Voting at General Meetings

Disclosure of interest

The owner of a community lot is entitled to attend general meetings of the corporation, and is entitled to vote if there are no outstanding amounts payable to the corporation in respect of the lot [ss 84(1), (14)]. Lot owners generally have one vote [s 87(1)(a)]. However if the scheme is for commercial purposes this may be varied within the by-laws [s 87(1)(b)].

Where there is more than one owner of a lot and one of them has not been formally appointed to vote on behalf of all the owners (see Proxy voting where this more than one owner of a lot), then [s 84(7)]:

  • if only one of the owners attends a meeting, the vote is exercisable by that person
  • if two or more of the owners attend a meeting, the vote is exercisable by one of them in accordance with an agreement between all the owners attending the meeting but, if there is no such agreement, none of them is entitled to vote.

The Act limits the voting power of the developer of a community scheme who owns one or more community lots. The developer is the person who was the registered proprietor of the land that now comprises the community parcel immediately before the lodgement of the plan of community division [s 3(1)]. The number of votes cast by the developer, and anyone ‘associated’ with the developer according to s 4(2), may not exceed the total of votes cast by other community corporation members [s 87(3)]. This is designed to prevent developers changing scheme descriptions and development contracts.

The owner of a development lot is not entitled to attend or to vote at general meetings in their capacity as the owner of that lot [s 84(2)].

A lot owner who attends and is entitled to vote (other than as a nominee) at a meeting of a community corporation and who has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any matter to be voted on at the meeting must disclose the nature of the interest to the members present at the meeting before the vote is taken [s 85(2a)(a)]. Failure to do so is an offence with a maximum penalty of $15 000.

Similarly, anyone who presides at a meeting of a community corporation and who has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any matter to be voted on at the meeting must disclose the nature of the interest to the members present at the meeting before the vote is taken [s 85(2a)(b)]. Failure to do so is an offence with a maximum penalty of $15 000.

An owner of a community lot is not obliged to disclose an interest held in common with all of the owners of the community lots [s 85(2b)].

Absentee votes

A lot owner may exercise an absentee vote by giving the secretary of the corporation written notice of the proposed vote at least six hours before the meeting [s 84(11)].

Written ballots

A lot owner attending a meeting of the corporation may demand a written ballot on any question [s 84(12)]. A person attending a meeting via remote communication such as telephone [s 83(6a), reg 16A(3)] may participate in a written ballot if it is provided for in the corporation’s by-laws, or if approved and arranged by the secretary. If the situation of a written ballot is not covered in the by-laws or arrangements this may prevent someone attending via remote communication from participating in a written ballot. However, the person presiding at a meeting has the power to manage a written ballot as they think fit [s 84(13)].

Proxy voting

A copy of each proxy nomination and any general power of attorney appointing a proxy applying in relation to a meeting must be made available by the secretary of the corporation (or, in the case of a nomination relating to the first statutory general meeting, the person initially presiding at the meeting) for inspection by persons attending the meeting before any matter is voted on at the meeting [s 85(10a)]. Failure to do so is an offence with a maximum penalty of $500.

A member may appoint another person to vote on their behalf [s 84(3)]. Even if a proxy nomination has been made, a member may attend and vote at meetings on his or her own behalf [s 84(5)(g)].

A proxy nomination is effective for a period of 12 months or such lesser period as may be specified in the written notice of nomination [s 84(5)(f)]. However, the nomination may be revoked earlier at any time by the lot holder, by giving written notice to the secretary; any contract or agreement purporting to prevent revocation is unenforceable [s 84(5)(e)].

In addition, if the corporation's manager, or an employee of the manager, is nominated as a proxy, the nomination ceases to have effect on the person ceasing to be the corporation's manager or an employee of the manager [s 84(6a)].

A member may specify conditions on the proxy nomination [s 84(5)(c)], for example, how the proxy is to vote on certain matters.

The nomination of a person as a proxy of a member must [s 84(5)]:

  • be sent in writing to the secretary of the corporation (except for the first statutory general meeting, when written notice must be given to the person initially presiding at the meeting), and
  • specify whether the nominated person is nominated to attend and vote:
    • at all meetings, and in relation to all matters, on behalf of the lot holder, or
    • only at specified meetings, or in relation to specified matters, on behalf of the lot holder
  • if the proxy is required to vote in a particular way on a matter in which the owner has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest (other than an interest that the owner has in common with all the owners of the community lots), specify the nature of the owner's pecuniary interest.

Failure to comply with these requirements will invalidate the nomination [s 84(5a)].

Appointment of a proxy by general power of attorney

If an owner appoints a person as their attorney under the Powers of Attorney and Agency Act 1984 (SA) specifically for the purpose of attending and voting at meetings, or specified meetings, of the community corporation, the appointment is effective for a period of 12 months or such lesser period as may be specified in the power of attorney, unless the power of attorney is revoked earlier [s 85(9a)].

If such a general power of attorney appoints a body corporate manager as the owner’s proxy, a copy of the instrument of appointment must be given to the secretary of the corporation before the meeting, or the first of the meetings, to which it relates [s 85(9b)].

Proxy voting where there is more than one owner of a lot

Where there is more than one owner of a lot, a person (who may, but need not, be one of the owners) may be nominated by all of the owners to vote on their behalf [s 84(4)].

The owners may specify conditions in relation to the nomination [s 84(6)(ba)].

The nomination of a person as a proxy of multiple owners must [s 84(6)]:

  • be made by written notice to the secretary of the corporation by all of the owners of the lot
  • specify the meeting or meetings to which it relates
  • if a specified condition requires the nominated person to vote in a particular way in relation to a matter in which an owner has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest (other than an interest that the owner has in common with all the owners of the community lots), specify the nature of the owner's pecuniary interest.

The nomination may be revoked at any time by one of the owners by written notice to the secretary [s 84(6)(c)].

If the corporation's manager, or an employee of the manager, is nominated as a proxy, the nomination ceases to have effect on the person ceasing to be the corporation's manager or an employee of the manager [s 84(6a)].

Disclosure of interest by a proxy
declaration of a member's interest

If the nomination declares a lot owner’s pecuniary interest in a matter (because the proxy is required to vote in a particular way in relation to the matter and the member has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in the matter [see above: s 84(5)(d); s 84(6)(bb)]), then the proxy must declare the member's interest before the vote is taken [s 85(1)(b)]. Failure to declare the member's interest is an offence with a maximum penalty of $15 000.

declaration of a proxy's interest to the meeting

Similarly, if the proxy has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any matter to be voted on at the meeting, they must disclose the nature of the interest to the members present at the meeting before the vote is taken [s 85(1)(a)(ii)]. Failure to do so is an offence with a maximum penalty of $15 000.

declaration of a proxy's interest to the person who nominated them

If a proxy has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any matter to be voted on at a meeting, they must, if it is practicable to do so, disclose the nature of the interest to the person who nominated them before the vote is taken. If this is not practicable, they must disclose the nature of the interest to the person who nominated them as soon as practicable after the vote is taken. Failure to do so is an offence with a maximum penalty of $15 000. [s 85(1)(a)(i)]

Voting at General Meetings  :  Last Revised: Fri Apr 4th 2014
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