Draft Constitution 2019 FAQs

Some frequently asked questions with answers explaining the major aspects of the proposed constitution can be found below. Click on the question to view a detailed answer.

What has been dropped from the 2018 proposal?

Models (compulsion to choose)

In the constitution proposed in December 2018 there was a compulsion for sub-Branches to choose a new structure (Model A or Model B). While there is capacity within this new document for sub-Branches to incorporate, as happens in other State Branches and in the current constitution, there is no compulsion to do so. Each sub-Branch will have the ability to choose the structure which that is right for them, including incorporating or remaining unincorporated with the Trustee/Executive committee model.


Regional Representatives 

The proposal to reduce the number of District Councils and replace them with a Regional Representative has been removed from the proposed constitution. The number and structure of District Councils will remain the same as the current constitution.

However, there will be a newly constituted body of District Council Presidents which will have enhanced responsibilities around the calling of an Extraordinary State Congress, meeting with the Board and approving sub-Branch motions for inclusion on the agenda of Annual State Congress.


Executive Director 

It was clear from the feedback results of the SVA survey that members and sub-Branches did not understand the need for or function of an Executive Director. As a result, the position has been removed from the new constitution and there is no intention to raise this issue in the foreseeable future.


75% of delegates needed to change the Constitution 

The December 2018 constitution proposed a change to the threshold of delegates at Congress needed to amend the constitution from 66% to 75%. The proposal has been wound back in the new constitution to require a motion to be agreed by 66% of delegates present and voting at Congress to amend the constitution.

What's new in the 2019 draft constitution?

Changes as a result of the RSL Act 2018 

There are a number of areas of the RSL NSW Act 2018 which are not reflected in our current Constitution. As the Act is law, it is the primary document for the governance of the League
in NSW. Our current constitution must be amended to reflect the language and content of the Act. Some areas of change will be: referring to State Council as the Board, imposing express governance obligations on the Board, mandating that the Board comprise a maximum of 10 Directors, requiring the appointment of at least one independent director, and giving each Service Member a vote to elect the 8 (or 9) elected Directors (one of which being the President).



The body known as State Council is now the Board of RSL NSW, with State Councillors now being referred to as Directors. Whereas State Councillors were elected to represent either the Metropolitan, Southern Country or Northern Country regions, Directors will represent the whole of the League in NSW.



The RSL NSW Act 2018 gives all Service Members the right to directly elect the President and up to seven other Service Members to the Board of RSL NSW. This is opposed to having sub-Branches elect the President, Treasurer and regional State Councillors (6 Metro, 3 North and 3 South).



The Act also states that the Board must appoint at least one, but no more than two, Independent Directors who are not Service Members of the RSL. The Independent Directors must be approved by the District Presidents’ Council prior to appointment.



The Board will be composed of no fewer than seven and no more than ten members. Up to two of those positions will be for Independent Directors. The President will be directly elected by Service members and at least one other of the Directors must have tertiary qualifications in accounting, finance or economics and demonstrate recent relevant practical experience, training or skills in one of these professions.


Term of office

In order to ensure effective and renewed leadership by the Board, a Director cannot hold office as a State Councillor or Director for a cumulative period of more than nine years (either continuously or in separate periods) after the first date of their election as a State Councillor or Director. A previous Director can then renominate for a position on the Board after an absence of five years.


District Presidents’ Council and ability to call an EGM to remove the Board

In keeping with feedback to increase the responsibility of District Councils, the new constitution creates the District Presidents’ Council and vests certain governance oversight powers in that body. It will be the body which will, at first instance, deal with all sub-Branch matters, including disputes, and will consider sub-Branch motions for Congress. The District Presidents’ Council will have the power to compel the Board to call an Extraordinary General Meeting for the purposes of appointing or removing a Director or amending the constitution and will be required to approve the appointment of Independent Directors chosen by the Board.


One member, one vote 

The RSL NSW Act 2018 enfranchises all Service Members in the process of electing Service Members to the Board of RSL NSW. Under the current constitution this right resides with compliant sub-Branches. This change in voting right does not extend to the right to vote to change the constitution. Changes to the constitution are still done by resolution of sub- Branch and DC delegates to State Congress.


Ability for sub-Branches to Incorporate 

The December 2018 constitution mandated that sub-Branches had to choose between incorporating or joining with RSL NSW. The proposed constitution does not mandate such a change; however, it does allow for incorporation of those sub-Branches that are able to transition to an incorporated structure. It also allows for sub-Branches to continue with the current unincorporated model.


Service and Affiliate Members 

The eligibility criteria to become a Service Member has been amended to exclude the provision in the current constitution around an Officer or Trainer of Cadets. This provision has been moved into the Affiliate Member eligibility criteria. This will not affect any person who has currently been admitted as a Service Member under the current eligibility criteria.


Auxiliary Members 

The current constitution allows for Service and Affiliate Members (Life Members and Life Subscribers are contained within the term Service Member). The proposed constitution recognises a third type of membership for members of RSL Auxiliaries. There has been no recognition in our constitution of the significant contribution of auxiliary members and this inclusion brings them into our organisation. This does not mean that sub-Branches have to include Auxiliary members in sub-Branch meetings however it does recognise the role of auxiliaries and their members in our structure.


Replacing By-Laws and Regulations with SOPs 

With the approval of the proposed constitution, all current By-Laws and Regulations will be repealed in favour of a comprehensive suite of Standard Operating Procedures. These SOPs will be the practical guides to which all RSL NSW entities will be able to refer in order to manage their day-to-day activities.

