APRA and AMCOS announce changes to members' voting entitlements in Board elections and AGMs

Thursday, 13 Dec 2018

You may not be aware, but if you’re a member of APRA or AMCOS and you receive at least one distribution every couple of years, you have the right to vote in the election of directors to the APRA and/or AMCOS Boards and at AGMs each year.  This is an important right that comes with being an active member of an association like APRA or AMCOS.  

APRA and AMCOS held their annual general meetings (AGMs) on 21 November, where members passed special resolutions to amend the associations’ Constitutions as they relate to members’ voting entitlements at future AGMs and Board elections. Jenny Morris, APRA member and Chair of the Board, said “the APRA Board hopes this change will encourage more members who have lower annual earnings to have their say in the Board election and AGM process. Their single vote will now carry more weight than it used to, compared with higher earning members.”

Jenny added “it’s your music and it’s your APRA. If you’re eligible to vote, you should use it to elect the Members you want to represent you on the APRA Board, who make decisions about your royalties and your rights. I encourage you to get involved and make your vote count.”

What’s changed?

Previously, the Constitution said that every APRA or AMCOS member who has received any earnings at all over the previous two financial years is entitled to cast one vote in Board elections and at AGMs. Members were then allocated one additional vote for every $500 “block” of earnings they have received over the last financial year.  

At the AGMs on 21 November, APRA and AMCOS members approved a change which means that rather than allocating members an additional vote for every $500 “block” of earnings, an additional vote will only be allocated for every $2,500 “block” of earnings received over the last financial year.

Why make the change?

Member voting entitlements have been weighted based on earnings since 1968, so 50 years have passed since this principle was first introduced. $500 in 1968 was comparatively worth a lot more than $500 in 2018. For that reason, the APRA and AMCOS Boards and Management felt it was time to review the amount required for each additional vote.

In addition, it has been made clear to the APRA Board and Management that many lower earning members strongly believed that the $500 threshold had created a “vote value” shift that favoured high earning members at the expense of members who receive less than $500 in earnings each year. APRA and AMCOS have always prided themselves on taking into account member concerns and feedback and this change is an attempt to address the concerns raised in a sensible and proportionate manner.

How will the change benefit members?

The change will mean that in future, a member’s single vote will carry up to five times more weight, compared with higher earning members, than it used to. The APRA and AMCOS Boards hope that the change will encourage more members (particularly members with lower annual earnings) to participate in the Board elections and AGM process.

For example, a member who earns $2,400 in a financial year currently receives 5 votes (one vote for being an earning member and 4 votes for each additional “$500 block”) whereas in the future that member would only receive 1 vote.

A member who receives $25 in earnings in the previous financial year will still only receive 1 vote – but they now have the same voting entitlement as any other member who receives up to $2,500 in earnings that year.  In this sense, the change will have a significant democratising effect.

The change will have little relative effect on members who currently earn over $2,500 in earnings per annum because the proportionate reduction in votes for this “high earning” category of member will be the same for all members in that category.

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