The sound of silence

Freedom of speech is a  right we pretty much take for granted – but does it even exist in strata?

QUESTION:  The strata Act seems to be silent on speaking rights. At a recent general meeting, our new strata manager – who was elected to chair the meeting –  refused to let me speak on behalf of an owner because the owner was there.

Then they refused to let the owner speak herself because she had appointed a proxy.  Then when he was challenged, the strata manager walked out, effectively ending the meeting without a vote. Should we go to the CTTT? –  Den19dy.

ANSWER: So the proxy couldn’t speak because the owner was there and the owner couldn’t speak because they’d appointed a proxy?  This bloke was having his cake and eating it – and pretty much making it up as he went along.

Sounds like your chairman is a bully who doesn’t want any dissenting voices to be heard but it may be easier to get rid of them by getting a majority of owners on your side than going through the agonies of the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal.

That said, it might be worth taking him to Fair Trading to establish what he should  do in the future and let your fellow owners know what’s right and wrong. There’s certainly some confusion about this out there.

“Is a proxy valid when the owner appointing the proxy is present at a meeting?” asked CBF on the Forum. “And would a proxy be appointed if the owner was available anyway.”

To clarify, a proxy’s vote isn’t valid if the owner who gave the proxy votes in person. The strata Act doesn’t say anything about the proxy vote being invalidated by the owner’s mere presence.

As to why anyone would give someone else a proxy and still turn up themselves, sometimes a nervous or shy owner asks their lawyer, a friend or a relative to speak on their behalf but wants to be there to hear what’s said.

Read the original correspondence HERE.

scroll to top