You can get into a lot of trouble in 300 words
Michael Teys Blog
23 August 2016
As new rules about strata meetings drag us inevitably to less personal
contact; we will soon have a provision for motions to be supported by
explanatory notes which are not to exceed 300 words.
This is the print equivalent of speaking to a motion. It gives voice to
an idea proposed as a motion for those who will vote by post, telephone
or electronic means; all of which are new to strata meetings in New
But there are some important differences. While a speech is fleeting,
the written word lasts forever. A speech has context, and a note has
none. A speech has nuance and a speech can be stopped or altered
mid-course if it’s off track.
The lessons from north of the border, where this practice has prevailed
for many years, is that inevitably some explanatory notes will descend
into a rant. Some will inflame and incite and, most damaging of all,
some will provoke a written response that entrenches opposing positions.
In fact the Australian Financial Review notes that investors are on the
lookout for signs of disorder in meeting papers and minutes. It could
be that eager sellers might find themselves losing a sale because of
some passive-aggressive sniping in their explanatory notes.
Explanatory notes will throw up special challenges to strata managers;
they’ll be dammed if they publish and dammed if they don’t. Publishing
defamatory material can make you guilty of the defamation as if you
made the statement yourself.
Everything comes at a price. The price of more ways to participate in
meetings is the explanatory note. Let’s see if it’s worth it.
P.S. This post is a safe 299 words, counting the title, in case my more
mischievous readers are looking for a laugh.
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