Debunking Electoral Myths

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

Myth:

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.

Truth:

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

Myth:

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.

Truth:

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.

Conclusion

  • 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).

Yours faithfully,

Reverend Shinboner

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Debunking Electoral Myths

  1. Simon

    Hey Rev,

    You should come back. Been a hard year for my Arden St neighbours. If they’re not careful they’ll merge with Melbourne or be in Tasmania before the decade is out. I am extremely worried about the future of this club, it could be like Fitzroy without much of the public sympathy.

    Simon, North Melbourne Resident

    • Simon,

      I read that North have posted their 3rd successive profit. That membership is well up on last year. That the list is on the way up.

      North will be around for a long time yet. So stop stirring!

      Rev. Shinboner, West Melbourne resident temporarily residing in Africa

  2. Gomez

    I respect your piece but you haven’t addressed:

    i) Why are those *particular* members the first up for re-election?
    ii) The fact Ron Joseph utilising the club DB when he was allied with the Brayshaws was not considered of issue but de Raunch’s use of it is.
    ie – why should the issue ‘not be left unaddressed’ when the last instance was?

    • They are valid questions Gomez. And ones I cannot answer without proper investigation – something which is beyond my means in Africa. However:
      i) This question should be answered with a full copy of the NMFC constitution. But I know that Eugene Arocca, as Club Secretary with an extensive legal background, is going to be guided purely by the constitution in determining who is up for re-election, not directors personal political motives. It is beyond comprehension.
      ii) I do not know the full story behind the use of the database in the 2007 elections. I would be interested in investigating it further, but alas I cannot. But whatever the case, the past is the past. It doesn’t change the issue at hand.

  3. Greg

    Impressively researched post – amazing that it can be done from half way around the world. Hope that all is sorted by NMFC to the Rev’s satisfaction.

    PS Rev- the link to the “blatant campaign letter” needs to have the “de” deleted from the “.jpgde” suffix.

  4. Vitster

    Hi Rev,
    I really enjoy reading your intelligent posts.
    Good work !
    I am of the opinion, the current Board has done an amazing job to turn our great club around.
    Why change for the sake of change ?
    I intend to back this Board and give my vote to James Brayshaw, because this Board has done a lot of terrific things, and deserves the opportunity to continue lead our great club.

  5. Natasha

    Thanks for making us aware of the situation Rev. We received these letters and I assumed they were club related and approved, as I am sure many other people like myself would have thought. I have seen and met Peter several times over many years at the club, and have always known him to be dedicated, passionate and generous when it comes to the love of our club. I think people may not realise just how much financial support this man has personally poured into our club, especially during times we needed it most. I was completely ready to support his election to the board.

    But what I did not realise was that this affects Brayshaw and co…. So rather than sending our signed proxy letters back, I’m going to hold off and wait until I get all the information, then make a decision…

    Very timely, thanks for the heads up!

  6. jon

    If Peter de Rauch is such a great businessman then surely he’d have known the implications of obtaining and using the club’s membership database as he did, or would have spoken to someone who does first. If in the best case scenario he is just naive, do you really want to elect a naive, bordering on criminal, business person to your Board?

  7. Andrew Starkie

    Well researched and written, Rev. Was very surprised to receive letter from Peter. Surely he knew repercussions from the club would follow. For an intelligent, capable, successful man, it was an ‘interesting’ move to say the least. Will attend Jan 27 and indeed give thought to my vote. Our on-field fortunes are looking extremely positive, however, I’m concerned about this ‘move’ to Tassie. The bonhomie from Dallas Brooks Hall seems long gone. The cold off-field reality has set in for JB et al.

    Good to cross paths with you again. Keep up the good work in Africa.

  8. John

    Just for clarification the Board does determine who stand as per 21 (c) of the NMFC Constitution.

    “21 (c) At the 2010 annual general meeting, one-third of the members of the
    Board or, if their number is not an integral multiple of three, the number
    nearest one-third shall retire and be eligible for re-election. The members
    so retiring shall be decided by agreement between the directors or, if no
    agreement is reached, by lot.”

  9. Pingback: Constitutional change | Roo Beauty

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