categories then they could be folded
together for that year
	35 ballots were received, 6 by mail, 29 handed in
	The voting system of optional proportional representation (OPR) work well
	No criticisms of the ballot or voting process were received
	It was suggested that a minimum of 2 weeks should be provided for posting the proposed ballot and the actual ballot to
allow for feedback on eligibility of works.  The proposed ballot would be placed on the web and distributed widely to the usual
	It was suggested that the nomination form be available by 1 Jan each year
	Generally the rules were effective, but need some fine tuning
	It was noted that the Best Professional Achievement category received insufficient eligible nominated works and thus
insufficient nominations

Motion: Thanks be given to Mark for with work on the 2001 Awards and his detailed report.

Moved: Luigi Cantoni	Seconded Jeremy G Byrne


Proposed Constitutional Amendment

The amendment was electronically circulated and published in the conbook.

The proposed amendment was:

That a clause be added to the Constitution ' before the current clause (iv) such that it would become (v), to read as follows:

(iv)	The Business Meeting of each Australian SF Convention will appoint a Standing Committee to assist the Convention Committee
in the administration of certain aspects of the Convention which are other than year-to-year, as detailed in rules made under this
Constitution.  These rules will be amendable by resolution of a Business Meeting, and changes will take effect at the next

Moved: Jeremy G Byrne	Seconded: Nick Evans

Jeremy spoke to the motion.  The idea was to provide a standing committee to look after non year to year matters.  The standing
committee was not to be a rival to the convention committee nor intrude into the organisation of a natcon.  It was a less
controversial alteration then the previously proposed Natcon body.

Stephen Boucher spoke against the motion.  The amendment embedded in the constitution something that was effectively an
experiment.  Such a committee could be established without the need for constitutional change.

Jeremy responded that proposal was designed to be a consensus approach to the concerned previously raised at the last natcon and
that he believed that the committee would be persistence and thus needed to be in the constitution.

Procedural Motion: That the meeting move into committee to discuss the proposal.


Debate ensued.  The minutes secretary noted that he was not attempting to minute the debate in committee.  However, it is
noteworthy that comments were raised regarding whether there was too much flexibility provided to make rules governing the
standing committee that can be changed by a business meeting, with the need to put forward notice of change to the rules.  It was
also noted that amendment could not be made to the motion because of the notice requirements, so the proposal has to be accepted
as is or not accepted at all.  There was general agreement on the idea of a standing committee looking after the Ditmars, and the
business meeting.  There was disagreement on the need for constitutional change and whether the proposed change allowed for abuse.

The meeting moved out of committee.

The mover and seconded proposed to withdraw the motion, as it was appeared to them that it did not have clear support.

The chair ruled that the motion was now the property of the meeting and thus needed unanimous consent to be withdrawn.

There was discussion on why the motion should be withdrawn.

The chair asked if there were any objection to the withdrawal of the motion.  One objection was noted by Peter Kelly.

The chair rules that the motion could not be withdrawn, as there was not unanimous consent.

Peter then spoke in favour of the motion.  He said the constitutional change showed a commitment to the standing committee and
that there had been enough discussion, it was time to do something.

Jeremy spoke against his motion.  He believed that as there was not a clear majority of support for the change, even though there
was fore clear support for the principle, he believed it would do harm to the idea if it were implemented in the current form.

Tara Smith stated that she though it was a good idea, but that it needed a minor change.  She wished it noted that Jeremy should
not feel as though the idea was rejected.

The motion was then put.


Motions on Notice

A motion on notice was received:

1.	That a preliminary Standing Committee of the Business Meeting of the Australian National SF Convention be appointed,
comprising not less than five and not more than eleven persons, and they shall hold office until the close of the Business Meeting
at Convergence in 2002 ("the 2002 Meeting").

2	That the Committee shall include, without requirement of election, the chair of the current National Convention.

3	That the Committee shall be involved in the administration, promotion and development of all aspects of the National
Convention which are unique to its National status, including the Australian SF Achievement “Ditmar” Awards, the organisation of
the Business Meetings and the country-wide nature of its promotions, and that the Meeting further detail specific responsibilities
as it sees fit.

4.	That the Committee liaise closely with the Convention Committee and that these committees act cooperatively to achieve
their respective aims.

5.	That the Committee, during the intervening period, act in such a way as to allow the Committee to report back to the 2002
Meeting about the success of their preliminary administration, and provide a more complete model for the ongoing work of the
Committee on the basis of their experience. (It is envisaged that such reports be presented in writing in sufficient time to
incorporate them into the convention materials for Convergence.)

6. That the 2002 Meeting assess the value and relevance of the Committee based on its reports and make a determination at that
time about the continuation of the Committee structure.

Moved: Rohan Wallace	Seconded: Peter Kelly

A question was raised about when a constitution amendment takes effect, and in particular the constitution amendment made earlier
at this meeting.

The chair ruled that the change takes effect as soon as the motion is carried and is minuted.

A procedural motion of dissent in the chair was received.

A point of order was raise regarding which standing orders the natcon business meeting runs under.

