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Local Aboriginal Land Council
Membership Rolls
Since July 2007, the update and maintenance of the Local Aboriginal Land Council Membership
Rolls has been the responsibility of the Registrar, Aboriginal Land Rights Act ,1983.
This paper outlines the procedures for applying for membership to a Local Aboriginal Land
Council (“LALC”) and the importance of a land council maintaining an accurate membership roll.
We will be discussing the following:
What is a membership roll?
Definition of an Aboriginal person
Application for membership
Changing your voting rights
Maintaining the membership roll
Removing a member from the roll
Returned mail
Suspension of members
Disputes about membership
What Is The Membership Roll?
The LALC membership roll is the record of each member of that council. LALC
members are the adult Aboriginal persons who are listed on the LALC membership
roll for the LALC area.
A chief executive officer (“CEO”) of a LALC must prepare and maintain the LALC
membership roll. This roll must be in writing and recorded on paper and/or
electronically using computer software such as Microsoft Excel or Word.
In accordance with the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (“ALRA”), the CEO must list
on the membership roll for a LALC the names and addresses of those Aboriginal
persons who qualified for membership.
Definition of an Aboriginal
The definition of an Aboriginal person, as defined by the ALRA is a person
is of Aboriginal descent
identifies as being Aboriginal; and
is accepted as an Aboriginal person by the Aboriginal community in which
they live.
Membership to a LALC is open to any adult Aboriginal person who;
resides within the area of the LALC; or
has a sufficient association with the area of the LALC; or
is an Aboriginal owner in relation to land within the area of the LALC.
There are two types of membership of a land council, voting and non-voting. A
voting member can fully participate in land council meetings and vote on LALC
issues. A non-voting member can attend meetings and be involved in discussions
but cannot vote on issues proposed by the land council.
An individual can be a member of more than one LALC however; they can only be a
voting member at one LALC at any one time.
Application for Membership –
New member Application Form for Local Aboriginal Land
Council (LALC) form
A person seeking to be accepted as a member of a LALC must submit a written
application for membership to that council.
In their application, they must set out the basis of their membership (residential,
association or Aboriginal owner).
An individual’s application must be considered at a valid LALC members meeting.
The acceptance of a membership application is determined by the voting members
of the LALC. The voting members must be satisfied that the applicant is qualified
for membership according to s. 54 (2A) of the ALRA.
If the application for membership is successful and they have applied to be a voting
member, the completed application will then be forwarded by the LALC to the
Registrar, Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (“the Registrar”).
It is important to note that CEO will place the individuals name on the LALC
membership roll as a non-voting member until he/she receives confirmation from the
Registrar that they are not a voting member of another LALC.
An individual can only be a voting member at one LALC. The Registrar must
confirm that they are not listed as voting member at any other council before they
are entitled to vote at the LALC they are applying for membership to. This is done
with a 54(3)(c) form.
Request for 54(3)(c) notice from the Registrar, Aboriginal Land Rights Act
(ALRA) declaring that the applicant is not a voting member at any other Land
An individual can complete a 54(3)(c) form (available from the LALC and/or the
Registrar), or tick the appropriate box on the new member application form
The 54(3)(c) form will be sent with the membership application (usually by the LALC
CEO) to the Registrar. The Registrar will confirm the voting status with the individual
and the LALC to which they have applied to be a member in writing.
If they are not a voting member at any other LALC, the council to which they have
applied should then add their name to the membership roll as a voting member.
Changing Voting Rights –
Request to the Registrar, Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983
(ALRA) to change voting area and issue s. 56(5) notice
If a member of a LALC wishes to change their voting rights or wishes to join another
LALC, and/or change their voting rights to that council, they can do this once within
a 12 month period.
When joining another LALC as a new member, an individual must go through the
process outlined above. If successful, they will then need to complete a 56(5) form
(available from LALC and/or the Registrar) to change their voting rights. Ideally,
these forms should be submitted to the new land council along with their new
membership application; to be then forwarded to the Registrar.
If the individual is already a member at more than one LALC and decides to change
their voting rights, they can complete a 56(5) form and send it directly to the
Registrar. The Registrar will then inform them and the relevant LALC that this
change has been made.
Maintaining the Membership Roll
The membership roll of a LALC is the written record of all the people who are
members of the council. The CEO of the LALC must prepare and maintain a
membership roll. This membership roll includes specific information about each
member which must be included on the roll.
If all the information required is not recorded, a person cannot exercise the rights of
a LALC member.
It is each member’s responsibility, along with the assistance of the CEO to ensure
that the information contained in the membership roll is up to date.
The CEO must record the following information in the membership roll for each
from a LALC and the period of suspension. name: christian & surname
full residential address
date of birth (e.g.12/10/1986)
the date the member was recorded on the membership roll
whether a person is a voting or non-voting member of the LALC; and
whether the person’s membership is based on residence or by association
with that area.
whether the person is a member of any other LALC and if so the name of the
land council
whether the person is suspended
Removing a Member from the
Members Roll
The CEO may remove a members name from the LALC’s membership roll if, and
only if:
a member dies; or
a member resigns in writing; or
a member no longer resides in the LALC area and the members of the LALC
at a valid members meeting decide that the person does not have a sufficient
association with the area to continue as a member, or
the CEO, after making reasonable inquiries, is satisfied that the residential
address of the person is unknown.
