Navigating Conference Floor

Conference Floor

Conference Floor is a meeting with the purpose of facilitating decision making by the delegates of Queer Collaborations. Motions are submitted to Conference Floor by delegates or caucuses, which are discussed by the rest of the conference during Conference Floor sessions.

 

Standing Orders

The Standing Orders are a set of rules regarding Conference Floor procedure which exist to ensure Conference Floor runs smoothly, and enables participation from everyone who wants to speak.

 

Agenda

The agenda is a list of what is to be discussed during conference floors. This usually include motions that have been submitted, report backs, and any information that needs to be brought to the attention of delegates.

 

Quorum

Quorum is the minimum number of delegates that need to be present for the meeting, and the votes and decisions that occur within it, to be valid. It exists to ensure the any decisions made are representative of the delegates at the conference. Quorum is 25% of the number of delegates who register on the first day. If quorum is lost during the meeting and not regained within half an hour, all decisions made after quorum was lost must be validated by a subsequent conference floor.

 

The Chair

A Chair is elected every session of Conference Floor (and often during caucuses). They are responsible for running the meeting, conducting votes, keeping a speaking list, and ruling on points of order. If a motion relates to a specific axis of oppression (e.g. transphobia) that the chair does not identify with, the Chair will step down for the duration of the motion, and someone from that group will Chair the discussion of that motion. There may be more than one Chair if there is more than one nomination and conference floor is amenable.

 

Secretary

The Secretary is elected at the first Conference Floor. The position can be held by two people if conference floor is amenable. The Secretary takes minutes and drafts agendas for conference floor, and advises correct interpretation of the standing orders during points of order or when the standing orders are ambiguous. The Secretary is also responsible for receiving motions submitted to conference floor, and assisting participants who wish to draft motions. The Chair may also delegate tasks, such as keeping the speaking list, to the Secretary.

 

Speaking List

Speaking lists are kept during formal meetings at QC, including Conference Floor, caucuses and workshops. A speaking list is a list of people who have indicated they’d like to speak to the issue being discussed. To indicated you’d like to speak, you can raise your hand or indicate in some other way to the person keeping the speaking list (generally the Chair or the Secretary) and they’ll put your name on the list. When it is a person’s turn to speak, only they are allowed to speak, and they cannot be interrupted. Speaking lists are kept to ensure that everyone who wants to has a chance to speak, and that everyone isn’t talking over each other.

 

Voting

There are three options when voting: for, against and abstain. An abstention doesn’t count as for or against- you may neither disagree or agree with the motion, be unable to make up your mind, or not feel well informed enough to make a decision. Votes on conference floor need a simple majority to pass. That is, half the total number of votes plus one (e.g. if there are 10 votes in total, 6 ‘for’ votes are needed for the motion to pass).

 

Motions

Motions are formal proposals which are discussed and then voted on during Conference Floor. Motions can either pass (majority ‘for’ the motion) or lapse/ fail (majority against and/ or abstain).

Substantive Motions

-> Submitted to secretary

-> Needs a mover and shaker

-> Voted on individually or en bloc (at the same time as other motions)

-> Can vote for, against or abstain

Substantive motions are the main motions that conference floor discussion is centred around. They will often support particular policies, for example, that a specific university support a queer homelessness initiative by that university’s queer collective. Substantive motions may also condemn a policy or an institution’s actions/ lack thereof, for example, condemning the federal government removing funding from the Safe Schools Program. Substantive motions may also revolve around changing how QC should be run in the future.

“Queer Collaborations 2017 supports funding the Safe Schools Program in primary schools”

Mover: Alex

Shaker: Adam

 

Foreshadowed Motion

-> Made on conference floor

-> Needs a mover and shaker

-> Voted on before substantive motion (starting with the most recent foreshadowed motion)

-> Can vote for, against or abstain

A foreshadowed motioned is an alternative to a substantive motion someone disagrees with. More than one foreshadowed motion can be proposed. If a foreshadowed motion passes, the substantive motion lapses (it is not voted on + does not pass).

“Queer Collaborations 2017 supports funding the Safe Schools Program in high schools”

Mover: Patrick

Shaker: Rowan

 

Amendments

-> Made on conference floor

-> Mover and shaker (or amendment will lapse)

-> Either mover and shaker of original motion accept amendment, or amendment goes to a vote (starting with the most recent amendment proposed)

-> Can vote for, against or abstain

An amendment can be proposed to change a minor part of a substantive motion. If both the mover and shaker accept the amendment, it will be incorporated into the substantive motion. If it is rejected by the mover and shaker of the substantive motion, the amendment will be discussed and voted on before the substantive motion.

“Queer Collaborations 2017 supports funding the Safe Schools Program in primary schools and high schools”

Mover: Niamh

Shaker: Juno

 

Procedural Motions

-> Made on Conference Floor

-> Only need a mover

-> Must be voted on immediately

-> No abstentions

Procedural motions are motions which relate to meeting procedure, and can be proposed at anytime. They can include motions to introduce a time limit for speakers, cut the speaking list or close the speaking list, vote immediately on the motion/s being discussed, that the meeting takes a 5 minute break, or that the conference for be extended for a certain amount of time.

 

Hand signals

There are a number of hand signals which can be used to communicate over conference floor. Hang signals are prioritised over the speaking list, however hand signals should not be used as an opportunity to skip the speaking list to speak on a substantive motion.

Amendment

Used when you wish to make an amendment to a currently discussed motion, as described above.

 

Point of Clarification

Used when you’re unsure what a motion or something in a motion means. A point of clarification can be used at any point during conference floor, however a point of clarification must be a question, it is not a means for expressing your opinion.

Point of Order

A point of order brings attention to breaches of procedure or the standing orders (e.g. the current speaker speaking out of turn), so the Chair and or/ Secretary can decide what to do.

Procedural Motion

Procedural motions affect meeting procedure, they are generally used to call a vote when there is circular discussion or clear division.

 

Further Information

Meeting procedure can be difficult to get the hang of at first- if you’d like more information you can look at the standing orders, or feel free to ask the secretary/s or someone from the organising committee if you have any questions.