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definitions of common governance terms

Appointed director—a person who is on the board of directors of an organisation by virtue of being appointed by the board for a set period of time.

Associations Incorporation Act—makes an association a legal entity and gives it a legal structure independent of its individual members, making it easier for the organisation to enter into enforceable contracts, and to sue or be sued.

Board (aka board of directors, executive committee, club committee, committee of management, council, committee)—a group of individuals (directors, committee members), either elected or appointed or both, who hold ultimate responsibility for the organisation in accordance with the constitution.

CEO (aka executive director, general manager)chief executive officer, the highest-ranking person in a company or organisation, ultimately responsible for making managerial decisions.

Chair (aka president)person elected from within and by the board of directors who is responsible for presiding over board / committee meetings. The chair ensures that meetings run smoothly and remain orderly and works at achieving a consensus in board decisions.

Committee (aka sub-committee; committee of the board)—a group of people appointed or elected by the board, including at least one board member, for a specific function under a terms of reference.

Company limited by guarantee—a company formed on the principle of having the liability of its members limited to the respective amounts that the members undertake to contribute to the property of the company if it is wound up.

Constitution—a set of rules for the running of a company or organisation. It details for members and others the name, objects, methods of management and other conditions under which a company or organisation operates, and generally the reasons for its existence.

Cooling off period—an agreed period of time during which two sides with opposing views try to resolve a dispute before taking any serious action.

Corporations Act—the Corporations Act 2001 s an Act of the Commonwealth of Australia which sets out the laws dealing with business entities in Australia at federal and state level. It deals primarily with companies, but also with other entities such as partnerships and managed investment schemes.

Deed of access—a formal instrument for companies to enter into agreements with their directors relating to access to documents, rights of indemnity and insurance.

Director (aka board member, committee member)—a person who is on the board of directors of an organisation either by being elected or appointed to the board. Section 9 Corporations Act 2001.

Elected director—a person who is on the board of directors of an organisation by virtue of being elected by the members of the organisation.

Independent—a person has no direct links, perceived or real, to any official position within the organisation or its directly related member bodies.

Insolvency—the inability to pay debts as and when they fall due for payment.

Legal compliance—adherence to the various laws and statutes that govern the operations of the organisation by virtue of the activities that it is involved in.

Members—those persons, clubs or associations, that by virtue of fulfilling the conditions stated in the constitution, belong to or ‘own’ the said sporting body.

National sporting organisation—the organisation recognised by Sport Australia as the pre-eminent body for the sport in Australia.

Not-for-profit organisations—may be not-for-profit companies, associations or clubs. Not-for-profit organisations can still make a profit, but this profit must be reinvested in the organisation to carry out its objects, and must not be distributed to owners, members or other private people.

Organisation—a collection of persons, clubs or associations registered as an incorporated association or company limited by guarantee.

State sporting organisations—the organisation recognised as the pre-eminent body for the sport in the respective state or territory.

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