Returned Mail
The CEO must keep all returned mail and/or also make a record in a special file of
such mail. This will be helpful if a member disputes that the LALC has failed to
contact the member.
The CEO of each LALC must:
not less than 10 weeks before the commencement of each financial year,
send a copy of the LALC's membership roll to the Registrar, and
advise the Registrar in writing of any changes to the membership roll that
have occurred since a copy was last sent to the Registrar.
Suspension of Members
A member of a LALC may have their membership suspended if the member’s
conduct is considered detrimental to the best interests of the council. What amounts
to detrimental conduct will depend on individual circumstances. As a guide, many
LALCs have adopted a Code of Conduct (approved by members) by which
detrimental conduct can be measured.
The framework for the suspension of a member of a LALC is set out in s.57 of the
ALRA, and Schedule 2 of the ALRA Regulation 2002.
Where the suspension of a LALC member is proposed, the following steps need to
be taken to afford the member procedural fairness in the suspension process:
1. The LALC meeting where a person’s membership suspension is to be discussed
should be called by the Chairperson of the Board. A meeting notice with the
suspension listed as an agenda item (without using the name of member proposed
for suspension) should be published in local newspaper(s) allowing at least seven
(7) clear days notice: the day of the meeting notice (advertisement) and the meeting
day cannot be counted in the period of notice, therefore the total period of time is
not less than 9 days.
2. If at the meeting, members resolve to proceed with the suspension process, a
letter should be sent to affected member (marked Private & Confidential) clearly
outlining the grounds for suspension and specific incidents described where
necessary (you should consult the Registrar’s office about the exact wording). If a
Code of Conduct has been adopted by the LALC, reference should be made to
member’s adherence to this code in the letter. The member should, in the same
letter, be given the opportunity to address a meeting of members or provide a
written submission which is read to the meeting if they wish to defend their position.
In this respect, the member and the LALC has an equal basis on which to argue the
suspension. It is strongly suggest that the letter to be sent to the member being
considered for suspension be mailed by Registered Mail to ensure the letter is
received. A Registered Mail envelope may by purchased “ready made” from any
Australia Post Office.
3. At the meeting where the suspension is next discussed and voted upon, the
relevant resolutions should be put to the meeting and passed by a majority of
members. The resolutions must be clearly worded and transcribed carefully. In the
event of an appeal against a suspension, meeting minutes and meeting notices are
crucial documents upon which the Registrar must rely.
There are a number of consequences associated to being suspended as a member
of a LALC. Namely, a suspended member is not entitled to attend meetings of that
LALC or vote on any matter decided by the council.
It is important to record on the membership roll when a suspension took effect and
when the period of suspension ends.
A LALC that has suspended a member may revoke the suspension at any time.
The CEO must notify the Registrar of all details of a suspension.
At the end of the period of suspension, the member automatically resumes their
rights as a member of the LALC.
Disputes About the
Membership Roll –
Previous LALC Members Declaration Form
The CEO of a LALC is to ensure that the membership of the LALC is kept up to
date. Individuals seeking information about their membership to a LALC should
firstly approach the CEO about this or any issue they might have with their
membership. Individuals who were accepted as members previously but are
currently not entered on the membership roll should fill out a Pervious LALC
Members Declaration Form and give it to the CEO of the LALC to be forwarded on
to the Registrar.
As the Registrar is responsible for the compilation and maintenance of the
consolidated roll of all members of LALCs, individuals may also contact the Rolls
Officer in the Registrar’s office about any matters that relate to a dispute or enquiry
about their membership.
Further Notes
The CEO must be satisfied that a person has provided the correct details associated
to his/her application to be a member of a LALC.
It is recommended that proof of name, address and date of birth (eg driver’s license)
is presented on application for membership and for the purpose of updating
membership details.
Those details are as follows:
NAME: Recorded names should be the person’s legal name in which they are
currently known.
ADDRESS: A full residential address must be recorded on the membership roll.
Post Office boxes are not valid addresses. Where a house number is not applicable
the LALC should seek agreement with Registrar.
DATE OF BIRTH: All members must provide their date of birth. A valid date is
day/month/year eg. 21/4/2006.
DATE ENTERED ONTO ROLL: The membership roll needs to reflect the date that
members were entered onto the roll. Where the date is not known, especially for
long term members, an estimated date is permissible.
VOTING AND NON-VOTING: The membership roll must indicate whether
members are voting or non-voting. Aboriginal persons can be a member of more
than one LALC but must have voting rights in only one. To verify voting rights
members must obtain a 54(3)(c) form from the Registrar. This can be done
personally or by the LALC CEO on behalf to the applicants and members.
RESIDENCE OR ASSOCIATION: Membership based on residence must mean that
the person resides within the LALC’s geographic boundaries. Membership by
association is not restricted to cultural affiliation and can include historical and family
ties or any other association that the council deems appropriate.
If you have any questions about any of these material discussed in this paper,
please do not hesitate to contact:
The Office of the Registrar,
PO Box 112
Glebe NSW 2037
General Ph. 02 9562 6327
Fax. 02 9562 6350
Maurice Stewart 02 9562 6328