Working with the Cessnock RSL Sub-Branch for the benefit of the local veteran community.
The Australian Imperial Service of Women’s Auxiliary was formed in Phillip Street Sydney by mothers, wives, widows, sisters, daughters and aunts of men who served in the Australian Imperial Forces in the First World War (1914-1918). The auxiliaries grew from this beginning to raise money for the welfare of men and women who served and their widows and families. In 1947, at the Annual State Congress of The Returned and Services League of Australia (NSW Branch)(RSL NSW), a Resolution was formed that an Annual Congress of all Women's Auxiliaries be convened under the auspices of the RSL. On 18 August 1948 Mr. K. Todd OBE, Country Vice-President of RSL NSW held the first Returned and Services League Women’s Auxiliary Congress at the Young Women’s Christian Association, Liverpool Street, Sydney. There were 140 auxiliaries in attendance from all over NSW, approximately 3,110 members. The first president was Mrs K Todd (1948-1949), Metropolitan Vice-President, Mrs Pat Maitland, State Treasurer Mrs M. Hawkins and Mrs Gwen Richards as State Secretary. The RSL Auxiliary is a non-political non-sectarian organisation. We raise funds for the well being of our current and ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force and their families. Also we visit the sick in hospital and those convalescing at home. We raise funds to support the RSL Welfare and Benevolent Institution by holding raffles, selling tokens during the ANZAC and Poppy Appeals, as well as other fundraising avenues that arise throughout the year in their local sub-Branch area.RSL Auxiliaries were founded on fellowship and a desire to care for our communities. This continues to exist to this day. Members enjoy the friendship of like-minded women, visiting other auxiliaries when they hold functions, and being able to share our ideas and ideals. We are a voluntary organisation, dedicated to raising funds for the welfare of veterans of all wars and conflicts. Eligibility of membership is open to any woman over 16 years of age. Encouraging membership is the future of the auxiliaries to carry on this good work for years to come. Many present members have been in the Auxiliary for over 50 years, a lifetime of devotion to welfare of veterans..
Unfortunately, due to members resignations, the Auxiliary is no longer viable and has ceased to operate. Unless and until enough interest can be generated to re-form the Auxiliary,its functions will be taken over by the Social committee of the Sub-Branch.
The latest Circular from RSL NSW regarding Auxiliaries.
We have had feedback from a number of sources that there is some confusion in the sub-Branch and auxiliary network about transitioning the auxiliaries to the new organisational structure. This circular is to be used in conjunction with SOP 8 which provides the main detail relating to the operation of an auxiliary. Below is further guidance on some of the key areas impacted by the new constitution and SOP.
The RSL Auxiliary now comes under the direct responsibility of the sub-Branch to which they are attached. This will be for all administrative, membership and fundraising activities. The sub-Branch is a charity registered with the ACNC and therefore is the entity responsible for the fundraising and welfare activities of both the sub-Branch and the auxiliary. This structure provides the auxiliary and sub-Branch with clear areas of responsibility on matters of governance and compliance with regulatory requirements. A further benefit is that this arrangement fosters a greater need for coordination and cooperation between the auxiliary and the sub-Branch.
The auxiliary needs to appoint a coordinator and deputy coordinator to liaise with the sub-Branch and facilitate the activities of the auxiliary. Note, that these roles are appointed by the auxiliary, not the sub-Branch, and replace the previous requirement for an auxiliary to have a committee consisting of president, secretary and treasurer. Duties of the Coordinator and Deputy are covered in SOP 8 item 2.2.
The purpose of the auxiliary as stated in the SOP is to raise funds on behalf of the sub-Branch to support the Charitable Purpose. This does not mean that the auxiliary is excluded from other activities that support the sub-Branch or veterans in their community. There is no intention in the SOP to discourage auxiliaries from continuing any activity that supports the charitable purpose of the sub-Branch. Some auxiliary members provide added welfare support to sub-Branches, help in the planning and deliver of commemorations and provide meals to members at the conclusion of sub-Branch meetings. All these activities can continue under the new organisational structure if the sub-Branch and auxiliary deem them appropriate.
The SOP gives the sub-Branch the flexibility to call the auxiliary by any name, as long as it contains the letters ‘RSL’ and the word ‘Auxiliary’. Regardless of this, the official title of the auxiliary will be (Name) RSL Auxiliary and the members will be known as auxiliary members.
The auxiliary must have one formal meeting per year to plan and report on fundraising and any other activities. This does not mean that the auxiliary is restricted from holding more meetings if wanted or required. Instead, it gives the auxiliary the flexibility to meet and conduct business as it suits them.
Membership of the auxiliary does not come with an automatic right for auxiliary members to attend sub-Branch meetings. Service and affiliate members are entitled to attend sub-Branch meetings and auxiliary members may attend sub-Branch meetings at the invitation of the sub-Branch President.
All members of an auxiliary now have their membership recognised by the RSL NSW Constitution. Given the structural changes outlined above, membership fees (not to exceed $12) will now be payable to the sub-Branch rather than to CCWA. All matters relating to membership of the auxiliary will be the responsibility of the sub-Branch including fees, member lists, renewals, disputes and awards.
There will be a change of auxiliary badge to reflect the name change to RSL NSW Auxiliary, however all existing auxiliary badges will remain current and will not need to be changed. Only new members will be issued the new badges.
Given the sub-Branch is responsible for the actions and compliance of the auxiliary, it is important that the sub-Branch have oversight of the financial activities of the auxiliary. As a result, the auxiliary must close any bank accounts and roll those funds into the appropriate sub-Branch bank account. This should not affect the activities of the auxiliary in any way. The coordinator should work closely with the sub-Branch treasurer to ensure that the activities of the auxiliary are budgeted for and the income from the auxiliary’s fundraising activities are properly applied to the sub-Branch’s charitable purpose.
Auxiliaries must complete their 2019 Annual Return as per the instructions on the RSL NSW website. This will be the last time that the auxiliary is required to do this as the sub-Branch will now have responsibility for the management of the auxiliary’s finances. It should be completed exactly the same way as it was done in the past.
There is no provision for the Central Council of Women’s Auxiliaries in the new constitution or SOPs. This body has been replaced by a State Coordinator and Deputy State Coordinator who are responsible for supporting both auxiliaries and sub-Branches. This process mirrors the support given to the Day Club network. The State Coordinator is Pauline James and the Deputy State Coordinator is Sue Allen – both highly respected and experienced members of the former CCWA. We are also in the process of establishing an RSL email address for auxiliaries to use to contact the coordinators and other contact details will soon appear on the RSL NSW website. Pauline and Sue are there to support auxiliaries through the transition to the new structure and are in regular contact with ANZAC House to ensure they are providing the best advice available. If your local coordinators or sub-Branch are unable to answer your query, please ask one of them to contact Pauline or Sue to progress your issue.
Finally, as members of the League I would encourage all auxiliary members to subscribe to receive the email correspondence available from RSL NSW. There are regular member updates, president’s updates and Board communiques containing pertinent information about our organisation.
Thank you all for your patience over the last couple of years as we worked through these governance and structural issues and thank you for your tireless support of our sub-Branches, veterans and their families.
GM Member Services and State Secretary