It was submitted from the floor that the standing orders of the ALP National Conference are used.

The meeting was adjourned to attempt to find a set of the relevant standing orders.

The meeting recommenced.  Said copy of the standing orders was not found.

The chair was handed to Rohan Wallace.

The acting chair ruled that if the dissent motion is carried, then the alternative ruling is substituted for the chairs ruling.

The alternative ruling offered by Stephen Boucher is that the constitutional change takes effect at the close of the meeting.

David Cake spoke against the dissent motion, stating that once carried a motion take effect.

It was noted that under the standing orders of the ALP National Conference, a motion of dissent in the chair is permitted, with
the vice-chair (taken to be the secretary) holding the chair while the former chair and mover only are allowed to debate the
motion of dissent.

However with the indulgence of the meeting Jeremy Byrne was allowed to speak.  He stated that he wanted the constitutional change
to take effect at the end of the meeting so as to avoid the need to provide the rules for the standing committee at this meeting,
but that an ad-hoc committee could be set up by the meeting to, in effect, conduct the running of the Ditmars and business meeting.

The motion of dissent in the chair was put and,

CARRIED.  As such the constitutional change passed by the meeting does not take effect until the end of the meeting.

The chair was returned to David Cake.

The meeting moved into committee to discuss foreshadowed amendments to the motion on notice.

The meeting then moved out of committee.

The foreshadowed amendments were accepted by the mover and seconder and thus incorporated into the motion, which now read:

4.That a preliminary Standing Committee of the Business Meeting of the Australian National SF Convention be appointed, comprising
not less than five and not more than eleven persons, and they shall hold office until the close of the Business Meeting at
Convergence in 2002 (“the 2002 Meeting”).

4.That the Committee shall include, the chairs of the sitting National Conventions.

4.That the Committee shall be involved in the administration, of all aspects of the Australian SF “Ditmar” Awards and other
awards, and the organisation of the Business Meetings.

4.That the Committee liaise closely with the Convention Committees and that these committees act cooperatively.

The motion was put.

CARRIED without dissent.

The next motion on notice was considered.

Motion:	That the previously tabled proposal for the establishment of a national organisation for the Australian National Science
Fiction Convention and Australian Science Fiction Awards be laid on the table.

Moved: Rohan Wallace	Seconded: Jeremy G Byrne

It was noted that last years business meeting resolved to consider a proposal for the establishment of a national organisation for
the Australian National Science Fiction Convention and the Australian Science Fiction Awards and that the 2001 Natcon committee
circulate this proposal as an agenda item in its publications.  The proposal tabled at the 2000 Natcon business meeting was widely
circulated soon after the 2000 Natcon.

It has become clear to the proposers after national debate that there was doubt that such an organisation was needed.  Therefore,
at the present time, the proposers wish to lay said proposal on the table for an indefinite period.

The motion was put.

CARRIED without dissent.

Report on the minutes of the 1999 Natcon

The chair delivered a report stating that Marc Ortlieb was contacted regarding said minutes.  He said that the minutes were not
available and recommended that he be censured.

Motion: That the chair of the 1999 Natcon business meeting be censured and spanked for not ensuring production of the 1999 Natcon
business meeting minutes.

Moved: Ian Nicholls	Seconded: Catherine DeCroy

CARRIED unanimously

No volunteers were forthcoming for spanking Marc.

General Business

Appointment of the previously resolved standing committee

Ex-officio members:
	David Cake, Rose Mitchell, Brett Griggs

Proposed members:
	Marc Ortlieb, Nick Evans, Russell B Farr, Jack Herman.

Motion: That the aforementioned proposed members be appointed to the standing committee.

Moved: Rohan Wallace	Seconded: Jeremy G Byrne

CARRIED without dissent.

Motion: That the 2002 Natcon chair have the power to co-opt other people to the standing committee.

Moved: Stephen Boucher	Seconded: Tara Smith


Rose Mitchell made an undertaking to convene the first meeting of the standing committee.

Australian SF Awards

After review of the reports previously tabled, it was proposed to split the combined Fanzine and Fan Production category.

Motion:  That the Rules for the Australian Science Fiction ("Ditmar") Awards be amended as follows:
-	At the end of the paragraph headed Fan Categories, under the heading Categories, the following be added “Best Fanzine”
-	The last sentence of the paragraph headed Fan Production under the heading Eligibility Criteria, be deleted;
-	A new paragraph headed Fanzine be added after the paragraph headed Fan Production under the heading Eligibility Criteria
as follows: “Fanzine: This award is for work in any medium first published, released, or made available for public viewing in the
eligible calendar year.  The writer or artist must have received no payment.  Eligible works include, but are not limited to: a
periodical, journal, ezine, webzine.”; and
-	At the end of the paragraph heading Minimum finalists for categories, under the heading Final Ballot, a sentence be added
as follows: “.  At the committee’s discretion, eligible finalists in the Fanzine and Fan Production categories may be merged into
a single category called Fan Production.”

Moved: Tara Smith	Seconded: Neil Murray


The Meeting was then closed at 3:10pm

See also