District 73 Council fizzog

Melbourne, November 24

The Federal Election on Saturday was an exciting affair resulting in decisive change and the adoption of a forward looking approach to Australian politics. The District 73 Council Meeting held at Nunawading on the same afternoon was anything but that.

District 73 administers Toastmaster Clubs in South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and WA. The two Council Meetings held in November and May are the supreme decision making meetings. The Council consists of the Presidents and Vice Presidents Education of all financial Clubs; Division and Area Governors; and the District Governor, Lt Governor Education & Training, Lt Governor Marketing, Secretary, Treasurer and Public Relations Officer – which adds up to 311 members or their proxies.

There was no quorum

A quorum is 1/3 of the Club delegates, a total of 90 at present. There were 39 people present, representing with proxies about 50 votes, well below the quorum requirement.  There were 3 delegates from South Australia, 3 from Western Australia, 1 from Tasmania and only 32 of the potential 216 delegates from Victoria where the meeting was held.  It was not a representative meeting.

The Budget had to be deferred

The District’s financial planning has been thrown into confusion by a ruling from Donna Groh, Executive Director of Toastmasters International, that our District may not conduct Speechcraft Courses or receive income from Speechcraft Courses. Since the Budget included $30,000 gross income from Speechcraft with an expected net $14,0000 for the year, Treasurer Alan Smith has been forced to go back to the drawing board and prepare a new Budget which will be emailed to all delegates for ratification. A consequence of this ruling is that local clubs will be the only authorised conductors of Speechcraft courses and all profits from these courses will stay with the clubs.

The Split has been deferred too

There has been a proposal to split District 73 into two Districts – you can read about this at The Split Proposal. However the Split Convenor, Geoff Morrissey, has not been able to publicise widely enough the proposal in Victoria to gauge adequate support. As well, the Poll conducted through this website has shown that a majority of WA respondents do not wish to proceed with the Split at present. Check out the Poll question and results on the right hand menu of this page.

Future meetings must be held by video conference

It’s time District 73 woke up to the undemocratic nature of our current conferences. Toastmaster International guidelines require two Executive Meetings and two Council Meetings to be held each year. These meetings make binding decisions for our District’s administration. It may be reasonable that the May Council Meeting, held in conjunction with the District Contests, is conducted at a specific location, but there is no excuse for the other three meetings being conducted at a specific location which makes attendance from other State delegates very difficult.

A video conference costs money

Yes, it does, but that expense should be regarded as a necessary cost of consulting our decision making members.  There will be savings as well, because top District Officers will not need to fly from one capital to another.  That will reduce travel expenses substantially.

An Executive Meeting is scheduled for Perth in February

Let’s make this a video conference meeting.  The Executive members are the 6 members of the District Management Team, the 9 Division Governors and the 35 Area Governors.  Only 13 of these 50 in the Executive live in Perth.  Even if the Victorian Lt Governor Education & Training and the Tasmanian Lt Governor Training fly over for the meeting (at considerable expense) that will make only a potential 15 of the 50 in attendance.  This is not good enough.  With video conferencing we stand a good chance of getting a good majority of delegates participating in District 73 decision making.

Let’s do it.

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