Active member: a member who maintains a relationship with a co-operative in accordance with the cooperative’s rules.

Administrator: qualified professional appointed to manage the affairs of a co-operative in place of the board either through voluntary administration process or appointed by the Registrar.

Annual general Meeting (AGM): yearly event where the co-operative’s leaders report to the members on the previous year’s activities and give details of their plans for the upcoming year.

Auditor: person qualified to express an opinion giving reasonable assurance that financial statements are free from material error.

Australian Business Number (ABN): a unique 11 digit identifier that makes it easier for businesses and all levels of government to interact.

Ballot paper: electronic or paper record of vote.

Board: the board of directors of a co-operative, including a person or committee exercising a power of the board delegated to them under the rules of the co-operative.

Books: include a register, minutes, any other record of information, financial reports and documents.

Compromises and arrangements: deals between different parties where each party gives up part of their demand.

Conversion: change of co-operative to a different type of co-operative.

Co-operative capital unit (CCU): a financial instrument used as a means of fundraising for cooperatives to inject funds from external sources.

Co-operative group: co-operative with membership of at least 2 other co-operatives or entities qualified to be members.

Co-operative principles and values: the shared core principles and values of co-operatives last updated by the International Co-operatives Alliance in 1995.

Debentures: documents that either create or acknowledge an unsecured debt.

Demutualisation: changing a co-operative to a company.

Director (of a co-operative): a person who occupies or acts in the position of a member of the board of a co-operative, whether or not the person is called a director and whether or not the person is validly appointed or properly authorised to act in the position; and a person under whose directions or instructions the directors or members of the board of the co-operative are accustomed to act.

Fringe Benefits tax (FBT): a tax payable for a benefit provided in respect of employment.

Goods and services tax (GST): a tax on consumption that is charged on the supply of both goods and services.

Grants: government or philanthropic financial contributions, usually tied to the performance of an action.

Inactive member: a member who has not been an active member of a co-operative or has whereabouts unknown for three years (or less, if stated in the rules).

International Co-operative alliance: independent non-governmental organisation which unites, represents and serves co-operative organisations world-wide.

Jurisdiction: state or territory in which a co-operative is registered.

Large co-operative: not a small co-operative. See small co-operative.

Model rules: standard constitutions designed for co-operatives and associations.

Mutualisation: changing a company to a co-operative.

Ordinary resolution: a resolution passed by members by a simple majority vote.

Participating co-operative: a body that is registered and incorporated under, and is subject to, a corresponding co-operatives law of another jurisdiction.

Postal ballot: a convenient method for voting on a resolution, where members are widespread or have difficulty attending a meeting.

Pre-registration contracts: contracts entered into before an entity is registered.

Primary activity: main activity of a co-operative as per its rules.

Proposed rules: a co-operative’s rules that have not yet been registered.

Registrar: officer who is to exercise functions as the Registrar of Co-operatives in a state or territory. Refer to Appendix A for contact details.

Requisition: request by members to hold a meeting.

Resolution: decision by vote. Refer to ordinary and special resolutions.

Review: a small co-operative may choose to have financial reports reviewed rather than audited.

Secretary: person appointed by the directors who will usually be responsible for calling meetings, keeping minutes and documents, maintaining registers and reporting to the government.

Share: a share is issued to a member. It is personal property and may be bought at a premium but not a discount.

Small co-operative: generally a co-operative which doesn’t raise funds from the public issue of securities, and satisfies two of the following in the previous financial year: its consolidated revenue was less than $8 million, the value of its consolidated gross assets and entities was less than $4 million, and it had fewer than 30 employees.

Special postal ballot: postal ballot conducted to pass a special resolution.

Special resolution: resolution which requires at least 75% support of formal votes.

Surplus of a co-operative: excess of income over expenditure after making adequate allowance for taxation expense, depreciation and for future contingencies.

The statement of Co-operative Identity: definition, values and principles adopted by the International Co-operative Alliance that define and guide co-operatives worldwide.

Transfer of engagement: form of merger where one entity transfers its members and property to another.

Winding up: process by which a co-operative is brought to an end.

Abbreviations used

ABN: Australian Business Number

CCU: Co-operative capital unit

CNL: Co-operatives National Law

CNR: Co-operatives National Regulations

FBT: Fringe Benefits Tax

GST: Goods and Services Tax

Law: Co-operatives National Law

PAYG: Pay As You Go tax

PC: Participating co-operative

Co-operative Values