What remains the same as the current constitution?

Trustees/Executive Sub-Branch structure

The proposed constitution gives sub-Branches the flexibility to choose the appropriate governance structure that is right for them. This could be either remaining with the current unincorporated model with an Executive Committee and Trustees, incorporating or becoming a Chapter of another sub-Branch.



Chapters will remain an option for sub-Branches that can no longer meet the constitutional requirements to remain a sub-Branch. A Chapter does not have a right to representation at Congress other than through the parent sub-Branch.


Congress – delegates

State Congress will remain in its current format in the proposed constitution except that the formal meeting component of each Congress in which votes are taken will be known as the Annual General Meeting of RSL NSW. Each compliant sub-Branch and DC will be entitled to send a delegate (and alternate non-voting delegate) to Congress to exercise a vote on behalf of the sub-Branch or DC respectively at the AGM. Agenda items will come from the Board, District Councils and sub-Branches, and Delegates will be the body with the authority to amend the constitution.


Changing the Constitution

Motions to amend the RSL NSW constitution will still be determined by Delegates at the AGM (State Congress). Unlike the December 2018 constitution, the threshold to approve a constitutional amendment will remain at 66% of delegates present and voting at the AGM. One member, one vote does not impact the voting process for motions to State Congress as it is confined to electing Service Members to the Board of RSL NSW.


District Councils

The current number and structure of District Councils will remain the same in the proposed constitution. Each compliant sub-Branch will be entitled to have a delegate and an alternate delegate to attend DC meetings and each DC will be able to send a delegate and alternate to State Congress. The new constitution will create and formalise the role of a District Presidents’ Council – a body comprising each DC President – as a means of liaising directly with the Board and approving motions to State Congress. This forum will also have the power to compel the Board to call an Extraordinary General Meeting, and also has the power to join with the Board to remove a Director.


Powers of the Board

The Board of RSL NSW will retain the same powers under the proposed constitution as it has under the existing constitution. There has been an effort in the new constitution to clearly define the powers of the Board so as to make the language of the current constitution less ambiguous, however there are no new powers given as a result of this change in language.


Sub-Branch assets

There was much anxiety generated by the December 2018 constitution and what it would mean for sub-Branch funds. The proposed constitution allows sub-Branches to keep control of their assets, both property and cash, as long as they use those assets in line with our charitable purpose and in keeping with the ACNC charities guidelines (as has always been the case).

Constitution Process
Why is RSL NSW giving the District Council Presidents the constitution before sub- Branches?

In line with the consensus of District Council Leaders Forum in April, District Councils should be the first point of contact for sub-Branches for information and answers to questions, rather than ANZAC House.

Since that forum, there has already been a shift back towards this model of communication. District Councils have been making a great effort to stay informed and help to share information across the League more effectively than State Branch can on its own.

At the April forum, seven District Presidents were nominated by their peers to form a committee to consult on the new Constitution.

The DC 7 has advised the Board on the most appropriate way to distribute the document and collate feedback. In their opinion, each District should be given the document one week prior to a general release to all sub-Branches. This is to allow the District Council executive to become familiar with the document so they can guide the sub-Branches through the feedback process.

As such, it is anticipated that the process will be:

  1. Email of draft constitution and supporting documents sent to all District Councils
  2. District Councils to familiarise themselves with the content
  3. District Councils should circulate the document to their constituent sub-Branches one week after they have received it, or as soon as they are comfortable assisting sub-Branches to work through it. Please be aware that RSL NSW will send a copy of the draft Constitution to all sub-Branches on Monday 17 June to ensure it is received by all.
  4. After this, District Councils and sub-Branches should meet to discuss the content and provide feedback
  5. Prior to 15 July, each DC should collate the feedback from their sub-Branches and submit the details to State Branch via the feedback template that will be provided
  6. Feedback will be published on the RSL NSW website

The final amended Constitution will be voted on at the RSL NSW Congress at the end of October.

Wouldn’t it be fairer if you just sent the constitution and the feedback form to all sub- Branches?

All sub-Branches will receive the draft Constitution during June. In line with the consensus of District Council leaders at the Forum in early April, District Councils, as the official channel, should be a sub-Branch’s first point of contact for information and answers to questions, rather than ANZAC House.

I'm from a sub-Branch that supports RSL's reform proposals. My District Council does not agree with my views. How can I be sure that my support will be conveyed to RSL NSW?

In line with the consensus of District Council leaders at the Forum in early April, District Councils, as the official channel, should be a sub-Branch’s first point of contact for information and answers to questions, rather than ANZAC House.

However, sub-Branches can give their feedback directly to RSL NSW if they wish.

If you are planning on sending the constitution and the feedback form to sub-Branches, when is it being sent? Why is there a delay?

All sub-Branches will receive the draft Constitution during June. In line with the consensus of District Council leaders at the Forum in early April, District Councils, as the official channel, should be a sub-Branch’s first point of contact for information and answers to questions, rather than ANZAC House.

My sub-Branch does not use email. How are we expected to receive information and provide feedback?

Any sub-Branch which currently receives postal communications from RSL NSW, will be able to provide feedback via post.

When will the constitution be available to view on the RSL NSW website?

It is anticipated that the constitution will be available for viewing on the RSL NSW website in the week beginning 17 June 2019.

When will we get the new standard operating procedures?

These will be published with the final version of the Constitution to allow sub—Branches to review and consider these before deciding whether to vote in favour of the proposed constitution.