Proposed new Constitution for the University of Melbourne
Graduate Student Association (GSA) 

Issued by Madeleine Johnson
2019–2020 GSA General Secretary

Over the last few months, GSA Council has been working on amending the GSA Constitution to ensure we are fully compliant with the Associations Incorporation Reform Act (2012), and to address feedback received from graduates about previous proposals in 2018.

GSA published the Draft Proposed Constitution (2020) on our website from Monday 16 March 2020 to the 30 April 2020 for feedback and comments. GSA also hosted an online Constitutional Change Forum on Thursday 16 April 2020 with our GSA Council members to seek further information on the changes and reasons for the proposed constitutional changes.

Several stakeholders were also consulted to provide feedback via emails and face-to-face interviews. GSA received a range of constructive and positive feedback during this phase. The information gathered supported GSA to incorporate the comments and finalise the Proposed Constitution Final Document to be voted upon by University of Melbourne graduate students at the AGM & Special General Meeting, to be held on Friday 5 June 2020. Grad Groups and graduate representatives were also consulted directly by Council members.

We have heard loud and clear that GSA should be a student-led organisation and are taking additional measures to increase participation of graduate students in the management of GSA.

Some highlights of this proposed constitution include:
  1. The purpose and values of GSA have not changed, but our aims and objectives are articulated more clearly. They have been strengthened to ensure we advocate for the graduates – who are at the heart of our organisation.
  2. Membership – all graduates will automatically become members of GSA at the time of enrolment (through an opt-in process). This ensures GSA can reach out to the wider group of our cohort and ensure the SSAF funding is expended appropriately to meet all your needs.
  3. As a progressive organisation that supports gender equality, and aligning with the Victorian Gender Equality Act (2020), we ensure that at least 50 per cent of GSA Board members must be women.
  4. Defines and strengthens the role of the GSA Board – 8 members, all students, elected by graduates. They will have the overall responsibility for the governance and all legal obligations for ensuring a sustainable and viable GSA.
  5. Introduction of a Representative Council of up to 15 members: the GSA Board will establish, by regulation, a subcommittee to be known as the Representative Council. The Representative Council does not have governance duties; its purpose is to advise the GSA Board and advocate on behalf of graduates and the portfolios they represent. They will be directly elected to their portfolios by the members of GSA.
  6. Introduction of a Faculty Council – a group of 20 faculty-elected students, who advise GSA about our programs and representative issues, ensuring faculty-specific feedback is heard. Each faculty will nominate and elect their representatives to ensure we have the representation of domestic, international, coursework and research graduates advising our GSA Board on key faculty-related issues.
  7. Strengthened discipline procedure and grievance procedures, incorporating an independent appeal external process to ensure we have fair and equitable mechanisms to address concerns and disputes in a timely manner.
  8. Membership delegated the responsibility to set honorarium at each AGM to ensure members have a vote to determine how the funds are expended in relation to elected graduates’ remuneration.

Summary of changes (PDF)

Read current Constitution Read proposed Constitution (May 2020)

How the proposed structure looks

Proposed structure: Roles and responsibilities (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the proposed Constitution

How you can now support us to adopt this constitution

If you are an enrolled graduate please register to attend our AGM and Special General Meeting, to be held on Friday 5 June 2020.

GSA’s Annual General Meeting (2020)