One-man, one-vote the only way to get true representation
According to an article prior to Christmas, red meat producers have made it abundantly clear they do not want anybody elected on the board of a key service provider on account of popularity.
To my way of thinking, ignorance or arrogance spring to mind. In excess of 200,000 PIC numbers and a handful of producers tell the rest that we don’t want a populist vote. Surely if people are given the one-man, one-vote option, then and only then would we get a clear indicator of what producers want.
Outgoing Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) selection committee member Ian McCamley said candidates put forward as possible directors were “tipped upside down and turned inside out”. It is a selection committee job call for applicants interview and shortlist and to report to members of the suitability of candidates.
From what I understand, if the selection committee choose three candidates and three positions have become vacant on the board, and then the chosen are put forward at the MLA AGM to be ratified, anybody understanding anything about the voting will realise that the three people will have a 99.9% chance of getting on the board.
The selection committee has been fine-tuned over years, this means that MLA board members still retain two seats, however they don’t vote. However if an MLA board member is not performing or has fallen out with the board, one would be very certain that that board member would not get past the selection committee.
Selection committee is nothing new, however it seems red meat has earned a reputation for enthusiasm and positions on the committee are highly sought. Mr McCamley joked and said a selection committee was needed for the selection committee.
Could be possible that the selection committee could be chosen by the MLA board? It seems the MLA board has an incredible amount of voting power at the AGM.
Could I suggest that MLA is asked how many votes were held by the chair and board at the MLA AGM this year, and what percentage of the total votes cast did the chair and board of MLA hold?
No doubt achieving the right mix of the board with skills and experience is a big step towards getting it right in terms of levy payers’ money is spent. Return on investment at MLA is very good, $6.20 in fact, on every dollar invested. Fairfax media research indicates that very few producers are aware of these figures.
Reading through some of the so-called independent literature funded by the MLA really makes you wonder.
In 2006 when the levy went from $3.50-$5.00 after a democratic vote conducted on MLA members (not all producers are members of MLA). In 2009, the $1.50 increase was examined by another independent committee and it came out with rave reviews.
Surely the time has come when all producers are identified and given one-man, one-vote for what they want to see happen in the future. Voting from a handful of the biggest levy payers can outvote everybody else and these big levy payers can have vastly different needs from mum and dad producers
At present, grass-fed cattle producers are doing most of the paying and little of the saying. And until we have genuine democracy, the same sort of smoke and mirrors will continue.