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Name: Peter Stratford

Comment: There could be few better examples of a “tin ear” that this management committee proposal  to have the new Federal Secretary appointed, rather than elected by the full membership, especially in Abbott’s brave new world. There are enough “faceless men”  in political parties and it would seem in unions. The committee, in its headhunting, needs to be as transparent as clear glass in order to keep reaffirming the principle of representative democracy, so that decisions can be seen to be those of the members. If we don’t have a say, why should we bother to be financial?

Name: Steve D’Arcy, Fairfax Media

Comment: The MEAA is already run by a bunch of ALP left wing lovers…at least let us have the fantasy of thinking we can elect an impartial Fed Sec….

Name: Jeff Waters, ABC Melbourne

Comment: As Victorian ABC delegate to Federal Council, I fully endorse this initiative and encourage all MEAA members to ensure our organisation isn’t hijacked by anyone. We need to be the most democratic, and most transparent, of all unions/professional organisations. Please show your support.

Name: Suzi Taylor, ABC Open

Comment: Right now, it’s more important than ever that MEAA represents the values of inclusiveness, solidarity and democracy that we aim to promote in our workplaces. If we do not get the say over who runs our union, I will immediately be stopping my membership and I know that many others feel the same way. The government is trying to undermine unions at every opportunity – don’t give them more ammunition to make the case that our spines are being broken from within.

Name: Helen Vines

Comment: I want to be able to vote for the person who represents me. Basic right, I’d say.

Name: Abbe Holmes

Comment: I’ve listened to the position put on way the Union needs to adjust and adapt to changes and many have merit, but I believe that the proposal to abolish the model for electing our leader, is quite simply ‘a mistake!’

Name: Alison Caldwell, ABC Victoria

Comment: I’d like to be able to have a voice in determining who heads our union, as has always been the case.

Name: Kate Walsh, Fairfax

Comment: Members should have a direct say in who takes up the federal secretary position.

Name: Gaye Burrows, Illawarra Mercury

Comment: I strongly disagree with the MEAA’s management committee who want to appoint the next union leader themselves, disenfranchising me as a paying member. I want a more democratic and professional union run by its members for its members.

Name: Antony Field

Comment: Totally agree with the campaign to retain direct election for the head of the MEAA. The union should be focused on the  needs and views of its members and we should have the right to decide who will lead us. It shouldn’t be up to a select group of individuals to make that choice for us. If the union wants active and passionate members, a corporate management structure that moves away from grassroots democracy is not the way to go.

5 comments

  1. Thanks to everyone who has commented – apologies due to an IT glitch not everything was posted straight away, but things are going up now and we think we have solved the problem.

  2. I’ve been in the union since I arrived in Australia in 1985 (and before that the NUJ), and I support merit-based selection for Alliance positions… I back Chris Warren and the leaders and officials who have worked for years for the Alliance and the Walkley Foundation, and made them both successful …Some of the people running this campaign are friends of mine, and I respect their right to their views, but if they take over — which is basically what they’re trying to do — I think the effect on the union would be disastrous… My message is to have an open mind, not to be taken in by simplistic slogans and to help keep our union united and strong. Coincidentally, the decision is being taken on the St Patrick’s Day weekend, so for the first and only time in my life I’ll be working on Paddy’s Day — but it will be for the Alliance. Good luck everyone, we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this issue, but whichever way it goes let’s stay friends and comrades and honour the outcome. Seumas Phelan

    1. Fran Molloy, Freelance

      Seamus, as I am sure you know, I have huge respect for you, and clearly this issue is very close to your heart if you’re working on St Paddy’s Day weekend! And I think it’s an important point you made – that we need to stay united.

      However, I strongly disagree that a move to preserve the right for members to elect their Federal Secretary in any way is about a certain group ‘taking over’ their own union.

      I know from talking to freelance members, that for a long time, a lot of members have felt that they didn’t have a voice. No one stood against the current Federal Secretary – I have no idea why – and so there was no new blood, no challenge and little accountability to members.

      I want to elect the head of my union. I would like a CHOICE in that election after so many years where no-one has stood as an alternative Federal Secretary.

      Yes, I get to elect my Federal Delegates; but it’s a ballot paper in the mail and like most freelancers, I’m way out of the loop. it seems obvious that there’s a gang that all supports each other and a few outsiders who the gang recommends we don’t vote for. Is there something going on? I have no idea, but there does seem to be a consistent group that has run the MEAA for many years. And this group is the same one that will make a decision to appoint a non-elected leader. This worries me.

      I would like to see term limits, as Charles Firth suggested perhaps jokingly – but why not? My local primary school’s P&C ensures the President is only there for two terms – even the US Presidency is limited. And term limits on Federal Council might also be a good idea.

      Of course, that raises the prospect – what if nobody stands to volunteer? Well, if the few outsiders who put their hands up didn’t get sidelined, then maybe you’d see more hands up. And more student journalists, more young journalists, more freelance journalists – more diversity. That’s got to be good for our union.

  3. What I’d like to know is whether this debate is about the members’ interests or about the pleasures of office. I remain curious about the real value I get. I don’t know what the Walkley Foundation is exactly, but it is starting to look like a competing interest and it’s affairs should be reported openly. I want to see what the management offers me for my fees. A plan for every year, published, that shows me what I get for my money. And I’d like to know what exactly is the relationship between MEAA and MediaSuper?
    I am NOT interested in whether Chris Warren or Marcus Strom gets the big chair. I am interested in whether they are the BEST person to deliver value for MY MONEY.
    In fact I think this whole process is making me wonder whether the best solution is just to save the cash?

    1. Hi Ted, Thanks, these are great questions, and probably best addressed to Chris Warren, the outgoing Federal Secretary, and current CEO of the Walkleys Foundation. We are reposting whatever we receive from his Alliance Headquarters in Sydney – including communication from Chris, and some members of the Federal Management Committee. They do publish lots of information on their website http://www.alliance.org, including Annual Reports etc. But it can be hard to find online…

      One great thing about this grassroots activist page is it has prompted some healthy questions and debate. Including – why doesn’t the Alliance host a page like this itself? best, G

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