Abuses of Parliamentary Procedure

Abuses of Parliamentary Procedure


Presentation – Workshop – Parliamentary Society of Toronto

February 3, 1998 – Richard Slee


Subsidiary Motions


Main Motion


·        Miss wording – what action is to be taken, who is responsible, how much $, and when, big motions in writing

·        Out of order – two or more main motions on floor at same time

·        Not properly reconsidered

·        Proper notice for motions amending bylaws and constitutions


To Postpone Indefinitely


·        Used when amendments on the floor




·        Taking a vote on an amendment and then not voting on motion

·        Amendments that are not germane (negative)

·        Tertiary and more than one at a time – Chair losing control and getting lost

·        Improper types (only strike out, add,  insert, strike out and insert, substitute or divide)

·        Few restrictions on the number of amendments

·        Amendments must fall within scope notice

·        Follow the rule of motion being amended (debatable or not)

·        Friendly amendment – misnomer, no reference in Robert’s


Refer to Committee


·        Not enough instructions (what committee, when to do or report back, instructions or terms of reference)

·        Used as a delaying action


To Postpone to a certain Time


·        Debate is continue on the main motion when it should be restricted to the advisability of delay

·        Amended to become the motion to postpone indefinitely

·        Cannot postpone to the next AGM (restricts business in the interim)




Close or Limit Debate


·        Debate continues

·        Mover not specific as to what it applies


Lay on the Table


·        Used to postpone indefinitely or to a certain time or to kill (not debatable)


Privileged Motions


Call for the Orders of the Day


·        Ignored or not properly ruled on and voted when there is an objection

·        Confusion over special and general orders


Question of Privilege


·        Ignored or not a question of privilege (does not pertain to rights)




·        Meeting continued while motion ignored

·        Chair does not realize that final wrap up comments are in order

·        No time set to adjourn to


Incidental Motions


Point of Order


·        Used to delay

·        Not ruled on




·        Ignored or taken personally rather than looking for a ruling of the assembly


Special Orders


·        Consequences not fully understood (two edged sword)

·        Not taken up when specified or improperly delayed


To Withdraw


·        The mover has ownership only until debate has started then decision of assembly




·        Ignored or vote not properly change ie., from a voice vote to show of hand, to count, to ballot

·        Required only one member of the Assembly (no seconder needed)


Objection to Consideration


·        Used to kill a motion which is not against the principles of the organization or illegal

·        Timing – should be made when motion made


Other Motions and Elections




·        Action already taken




·        Taken after meeting

·        Only entry is high – take up when no business pending

·        Does not kill motion or create another




·        Nomination do not need to be seconded

·        Plurality votes do not elect only majority

·        If bylaw requires a vote cannot declare elected

·        Nominating ballot cannot be an electing ballot




·        Proper notice

·        Changes must be germane as to notice







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