Frequently Asked Questions
The Melbourne Forum and its Members
What is the Melbourne Forum?
Melbourne Forum is an eclectic group of people, passionate about life in “Marvellous Melbourne”.
Our members meet regularly in informal social setting to discuss the current issues of relevance to not only our own city but also our nation and the world at large. We are proud of our diverse membership base, which draws from the many different threads that make up the rich tapestry of our wonderful city.
The majority of our events are held over lunch with a guest conversation leader leading a robust, interactive and topical conversation. Additionally, we host members’ evening drinks, arts and cultural life events, signature dinner, members dinner’s and social drinks outside of normal business hours.
The Melbourne Forum offers a range of bespoke events to its members. They are limited in size to maintain intimacy. Membership is offered annually and is limited to only 250 people per year.
Who is a potential member?
A potential member will have made an initial enquiry and sought an existing member to nominate their application. Every applicant is encouraged to attend at least one event and a maximum of three events prior to finalising their application. Details of how to join Melbourne Forum can be found here.
Who is a guest?
A guest is someone you think would enjoy a specific Melbourne Forum event and is not already a member or a potential member. As we are a membership-based organisation, guests are welcome to attend a maximum of three events throughout the year as a guest.
What is a ‘Members Only’ event?
At a Members Only event we give priority to our members. If there is an opportunity for additional people to attend Members Only events, then the room will be opened for those people that have their application for membership pending approval.
Why don’t we hold larger events or utilise larger venues?
We value our intimacy and engagement for the conversation and believe this is best achieved through smaller functions. Our venues are chosen for each event to achieve this.
Are there member / guest ratio at events?
Yes. We try to limit the member / guest ratio at our events. We strive to ensure that members are able to fully utilize their membership and attend their preferred events.
How many events can I attend as a guest?
Guests may attend up to three events.
How many guests can I invite to events?
You are welcome to invite one additional person to our lunch and dinner events that you think appropriate. We welcome additional guests to our Members’ Drinks, Imbibo and Cultural Life series.
When is it appropriate to bring my partner to events?
The most appropriate events to bring your personal guests to are our Cultural Life, Members’ Drinks and Members’ Dinner events. Members must have an opportunity to record their interest in the events first. Your personal guest can be booked through our website.
What if I have booked an event that I can’t attend?
It is important that you advise the Executive Officer if you can’t attend an event. Often, we have a list of members wait listed. Our cancellation policy is on our website. In accordance with this policy, once you have cancelled an event if you are eligible, you will receive a credit towards another function. We do not provide refunds.
Table seating at events
When you enter the venue for lunches, you will be provided with your named place card. You should use this to reserve your preferred seat from those available. For our Signature Dinner events, when you arrive at the venue, you will be offered a place card to reserve your seat on a designated table.
A majority of our events revolve around good food and beverages. Members are requested to advise the office of any dietary requests for themselves and their guests at the time of booking and are easily accommodated. Further information on this can be found in our code of conduct.
Code of Conduct
Members are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that contributes to the event being an informative and enjoyable experience for all who attend. Members are sent a copy of the Code of Conduct with their membership approval and assume responsibility of advising their guest(s) of this code of conduct and their guest’s adherence to the code.
Why don’t you advertise the location of your events?
Our conversation lead events are always held in Melbourne’s CDB close to public transport and are selected specifically for each event. You will always receive an email 24 hours prior regarding the location. We respect the privacy of our conversation leaders and members and where appropriate, announce the location as soon as we can on the website.
What if I am running late or can’t locate the venue?
Please SMS the Executive Officer through the contact details provided to you prior to the event so they can begin the lunch on time and let the host and kitchen know of your arrival time.
Do you have a Dress Code?
Business attire or smart casual clothing.
How can I recommend a guest conversation leader or a question to pose for a topic?
This is your forum and it is important that the events are created for you. Email the Executive Officer who will ensure that it is tabled at the next Program Committee meeting. Depending on the timing of your email there may be a delayed response. The Executive Officer will keep you informed of the outcome.
Joining the Forum
What is the process of becoming a member?
Every applicant is required to fill out an Application for Membership, send in their bio or cv and a headshot, and attend at least one event. All applications require a proposer and seconder.
If you do not know a current member the application can be processed through the Executive Officer who will introduce you to a member of the Membership and Communications Committee.
Melbourne Forum – Payment of annual membership fees
How are my annual subscriptions used?
Membership subscriptions are used to pay for one part time employee, office rent, insurance, fees, credit card and payment services, web site services. The Board and Committee members generously give their experience, skills and efforts on a voluntary basis.
Members are asked to pay their annual subscriptions by the due date.
When are annual membership subscriptions due?
Membership subscriptions apply for a calendar year. Renewal notices for annual membership subscriptions are sent in October/November and are due for payment by 31 December.
Alternatively, existing members may choose the convenience of a multi-year subscription at a discount of the annual subscription.
Can I pay for membership with my credit card?
Although we accept AMEX, Mastercard, Visa, PayPal and MYOB Direct for all of our events, the bank charges on the membership lump sum are too large for us to absorb. If you would like to pay your membership via this method, we can re-issue you an invoice with a credit card surcharge to cover this cost.
Can I seek a leave of absence?
Please contact the Executive Officer to discuss this option.
Can my membership expire?
Under the Constitution, you have 30 days from the due date on the renewal notice to pay your annual membership subscription (Clause 6.3). If you have not paid in this time the Constitution provides that your membership is liable to be ceased (Clause 6.3). The Directors determine if a reasonable time has elapsed to allow for payment and if so, your membership will cease (Clause 7.1 (iv)).
The due date for payment of annual subscriptions is 31 December. We appreciate that membership lapsing for non-payment is a serious matter. If your payment remains outstanding after this time, then unfortunately the Board has determined your membership will cease and you will no longer be entitled to the benefits of Melbourne Forum membership. If you consider you have exceptional circumstances or there may have been a mistake, you may email the Executive Officer seeking the Directors to exercise discretion in your case to extend the time for payment or amend our payment records.
Can I resign my membership?
If you no longer want to access the benefits of being a Melbourne Forum member you can resign your membership. Please notify the Executive Officer by email. The Executive Officer will formally pass on your resignation to the Secretary as required under the Constitution (Clause 7.1(a)). You are welcome to offer your feedback before you leave us by emailing the Privacy Officer or the Executive Officer. [LINK]
Am I entitled to a refund or part refund of membership subscriptions?
Under the Constitution (Clause 7.2) you are not entitled to any refund or part refund on any subscriptions you have already paid before you ceased to be a member. You will remain liable for and will pay all subscriptions that may still be owing for the year preceding your ceasing to be a member and other amounts which were due (e.g. for events attended) at the date you ceased to be a member.