Purpose of Parliamentary Procedure

Parliamentary procedure, or Robert’s Rules of Order, is a set of rules for conduct at meetings.  It is designed to assure orderly meetings which are democratic and fair.  Parliamentary procedure allows every member the right to speak and to make motions, and it allows the group to follow the will of the majority while still hearing the views of the minority.  Yet the use of Robert’s Rules in itself does not insure that the ideals of free speech and individual rights will be met.  Everyone involved with the meeting must also work to create an atmosphere of trust, mutual respect, and shared purpose.

General Principles

There are some general principles to parliamentary procedure which, if every member were familiar with them, would make the process more effective and the members more amiable.

  1. All members have equal rights, privileges, and obligations; rules must be administered impartially.
  2. Members must not attack or question the motives of other members. Customarily, all remarks are addressed to the presiding officer.
  3. The minority has rights which must be respected.
  4. The personality and desires of each member should be merged into the larger unit of the organization.
  5. Members may not make a motion or speak in debate until they have been recognized by the chair and thus have obtained the floor.
  6. Only one question can be considered at a time.
  7. Each proposition presented for consideration is entitled to full and free debate.
  8. Logical precedence governs introduction and disposition of motions.
  9. In voting, members have the right to know at all times what motion is before the assembly and what affirmative and negative votes mean.