Australian Olive Association AGM – grand mistake or grand masterplan?

Eyebrows have been raised about the date of the recent Australian Olive Association AGM that took place in Adelaide. The AOA AGM is traditionally held as part of the National Olive Conference, so why was the 2017 AGM held as a separate meeting almost a month later?

The COF is aware that the 2016 AGM was held shortly after sunrise at 7.30am at the National Conference in Geelong. This year the 2017 national AGM was originally scheduled to take place at the National Conference in Adelaide in October. Credible sources have confirmed that the AGM was initially included in the 2017 National Conference program, but then disappeared from it before the conference took place. Instead, the AGM was held a month later at a hotel in Adelaide. Further, in the public notice for the AGM, there was no explanation provided for the last minute change. Call me sceptical, but this seems peculiar.

It is logical to hold a national AGM at a national conference. After all, it is a national event held by the peak industry organisation that purports to represent growers’ and producers’ interests. Since industry participants from all over Australia are already gathered at the conference, it offers the perfect opportunity for as many people as possible to take part in the AGM.

The COF has heard reports that although all Board members attended, the number of non-Board members who attended could be counted on one finger. Just enough to hold a quorum, according to the AOA constitution.

As a not-for-profit, member-driven organisation, it makes good sense that members should not have to outlay more money in travel expenses and be further inconvenienced by having to attend a national AGM in the same city only a month later.

The COF surmises that this manoeuvre was either a grand mistake or part of a grand masterplan.

Comments? I’m listening…

One thought on “Australian Olive Association AGM – grand mistake or grand masterplan?

  1. Hi. I can vouch for much of what was said in this blogpost as I was the only member of the AOA outside the Board that physically attended the AGM. It was held in a little upstairs meeting room in a suburban hotel . There was a teleconference setup so members from elsewhere could ‘attend’. However, I spoke to one of the Board members over a beer at the hotel bar after the meeting and they told me that no one was at the end of the line. So it was the Board and I.

    I was there because I asked two questions of the board which I had to put to the board in writing months prior to the AGM due to some Board decision. The questions had to relate to specifics contained within the presidents report, which incidentally was not circulated prior to the AGM. The AOA accepted my written questions anyway and they were ‘briefly attended to’ at the box ticking AGM by asking me to ask someone else (the someone else being Horticulture Innovation Australia. Yeah right!)

    I took the time and trouble to submit questions and take time off work to attend in person as at the previous AGM held in the early hours in Geelong, the President refused to answer the questions posed by me (a member!) about specific aspects of the verbal report he delivered.

    So the AOA AGM’s went from vibrant lunchtime meetings attended by many members during a conference, to early morning meetings whereby questions were not welcome, to meetings in outer suburban hotels where no one attends and member questions are an inconvenience.

    Needless to say that I am no longer a member.

    Dr. Richard Gawel

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