The Clubs Council today voted in favour of requiring clubs to adopt two to sign (co-signed) banking. The requirement will be implemented from September 17th, the beginning of Term 4, although procedural questions over abstentions may mean the motion did not in fact pass.
Lewis Pope, Clubs Council Chair, described two to sign banking as “accepted as best practice” and that it would “ensure better budgeting”. The new requirement will mean that clubs will need two executive members to sign off on any withdrawals and expenditures. Pope, who moved the motion, emphasised that speedy implementation was a priority to avoid risk to student money; saying that “time is a priority due to the importance of the motion”. However, Communications Officer Joel Baker contradicted this explanation, telling Clubs Council that “The reason we are pushing this right now is because the ANUSA Exec were not aware that most clubs did not have two to sign bank accounts.” The motion was originally developed in collaboration with the ANUSA treasurer, Mariah Chang.
The implementation of the policy was originally slated for the beginning of semester 1. Pope told Clubs Council that he had been assured by the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) that clubs could adopt this change with a simple executive motion. He also noted that clubs would likely “leave this for the last minute” and therefore that “the most convenient time is before Bush Week [Week 1 of Semester 2]” compared to before Term 4. Delegate John Pritchley-Evans questioned this, noting that “From past experiences … issues with CBA, whether they are minor or not, … do take time”. Another delegate, Sam Wassman echoed these concerns saying “often when you approach the bank to change things like this, you discover issues from the past which delay the change”. Pope accepted that there was “not much more confirmation that we can give you without being Commbank”. Other clubs who did not bank with CBA were concerned the assurance did not cover them.
The motion comes at a time of discontent among clubs; the treasurer of GenLife recently publicly posted their discontent with delays in responses for grant requests. Baker raised this in speaking for the delayed implementation saying that “after we have spent so long… and excuse my language… fucking you around with the funding system” the executive did not have a right to force this on clubs. Clubs Secretary, Howard Maclean took a similar position, telling delegates that “If you believe that this puts an onerous burden on clubs, you are in the position to say that you need more time”.
James Richardson, delegate for ANU Debating, raised concerns that imposing additional requirements on clubs would result in poor practices. He raised an example of one society having a two to sign account and a one to sign account which due to the inconvenience “just uses cash in hand”. He also noted that clubs could create a two to sign account and then transfer all funds into a one to sign account to use for transfers.
The motion eventually passed with a large number of abstentions. In total, 15 voted for, 12 against with 18 abstentions. The delegate from ANU Psychology Society told Observer that he “had no idea what was going on” and so decided to abstain. At the time, no one questioned the passing of the motion relating to whether the abstention count as no votes; speaking to Observer later the Clubs Secretary Maclean said he would defer his interpretation until he had done research on the matter.
In other news from Clubs Council, a motion moved by former funding officer Zachari Lord passed to increase the cap for capital expenditure grants from $500 to $1000. The delegate from the ANU Apiculture Society said that this would allow him to buy a whole box of bees rather than merely “half a box of bees”.
Joel Baker is Secretary of Observer; neither he nor Eliza Croft contributed to this story.
Want to get involved? You can write articles, photograph, livestream or do web support. We’re also looking for someone to yell “extra!” outside Davey Lodge at 1AM. Apply today!