I have been in hibernation from Roo Beauty whilst in Africa, following my beloved North Melbourne Football Club from afar. But recent misinformation about a particular area of interest – the forthcoming NMFC Board elections – has woken me from my slumber. I feel it is Reverend Shinboner’s duty to set some facts straight.
The recent controversy relates to unauthorised use of NMFC’s membership mailing list by an aspiring Board nominee, long-time club supporter and successful businessman, Peter de Rauch. The confidential data was given to de Rauch by former administrator, outgoing Board member and club legend, Ron Joseph. The subsequent discussion in cyberspace – a jungle of passionate opinion – has suggested the following myths:
The Board Conspiracy
The reason James Brayshaw, Mark Brayshaw and Trevor O’Hoy are the only Board members up for re-election is that they are ‘safe’ and known anti-Gold Coast relocationists, thus protecting the likes of Fulvio Inserra and Stephen Head (former pro-Gold Coasters) from facing the members’ vote.
Who is up for re-election is not decided by the NMFC Board. It is decided by the NMFC constitution. While I do not have a copy of the full constitution, I do know this:
- There was a moratorium placed on Board elections passed by the clubs’ members at the Extraordinary General Meeting in 2008 (the same meeting whereby the shareholder structure was abolished). To quote from the EGM notice at the time:
“The Board has proposed this moratorium on the basis that your current Board be given time to lead the Club through the very important development of Arden Street and the next phase of building the playing list without the instability of elections and potential changes in Board members for 2 years. After that time, the current Board members will progressively come up for election between 2010 and 2012.”
No eyebrows were raised about this at the time.
- As pointed out on the official notice of this year’s AGM, the constitution also states that “one-third of the members of the Board must retire and may offer themselves for re-election on a rotating basis”. And, Trevor O’Hoy, Mark Brayshaw and James Brayshaws’ terms are up.
There is no Board conspiracy here, and nothing undemocratic or strategic about who is up for re-election. NMFC is simply following their own constitution, and by inference, the law (as maintained by ASIC).
The Good Bloke
Peter de Rauch is a long-time NMFC supporter, financier, mate of Ron Joseph’s and all-round good bloke who has done nothing wrong.
I do not know Peter de Rauch, other than by reputation. From what I can tell he is a fiercely loyal and generous supporter of NMFC. As a self-made successful businessman he has poured a significant amount of money into the club, held and given back (for nothing) a large stake in the club’s shareholding, and previously served on the NMFC Board.
All this said and done, unauthorised use of the club’s membership database is a gross breach of the club’s confidence. It cost de Rauch $20,000 to send out the blatant campaign letter to every NMFC member – hardly a level playing field for any other aspiring Board nominee who doesn’t have that kind of money at their disposal, let alone access to confidential property of the club.
The club has a proper process in place for use of NMFC membership database – as pointed out by CEO and Club Secretary, Eugene Arocca. The club has also stated that it will provide members with “details of nominations received for all positions of Director on the Club’s website approximately seven days prior to the Annual General Meeting.”
Irrespective of whether de Rauch is a good bloke, or whether he used the database unwittingly (as his comments suggest), it undermines the democracy of our newly member-owned club and must have repercussions. Otherwise the legitimacy of the Board elections are susceptible to legal challenge. Quite rightly, the club is seeking legal advice accordingly.
- The NMFC Board are doing nothing wrong;
- Regardless of who you intend on voting for, this incident cannot be left unaddressed;
- Peter de Rauch is at best a naive but well-meaning (and wealthy) supporter, and at worst a conniving power-monger;
- If you think the current NMFC Board are doing a good job and would like to support them, the best thing you can do is give your vote (in the form of a proxy) to the current NMFC President: James Brayshaw. (A proxy gives the holder – in this case JB – the power to cast your vote as they see fit.) This also gives the club stability and unity.
I will now return to my hibernated state and concentrate on saving the children of Africa (all of them).