DM Jargon

A list of terms that may be used at DM and their definitions.

Addendum: An addition to a motion that does not change the main text and is voted on separately.

Amendment: A change to a motion that is voted on separately. This must not contradict the main thrust of the motion although it can alter it substantially. The amendment is voted on before the main motion is put as amended.

Composite: An amalgam of two or more motions and their amendments which are trying to cover the same topic.

Delegate: A member sent by a tabling body to speak on its behalf and report back on what happens.

Emergency motion: A motion proposed by five or more tabling bodies at DM to raise a matter of urgency. Check the rulebook for details.

Late notice motion: A motion concerning a matter occurring after the deadline for motions that requires a decision of DM.

Motion: A request for DM to decide union policy on a matter, change the rules or call on some section of the union to take the action required.

NEC: the National Executive Council. Elected by the members every two years, it determines union policy between DMs, interprets the rules and runs the union through the General Secretary on your behalf.

Nem Con: A Latin phrase meaning nobody voted against the motion although not everyone voted for it (see unanimous).

Order Paper: Detailed agenda. It lists the motions to be debated and gives the new wording of composite motions and amendments.

Point of Order: Can be made at any time other than during a vote. Used to draw the chair's attention to an alleged breach of the standing orders.

Point of Information: Used sometimes by a delegate to seek an expansion of a speech although this is not proper procedure. You should go to the rostrum, make the point that the mover's speech was unclear, and ask him/her to clear up the matter in their reply.

Recommendation: SOC gives its opinion on the validity of motions. Reference Back: Asking for a report or order paper presented to conference to be "referred back" to the body that prepared it for reconsideration.

Right of Reply: Movers of motions (not amendments) have the right to reply to the speeches made. This is a chance to answer questions raised or respond to opposition claims. You must not introduce new matter.

Remission: A remitted motion is referred back to the body named for reconsideration.

Report to DM: The report to DM gives reports from all the various councils of the union and other information for delegates. Each section is allocated to an order paper so that delegates may ask questions about the report or the work of that council and if necessary refer the report back to the authors.

SOC: Standing Orders Committee.

Seriatim: "Item by item". A vote on a long motion which is taken in sections.

Scrutineers: Elected at the beginning of conference to count ballots and votes.

Standing Orders: The agreed rules/procedures used to organise the debates, which the President, delegates and other speakers are expected to follow. See the front of the agenda.

Tabling Body: Anybody entitled to send delegates to conference (see rule book for a full list).

Void for Uncertainty of Meaning: When SOC deems the motion is meaningless or capable of more than one interpretation.

Widely New Matter: An amendment which introduces material which goes much further than the original motion or, occasionally, adds too much detail.

Unanimous: Everyone votes the same way.