AGM 2010 Results & President’s Report

Stephen Lesslie

Stephen Lesslie

The Branch’s AGM was held on Monday 10th May, at 74 Thompson Street, Drummoyne at 7.30 pm. Thanks very much to all those who attended, and especially to Stephen Lesslie, who kindly consented to be our Guest Speaker.

The following committee members were elected:

AGM Results 2010
Position Elected
President Susan Gregory
Vice President Stephen Lesslie
Vice President Mark Rodowicz
Secretary/Treasurer Patrick Lesslie
Returning Officer Marian Lesslie
Committee Member John Baglin
Committee Member Peter Palethorpe
Committee Member John Webber
Committee Member John Alexander

President’s Report – 2010

In my last report, in July 2009, I reported on the aims I had set for PRSA (NSW) for 2009. There were 3 ongoing aims –

  • to adopt a public campaign to abolish above-the-line voting and the associated group voting tickets in federal, state and local government elections;
  • to take action against the persistence of 2-member wards particularly in Botany Bay and Ku-ring-gai Councils; and
  • to campaign for the adoption of a genuine PR electoral system for the New South Wales Legislative Assembly.

With regard to the abolition of above-the-line voting, we have still had no response from the other branches on their willingness or otherwise to join in such a campaign. PRSA (NSW) made a submission to the Green paper issued by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters “Strengthening Australia’s democracy” focusing mainly on this issue. Other PRSA branches also made submissions. The White paper is yet to be issued.

There has been no progress on the local government front, probably due to the moribund nature of the NSW government.

We are still to develop a campaign of public awareness on the issue of PR in the NSW Legislative Assembly. Perhaps the current British situation will see some positive developments on the PR front which could be exploited here.

Since my last report we have sent out three issues of The largest remainder to members and supporters. There is a significant lack of feedback! The next issue is seeking opinions on methods of determining transfer values, an issue that is producing some debate at the national level.

Vice President, Stephen Lesslie, and I conducted a ballot for ACOSS in November, which proceeded smoothly.

Stephen was invited to address a meeting of the Macarthur Greens in April.

Committee Member, Marian Lesslie, and I visited the Museum of Australian Democracy in Old Parliament House, Canberra in February to see if and how PR was represented in the Museum. It wasn’t – except in relation to Catherine Helen Spence. There was no emphasis on electoral “process” in the Museum, or on its website, which was disappointing. The assumption seems to be that our democracy is fine as it is.

During our visit to Canberra, Marian and I made contact with National President, Bogey Musidlak, which was a step in the right direction for internal PRSA relations. Bogey was willing, but unfortunately unable, to be the guest speaker at this AGM.

The timing of this AGM brings us into phase with our Constitution – so there probably won’t be another AGM for a whole year!

The Tasmanian and South Australian elections, and the very recent British election, have brought PR into a focus rarely seen in the press. A hung Parliament in Britain may see PR implemented; the next General Election may see over 80% of voters electing their preferred member, instead of the 30% that may have done so last week.

Could we in Australia be that lucky?

Susan Gregory