Two or more registered organisations can apply to us to merge or join together (‘amalgamate’) into one. If we approve the application, the organisations hold a vote for their members.
Step 1. Organisations apply to amalgamate
The merger can be between 2 or more unions, or 2 or more employer associations.
The organisations need to give us:
- a joint application in writing
- resolutions from each Committee of Management in favour
- a plan for the amalgamation.
The plan must have enough detail so that members can make an informed decision about the merger.
Step 2. Australian Electoral Commission holds a vote
If we approve the application, the next step is a vote. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) organises this for the members of the union or association. This is often by secret postal ballot.
The ballot sent by the AEC also contains the plan for amalgamation and any statements for or against the merge.
The ROs may also:
- send us yes or no statements about the merger
- apply for variations to the type of ballot.
These variations include:
- an exemption where only members of the smaller registered organisation vote
- a Community of Interest Declaration that lowers the number of votes to be cast in favour.
Step 3. We set the date of the merger
The AEC gives us the result of the vote.
If the vote approved the merger, we then consult with the registered organisations and set an ‘amalgamation day’.
On that day:
- all but one of the organisations are de-registered
- the eligibility rules of the groups merge
- the name of the RO may change
- other planned rule changes occur
- members of any de-registered organisations become members of the new joint organisation
- all assets and liabilities of de-registered organisations belong to the new organisation
- all pending proceedings involving de-registering organisations now involve the amalgamated organisation.
Amalgamated organisations must take steps to ensure that the new joint association works. The Federal Court of Australia can resolve issues if they arise.