Setting up a community organisation

Rules in an incorporated association

The association’s rules should be clear and help the association be inclusive, fair and open with its members. The rules must cover the association’s:

  • name and purpose
  • powers and responsibilities
  • membership, including:
    • subscriptions
    • resignations
    • removals
    • register of members
  • funds and property management
  • powers, duties and committee appointments 
    • committee structure
    • terms of office of members
    • notice of proposed appointments/elections
    • casual vacancies
    • proceedings
    • barring of members

The rules need to be submitted when you apply to incorporate and a copy kept for the association’s records.

Example rules in an incorporated association

Changing the rules

Association rules can be changed if committee members agree by a special resolution or by a membership vote.

Register a rule change


If the association's rules don't cover a situation, consider:

  • using the principle of the rule (within context) to guide the outcome
  • seeking legal advice – especially if the outcome looks like it favours a member or subgroup over other members
  • changing the rules by special resolution at a committee meeting.

At meetings, members should be able to:

  • speak freely
  • express concerns
  • vote on motions.

Minutes need to be taken at all meetings, signed by the chairperson – in public if possible – and saved as a record of the association’s activities.

Legal action

Disputes can be resolved at a meeting or through mediation with an independent third party. If the problem isn’t solved, legal action can be taken through the Supreme or Magistrates Court.

Contact CBS Associations and Cooperatives



131 882

In person

91 Grenfell St


GPO Box 1719
Adelaide SA 5001

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Page last updated 21 November 2017

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Attorney-General's Department
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