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Public Notice
Published Date 25 Feb 2019


The Australian Academy of Science


Approval of Amendments to the Bye-Laws


Changes to the Academy’s Bye-Laws were approved by more than three-fourths of the Academy’s Fellows voting in an all-Fellows ballot in November 2017, for which due notice had been given.


On 29 October 2018, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Bye-Laws, His Excellency the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia approved the changes.


The changes are to the category of Special Election Fellows of the Academy. The changes will expand the criteria for Special Election to include high-profile industry leaders, technological innovators and entrepreneurs, and will allow the Academy to increase the number of specially elected Fellows each year from one to ‘up to four’.


The amendments to the Bye-laws involve Chapter II: MEMBERSHIP, Section 10: Special Election Fellows, as follows:

1. To remove the words:

10. “From time to time the Council may deem it desirable that the Academy should elect to Fellowship a person who has rendered conspicuous service to the cause of science or whose election would be of signal benefit to the Academy and to the advancement of science”.


2.  To add the words:


10. “Each year the Council may deem it desirable that the Academy elect to Fellowship up to four persons, whose election would expand the diversity of the Fellowship and be of signal benefit to the Academy and to the advancement of science.


Specially elected Fellows will have: rendered conspicuous service to the cause of science, OR demonstrated outstanding innovation or entrepreneurial spirit through the translation of the results of scientific research that have led to global impact.”


3.  To amend subparagraph (a) of Section 10 to remove the words “a person who in its opinion is” to replace with the words “up to four persons who in its opinion are”. As a result, subparagraph (a) of Section 10 will then read:


10.a “at a meeting to be held as soon as practicable after the first day of March in each year the Council may nominate for special election as a Fellow up to four persons who in its opinion are within the terms of the preamble to this Section; but no such nomination shall be made unless upon a ballot of the members of the Council at least nine votes have been cast in favour of the nomination being made. In determining the nomination, Council may interview the proposer of the person for nomination for special election”


4. To delete subparagraph (b) of Section 10 (and change the subsequent sub paragraph lettering):


10.b “normally not more than one person shall be specially elected each year with the exception of milestone anniversary years (generally every 25 years) for the Academy in which up to three persons may be specially elected.”


The full version of the revised Academy Bye-Laws can be obtained on the Academy’s website by selecting the following link - https://www.science.org.au/about-us/governance/bye-laws-and-standing-orders  


Witness under my hand    29 October 2018


Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd)





Royal Charter of the Australian Academy of Science


1.       On 16 February 1954, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second by Royal Charter (here called ‘The Original Charter’) constituted a Body Corporate and Politic by the name of the ‘Australian Academy of Science’ (‘The Academy’).

2.       On 8 December 1987, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, assigned to the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, all powers and functions in respect of the issuing of Letters Patent:

a)      Granting a Supplemental Charter to anyone in the Commonwealth of Australia to whom a Charter of Incorporation had been granted; or

b)      Revoking, amending or adding to any charter of incorporation or Supplemental Charter granted to anyone in the Commonwealth of Australia.

3.       On 18 September 2003, The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia granted a Supplemental Royal Charter (here called the Supplemental Royal Charter) amending the Original Charter on the representation and request of the Academy.

4.       Bye clause 13 of the Supplemental Royal Charter provides:


“A majority of not less than three-fourths of the Fellows present in person or by proxy and voting at a general meeting of the Fellows of the Academy specially called for the purpose of which due notice has been given or the like majority of the Fellows voting by means of a ballot as hereinafter provided shall have power from time to time to make such Bye-Laws as shall seem requisite and convenient for the regulation, government and advance of the Academy its members and property and for the furtherance of its objects and purposes and from time to time to revoke or amend any Bye-Laws or Bye-Laws previously made but so that the same be not repugnant to these Presents or to the laws and statutes of Our Commonwealth of Australia or any State or Territory thereof; provided that no such Bye-Law, revocation or amendment shall take effect until approved by our Governor-General of Our Commonwealth of Australia. The Academy shall cause all such Bye-Laws when allowed with the formal allowance to be printed and published on the official Gazette published by our Government of Our Commonwealth of Australia”.


5.       Pursuant to the Original Charter and the Supplemental Royal Charter, the Academy has adopted Bye-Laws and those Bye-Laws have been duly allowed and approved by the Governor-General. The most recent amendments to the Bye-Laws were duly allowed and approved by the Governor-General on 22 August 2017.


6.       Chapter VIII of the Bye-Laws deals with ‘Revocation of Amendments or Additions to Bye-Laws’. The terms of Chapter VIII are as follows:


“Each proposal to change or repeal a Bye-Law, or to make a new Bye-Law shall be given to The Secretaries in writing and shall specify exactly the alterations proposed. The next two meetings of Council shall consider the proposed alteration, and Council shall recommend that the alterations be (a) approved or (b) rejected or (c) approved with amendment. Council shall then submit the proposal together with its recommendations to Fellows, either at the next Annual General Meeting, a Special General Meeting convened as in Chapter V, or by a ballot as Council determines.


If the proposed alteration receives the affirmative votes of not less than three-fourths of the Fellows voting as specified in Clause 13 of the Supplemental Charter, it shall be submitted for the approval of the Governor-General, and shall take effect from the date of formal allowance as published in the official Gazette of the Commonwealth of Australia”.