Board election to go ahead as planned at Mardi Gras AGM
The election of directors at Sydney Mardi Gras’ annual general meeting will proceed as planned.
The current board of Sydney Mardi Gras met last night to discuss the possibility of postponing the vote after it emerged fake applications for memberships have been lodged in the lead up to the election.
Their discovery has led to growing consternation among new and current members over the voting process.
Many urged Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) to postpone the vote until an investigation into new membership applications was carried out.
The Returning Officer recommended delaying the election so a full audit of the membership could take place.
Sydney Mardi Gras confirmed it will go ahead with the election at the AGM on Saturday, August 23.
The decision will address escalating unease over the election which has been shrouded with uncertainty since false applications for Mardi Gras memberships were discovered.
Suspicions have been running high with many members of the community taking to social media to express their concerns.
But new candidates say the board’s decision to continue with the vote say it puts them at a disadvantage.
Wayne Martin, who is running at the election, said the decision was “bizarre”.
“The decision does nothing to protect the integrity of the election or SGLMG particularly when you consider the investigation into dubious membership applications has yet to be concluded,” Martin said in a post on social media.
“Moreover, new candidates are disadvantaged over those incumbents seeking re-election as the outcome will be decided by those most able to mobilise social media and obtain proxy votes than perhaps those best suited to lead the organisation into future.”
Radio broadcaster James ‘Breko’ Brechney , who is also standing at the election, described the board’s decision as “disappointing”.
“After a week of flirting with the candidates that some resolution was coming, we’re now told the decision that was made last weekend still holds. This is a very disappointing result,” Brechney said.
“My main concern is this entire situation favours the existing Board members who are running for re-election.”
He added that without a full investigation into the membership applications, undue suspicion was cast over the new candidates.
“They have invalidated nearly all of my 42 proxies and this suspicion of fraudulent behaviour is not on these seven candidates, but on the remaining five candidates.
“No one outside of the Board has been provided any evidence of fraudulent behaviour.
“If there is any evidence a candidate has committed fraud this candidate needs to be eliminated before the election and the other candidates’ names be cleared,” Brechney said.
“This entire situation has been a major distraction on real discussion about change at SGLMG and the recorded 2013-2014 $177,000 loss,” Brechney said.
Read the full statement from Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras below
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (Company) is a democratic membership-based organisation that embodies the values of community, inclusion, transparency, responsibility, fun and celebration. Recently, attempts were made to influence our democratic membership-based processes.
The Board, acting in the interests of all members, resolved to have all applications for membership received after 31 July 2014 (the last date the Board considered applications), referred back to applicants for further information. Unfortunately, some genuine applicants are affected by this process.
The Board and Returning Officer explored all avenues regarding cancelling or postponing the AGM in order to reopen membership applications, and it is not possible under our Constitution or the Corporations Act to do so. The affected applicants will be contacted by the organisation seeking further information in support of their application.
The Board considered an option to convene the meeting, but adjourn the election of directors and voting on motions, to allow the validation of all members. The Board determined that all votes cast will be validated before the outcome of the election is declared.
Taking all of this into account, the Board has decided to hold the election of directors at the AGM on the 23 August, 2014 as announced, along with all of the other business at hand.