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E.A. & Branches, Opinion 2020 

'Stuff ' just keeps dissappearing on Facebook and Forums!
'Stuff ' just keeps dissappearing on Facebook and Forums!
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Editorial- Horses Mouth’s Personal Opinion- May 2020

EQUESTRIAN AUSTRALIA – MAY 2020- MASSIVE FACE PLANT!

Once again, the Equestrian Australia culture and their supersonic revolving door has turbo boosted the exit of their Chair, Ricky MacMillan and Board Member Gillian Canapini.

Ricky was a popular appointment, the minions seeing her as a champion reformer and the last hope for saving this rancid organisation. Ricky has been quoted as saying “change at EA had been “un-obtain­able”, a concise quote that speaks volumes. How bad must the situation have been for Ricky to resign?

Many posts in social media have asked to hear from Ricky regarding her reasons, what happened? It should be understood that Ricky would have signed a confidentiality agreement that has effectively muzzled her and maintained the E.A’s reputation for secrecy; not her choice but probably legally binding! I personally thank Ricky for her action regarding stopping the F.E.I. from making the Hendra vaccination mandatory for Australian horses competing under FEI rules and attempting to reform E.A., I am sure it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

So here we have yet another drama that has added to E.A.’s litany cumulating  (not before time!) in May 2020 with E.A. in Voluntary Administration and the vague hope of massive reform.

“JUST GIVE THEM A CHANCE”...... AGAIN..+again..etc.

THE PEOPLE AT THE TOP HAVE BEEN A BIG FLOP

Members (i.e. grass roots State Branch Members) have said time and time again “give the new board/ board members/chair a chance”. With the same results over a period of over 10 years, no change in transparency, fiscal responsibility or any perceptible change in the abysmal elitist culture at the top. Resulting in a number of board Chairs simply throwing their hands in the air in despair and giving up, or covered in egg and falling on their swords. How many chances over how many years are acceptable? When will enough be enough?

The rot started in earnest when (as I understand it, I can’t remember exactly but around 20 years ago) Sport Australia (Nee The Australian Sports Commission) mandated a specific style of governance (adopted) under the Corporations Act, (referencing Deed of Company Arrangement clauses) that was allegedly a new condition for E.A’s eligibility for government funding.

This necessitated new constitutions (Federal and Branches) that had the effect of changing the structure of what was originally a  “Federation of State Branches” that together ran Equestrian Sports as the Equestrian Federation of Australia into the current structure of EA being the peak body, the despot, and the states and their members lowly subjects very well insulated from their management. The over-riding effect was to remove any direct line of communication from the grass roots ‘Branch’ members to their ‘peak body’ and ushered in a fascist style of rule by E.A. The constitutions have had a few revisions that have contrived to further reduce the input from actual grass roots members, the Branches and people who have experienced involvement in our sport.

Yet another chance :  Comment on the wonderful skilled EA board 2012 ......and on it went for another 13 years! 

 

 

THE ISSUES

Don’t believe me? The results speak for themselves (see following pages for full revelations)

  • falling membership with slippery numbersdiscounted membership categories and fewer ‘full fare ‘ paying members;

  • financial instability and questionable accounting - large sums designated to ‘miscellaneous’ categories,

  • declining Olympic medals,

  • revolving door of C.E.O's,

  • embroilment in costly legal actions,

  • unsuitable disastrous industry partnerships,

  • growing administration costs, top heavy administration,

  • regular conflicts of interest being ignored, preferential treatment to board members and ‘friends’,

  • failures in due diligence and impartiality re tenders,

  • not following their own Constitutions, rules or processes,

  • non compliance with the Mandatory Sports Governance Principles( Sport Australia)

  • non compliance with the Corporations Act

  • regular disputes over Olympic team selections,

  • bizarre marketing to children who don’t have horses and aren’t members (Ready Set Trot),

  • gaping holes in safety procedures, 

  • Purchasing a horse for a rider, no open applications for a rider, sold at a loss.

  • questionable tribunal decisions…. etc. etc. and the list goes on.

  • ignoring the wishes of their grass roots members.

To date none of the EA boards or State Branches who have been embroiled in the various dramas described in the following links, have fully explained or apologised for the incidents, nothing has changed.

THE CONSTITUTIONS – THE RULES THAT E.A. RUNS BY –

MAXIMUM DISENFRANCHISEMENT FOR MINIMUM RESULTS

HORSES MOUTH OPINION- This is the structure that has led to ‘grass roots members’ endemic helplessness. They have no direct voice to Equestrian Australia and there is no clear constitutional compulsion for State Branches to communicate their members concerns to E.A. or force their action on matters. Why even bother with a Constitution if the boards have no intention to comply with it and no-one calls them to task?

Equestrian Australia’s Constitution spells out the purpose of the organisation. One way of determining whether a board is fulfilling this task is to examine the way the rules of an organisation change under the leadership of a particular board and if the board’s actions comply with the requirements of their constitution. Have they made the members’ ability to enjoy their sport better or worse? Are they fair and inclusive or have they facilitated the disenfranchisement of the members and contributed to a board culture of self-serving exclusivity, conflicts of interest, fiscal irresponsibility at the expense of the organisations' members and their expectations under the governing constitution?

 

Bottom line, if the constitution isn’t working for members change it!  Unfortunately, regarding Equestrian Australia and the Branches this process under their constitutions represents maximum difficulty. If the requirements under the constitution are too difficult to comply with (deliberately so?) to force change, then formally petitioning a government body that oversees relevant behaviour is a viable option, or is it? 

