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, or when you alter your rules after incorporation. You should keep a copy for the association’s records.

To help create your new rules, please review the example rules for incorporated associations (PDF 616KB) and the checklist for the proposed rules which forms part of your application.

Changing the rules

Association rules can be changed if the membership agrees by a special resolution or other provisions in the association's registered rules.

Application for registration of alteration to rules (164KB PDF)


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

  • using the principle of the rules (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 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

Dealing with suspected breaches (PDF 285KB) can give you guidance on what matters can be reported to CBS.

Contact CBS Associations and Cooperatives


Phone: 131 882

In person:
91 Grenfell Street

GPO Box 1719
Adelaide SA 5001

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Page last updated 16 December 2019

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