The auditorium sessions are at the heart of conference. They are where issues are debated and policy is decided. The attendees are a vital part of this process- speaking in favour or against the motions and then voting on the policies.
Be heard! How to speak in a debate
Debate chairs want to call speakers who haven't participated before to keep discussions fresh so first-time attendees are strongly encouraged to take part! Ahead of conference look over the agenda and if there's a topic that you're interested in please fill out a speaker's card.
Don't wait for the debate session to put yourself forward. The Federal Conference Committee (FCC) reviews the proposed speakers nightly, so submit your speaker's card as early as possible.
The steps to speaking are very straightforward:
- Read the agenda and select an interesting debate
- Collect a speaker's card. You can download these or obtain them on-site from the stewards in the auditorium or the info desk in the foyer.
- Fill in the card with a rough outline of what you'll say (this will help the chairs to select speakers for a balanced discussion). Let them know if you're in favour/against the motion/focusing on one aspect of the topic.
- Hand the card to the FCC desk at the front of the auditorium (near the stage)
- Sit in the debate and listen for your name! The first speaker will be the person who put forward the motion but the other selected speakers will be announced and told to wait on standby.
- If your name is called make your way to the front of the auditorium and wait for the stewards to usher you onto the stage. Let them know if you have any accessibility issues.
- When you're onstage look for the traffic lights- the amber light will come on when you have 60 seconds left and the red light indicates your time is up.
- Enjoy your time speaking. The FCC and audience is very supportive of first-time speakers and appreciate you taking part.
During the popular debates intervention microphones are used. Speakers are selected from the cards submitted to the FCC desk and invited to speak for 60 seconds from the fixed microphones in the middle of the hall. This is a great way to make a punchy point.
If you've handed a speaker card in make sure you listen out in case your name is called. If you're selected make yourself known to the stewards who will show you were to sit while you're waiting to speak.
Submit a motion
Motions can be proposals for party policy or suggestions for how the party should work. They can be written by any member but need backing from ten other members or your local party.
You can also get in touch with members who previously wrote motions to ask for advice or to work on a motion together.
These are proposed changes to the motions being debated. All motions (except emergency motions) are open to amendment. Amendments can be written by any member but need backing from ten other members or your local party.
All party members at conference (except conference day visitors) are entitled to vote in the debates. To vote you must be seated in the auditorium and simply show your voting badge, which is on the reverse of your ID pass.
Decisions on most motions and all amendments are made by a simple majority. For a constitutional amendment a two-third majority is required.