Know the FACTS regarding E.A. Governance - Constitution - ASIC

See the Sport Integrity Australia's response to a formal complaint on the matters evidenced on this website - no action

 

The links included on this site regarding the constitutions describe totalitarian manifestos that question how the organisation has any members at all.

June 2020 - Sport Australia withdrew E.A.s Government Funding for high performance and participation. The EA Board voted to place EA in voluntary Administration as in the Boards opinion they would be trading while insolvent in the very near future

 

DRAMA : MAY 2020

“THE AUSTRALIAN - EQUESTRIAN AUSTRALIA IN TURMOIL AS RICKY MACMILLAN QUITS

EXCLUSIVE REPORTER- OLIVIA CAISLEY, MAY 13, 2020

"The future of the sport of equestrian, which has ­delivered Australia 12 Olympic medals, including six golds, is in turmoil again after former Olympian and chairwoman Ricky MacMillan resigned, becoming the third chair in 18 months to do so.

She stepped down from Equestrian Australia on Monday after just six months at the reins, and was joined in her departure from the board by former director Gillian Canapini.

An Olympian who represented Australia in dressage in Sydney and Athens, MacMillan was considered the sport’s saving grace and had vowed to change the organisation’s culture, rapidly moving to install a national safety officer to implement recommendations made after a coronial inquiry into the deaths of Olivia Inglis and Caitlyn Fischer in 2016.

MacMillan said change at EA had been “unobtain­able”.

“The vision I had when I took the chair of EA was a sport for the members — each participating member in each state would have a voice and be listened to.

“Circumstances meant that as hard as I tried, this was unobtain­able with the current structure of the organisation. I could not stand by and see the interests of members overlooked,” she said.

Canberra Airport’s Terry Snow, a benefactor of the sport, said MacMillan had been the best possible person to rectify the sport’s governance: “She’s got the experience, was an Olympic rider, has knowledge of the industry, is an international judge, she’s very focused and (a) very tenacious woman and I know she really wanted to make a big change.”

Ms Canapini said she had returned to the board with the expectation that members would be provided with full transparency of board decisions. “Sadly that is not the case,” she said. “It is time for our organisation to restructure and for the sport to be reclaimed by and for the members.”

Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick said he was disturbed by news of MacMillan’s resignation.

“I understood she had been given the job to transform the organisation, including cultural transformation,” he said.

“Prior to her appointment, I had raised the prospect of a Senate inquiry into the sport and its governance. After discussions with the minister, I made a decision to wait and see how Ms MacMillan progressed reforms. I will now need to take a close look.”

MacMillan’s resignation caps a tumultuous 18 months for the ­national sporting body, whose high-performance team will receive $3.2m in taxpayer funding for the 2019-20 financial year.

It comes as the NSW Office of Sport referred the tender process for awarding more than $1m in taxpayer funds to resurface two ­arenas at Sydney International Equestrian Centre to ICAC after alle­gations of conflict of interest.

Asked whether it would consider employing an external administrator to clean up the governing body, Sport Australia said it continued to work with Equestrian Australia “with a high priority on creating safer sporting environments for its members”.

OLIVIA CAISLEY, REPORTER - Olivia Caisley is a federal politics reporter based in the Canberra press gallery. She began her career at The Australian in 2015 working for the digital team before joining the Sydney bureau as a general news “

 

AND:

More examples of the revolving door

FROM FACEBOOK- BERNI SAUNDERS and others

https://www.facebook.com/berni.saunders.7/posts/10157510469457833

https://www.facebook.com/suellen.saals/posts/29367233531093

https://www.facebook.com/berni.saunders.7/posts/10157500959712833

VOLUNTARY ADMINISTRATOR FOR E.A. MAY 2020

Sport Australia finally pulls the plug on High Performance funding

Where has all this led - May 2020

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EDITORIAL
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ISSUES
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When is Enough, Enough?

LINKS TO DISCUSSIONS, OPINIONS & INFORMATION ON THE MAJOR DIVISIVE E.A. ISSUES OVER THE YEARS

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it" George Santayana

Most of the links on these pages are to E.A. and State Branch websites,  Newspaper articles and posts made on Facebook as well as Horses Mouth comments.

 

Re comments attributed to Berni Saunders - Berni and her husband were the owners of Cyberhorse website and businesses. Berni was a journalist and a frequent contributor to their forum. She was a an A level judge, successful FEI competitor with several horses, a judge educator and attended several Olympic Games as an Equestrian Journalist.

 

Links on Horses Mouth will take you to a range of posts that will describe the plethora of varied Equestrian Australia faux pas that erupted over many years, along with E.A’s most recent dramas have contributed to  today’s members  disillusionment with the organisation culminating in the current petition to replace the EA Board with an independent administrator.

Please note that in some cases I have included text/links from/to newspapers such as The Australian , they require subscriptions to access the article so where I could access the text I have copied it.

Nothing Changes 1992--->

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Equestrian Australia under Voluntary Administration 9 June 2020

 

 

ESSENTIAL READING ON THE EA & BRANCHES CONSTITUTIONS

The Equestrian Australia Constitution pre September 15th 2020

Note Judy Fasher E.N.S.W. chair became E.A. Chair and left EA under a cloud with no member support

WHEN WILL WE HAVE NEW EA AND BRANCH CONSTITUTIONS? BY FRANZ VENHAUS (ex EA Chair) 2013

http://www.franzvenhaus.com/

WHEN WILL WE HAVE NEW EA AND BRANCH CONSTITUTIONS? BY FRANZ VENHAUS (ex EA Chair) 2013

http://www.franzvenhaus.com/

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