First state visit as sun sets on Somare era
The strange story of Bishop Ambo

Votes loom as major test for PNGAA

At the Holman investiture on Friday, I was bailed up by a number of people who asked what was happening in the PNG Association and the PNGAA Reform Group. So I thought it was time, as best as I can, to provide an update.

The first and important news is that the PNGAA national committee has decided to separate the special general meeting (that will vote on the matter of constitutional change) from the annual general meeting (that will elect new office bearers). The SGM will be held in late April while the AGM is now to be held in June. This is a smart move.

It will allow any changes to the constitution to be bedded down well and truly before the annual general meeting, an important one being to limit the size of the national committee to ten, probably still a bit big but a welcome measure given the bloated and unwieldy 17-person group the organisation has been lumbered with in the past.

A significant challenge for the SGM, as I have mentioned in these Notes previously, is to secure the 75 percent majority of voting members necessary to obtain constitutional change and a new focus for the PNGAA on the Australia-PNG relationship. This is a considerable hurdle to transforming the Association into a more focused, relevant and sustainable organisation.

Implicit in this challenge is the opportunity for PNG ATTITUDE readers to vote in the postal ballot that is expected to be conducted in April and to ensure constitutional change. If you’re not a member, go to the PNGAA website and join for $20, which also puts you on the mailing list for the Association’s excellent quarterly journal, Una Voce.

The PNGAA Reform Group, under Phil Ainsworth’s leadership, will work with progressive committee members to try to get the constitutional changes through. It will also endorse candidates, especially from outside Sydney, for the June election. This has been made imperative by the committee’s failure to allow the membership to vote on whether or not they want State branches.

Part of the national committee’s dysfunction in the past has been its incestuousness: the same people from the same part of Sydney squabbling over the same personal issues for too many years. It was my ill fortune to walk right into the middle of this mess. It seems it is now up to the members to resolve matters by ensuring that the national committee becomes truly representative of the composition of the entire membership.

More reports from time to time as events unfold. And, if you have any questions or observations, please use the Comments feature on this site.

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