Buddies has an open and democratic structure which allows newcomers to move freely into the organisation and to feel part of its operation right from the beginning.
From its inception in early 2002 and right through until mid-2015, the group had always operated informally. There was no formal structure and no formal rules or office bearers. Its unique informality was highly valued throughout this period and considered to be one of its major strengths.
The group however decided to incorporate in 2015 and to establish Buddies as a legal entity, due to the increased scope and extent of activities being undertaken and the perceived increase in liability of members. Buddies is now a public company limited by guarantee, under the Corporations Act. This has enabled Buddies to:
• open a company bank account
• obtain public liability insurance cover
• access a wider range of public facilities for fundraising and community awareness activities
• participate in a wider range of community events
• register as a charitable not-for-profit organisation
Buddies’ aims are broad based and clearly stated on the website homepage, in its publicity flyer, in the welcome email sent out to all new members and at the foot of the fortnightly Bulletin.
Becoming a member of Buddies requires completion of a membership form and payment of a nominal annual membership of $10 (due 1 July), which is used to cover administration costs of Buddies Ltd. Members are eligible to vote at AGMs and other special general meetings. However, anyone can participate in Buddies activities and take part in the monthly meetings, to which a guest speaker is normally invited.
The agenda for the ‘business’ part of monthly meetings is circulated to members via email in the week prior to the meeting and only items forwarded in time to the Chair of the Board of Directors will normally be considered at the meeting. The meeting is chaired by a member of the Buddies’ Board of Directors and reports may be given by individual Buddies members or sub-groups. Minutes are recorded at each meeting.
There are various sub groups – Learn English Holiday, education and community awareness, fundraising, political advocacy, and finance – and all Buddies members are invited to participate in a group relating to their own areas of interest.
Buddies produces a comprehensive fortnightly email Bulletin with more than 1100 people on its mailing list and also maintains its own extensive website. Minutes of meetings are published on the website and a link can be found in the Bulletin subsequent to each meeting.
CURRENT DIRECTORS (Revised December 2019)