|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
Friendly Societies Orders had been formed soon after the first settlement in Victoria and were regulated under Acts passed by the Governor and Legislative Council of New South Wales in 1843 and 1848. However, it was not until after the passing of a Victorian Act in 1855 that steps were taken for their registration as legally recognised institutions. This Act - An Act to consolidate and amend the Laws relating to friendly societies - received assent on 12 June 1855 and provided for the appointment of a certifying barrister to confirm that the rules of the society were in accordance with the law before the formal registration could be effected by the Registrar. In 1875 a Royal Commission was appointed to inquire into the working of the Friendly Societies Statute, the position and operations of societies registered under it; and to report what amendment, if any, is desirable in the existing law. Effectively, the Friendly Societies Act 1877 provided for the appointment of a fully qualified barrister as registrar in lieu of a registrar and a certifying barrister; for the submission of returns annually to the Government Statist, and for a periodic valuation of the assets and liabilities of the societies at least once in every five years. In accordance with the provisions of the Act, an actuary was appointed under the Government Statist in 1881 to carry out the periodical valuations. In 1907 registration of the societies was made compulsory and in 1911 another Act was passed which required societies to adopt adequate rates whenever called upon to do so by the Government Statist. In accordance with the provisions of the Friendly Societies Act 1928 (No.3686) the Government Statist was to submit to the Minister for presentation to Parliament a report of proceedings of the principal matters transacted in connection with friendly societies and their valuation.
Subsequent amending acts were passed in 1934, 1938, 1946, 1951, 1957, 1958 and 1986.
The Registry of Friendly Societies (VA 1390) provided administrative support and daily administration of the Acts including the following:
registration of Friendly Societies Rules and their subsequent amendments
the issue of Certificate of Incorporation
approval of proposed name or change of name
granting of licenses to Directors
approval of auditors and actuaries
distribution of surplus on advice of The Actuary
determining the method of approval for proposed merges
exemption of Dividing Societies and Total Abstinence Societies Advisory Committee
appointment of investigators or administrators and inspection of documents
the submission of an annual Report to the Minister for presentation to Parliament.
Under the Friendly Societies Act 1958 the Government Statist and Actuary shared responsibility with the Registrar for the general administration of societies.
In 1992 the function of the Registrar was taken over by the Victorian Financial Institutions Commission.