Should you use Robert's Rules of Order in Australia?

Should you use Robert’s Rules of Order? If you are in the USA – yes. If you are in Australia – no. Robert’s Rules are often quoted as the authority which should be used but it depends where you are in the world. Robert’s Rules is a fine book – 816 pages long. It goes into the most minute detail that is useful for very large meetings (and by large, I mean hundreds of people) or meetings which are complex or contentious. It also uses some terminology that has different meanings in other parts of the world. In my 35 years of experience in consulting on meetings of all types and sizes in Australia and New Zealand, I have never seen a meeting that needs the detail which Robert’s covers. Imagine, at a small Not-for-profit board meeting, taking out an 816 page book and saying that is how meeting are run. It simply isn’t necessary and only serves to confuse people. So what do you use in Australia. The two most commonly used books are “Renton’s Guide for Meetings” and “Meeting Procedure Made Easy” of which I am the author. Both will answer 99% of questions that come up in meetings in Australia and both are easy to use. Even in America there are many books which simplify the rules because Robert’s is so complex. In a nutshell, using Robert’s Rules in Australia is more likely to confuse than help.

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