THE latest move by the Exclusive Bruvvers of Battery Point and their handmaidens (both male and female) has Orwellian overtones. A two-page letter to members of the Battery Point Sullivans Cove Community Association has been posted requiring members (current and future) to be nominated by another member. The nominee must sign a form pledging allegiance to “the objects (sic) of the Association,” and will then be vetted by The Committee.

Signed by “President and Public Officer” David Edwards, it states: “You will only be able to participate in the affairs of the Association once the completed form has been received by the Public Officer of the Association and assessed by the committee.”

In relation to the pledge of allegiance: “If you do not sign this part of the form, the Association will return your payment and remove you from the Membership Register.”

Perhaps Orwellian is too kind …

We all know the ALP is riven with internecine politics and the warlords have made an art form of bludgeoning their factions into submission. While it’s most unlikely that many foreshore residents, for example,  former Governor Guy Green or Incat founder Bob Clifford, are members of the ALP,  their interests are protected by the BPSCCA executive. These Bruvvers and handmaidens include John White, once a powerful player in Labor’s Left faction in Tasmania, and David Edwards, who spoke to the Mercury at the last ALP state conference as the Battery Point Branch representave. (A stunning example of branch stacking: in the 21 years, eight months I have lived in of the suburb, I have never heard of this Branch).

The letter is a shameless exercise in maintaining power, in excluding the very community which the Association purports to represent.

It is all the more shameful given the Association is in legal limbo. But those with unrestrained power always ride roughshod over whatever stands in their way.

An opinion on the BPSCCA contstitution, given by a Tasmanian Silk points out that:

1. A quorum of 15 is required for the business of a general meeting. The minutes record that only 11 people were present at the 2005 AGM, therefore it was an invalid meeting.

2. A person ceases to be a member when his or her annual subscription has not been received by 31 August. While people who had joined five days or less before the 2006 AGM were deemed ineligible to vote, it would be interesting to know how many people were allowed to do so who fell foul of this rule. Had it been applied, many might not have been able to vote (and it may have felled some of the handmaidens on the executive).

David Edwards has simply swept all this aside, saying on ABC Local Radio, that he is indeed the President and intends to remain so. He also said that Margot Giblin and I had tried to stack the AGM.

What?

We publicised the existence of Friends of the Foreshore, which is against against a walkway, and the crossover with the BPSCCA executive, which has paid lip service to greater public access but has effectively worked against it.  We publicised the AGM, and most heinously, Margot, then on the committee, put a receipt book in the Battery Point Post Office so people could join easily — a book removed four days before the AGM. Three people asked me to join them up. I rang two couples to ask them to join and come to the AGM, one did, one didn’t.  Margot didn’t ring anyone.

We nominated each other for the committee; she has been on it for years. And I nominated Margaret Reynolds for President. That’s three people out of eleven needed for the executive. Hardly a takeover, although it’s true we thought it time for a new president. But the Bruvvers wanted David Edwards to stay, because he is their man. The upshot was that the executive remained exactly as it was, with one exception: Margot was dumped in favour of a handmaiden.

They partied afterwards in the little Community Hall. From the restaurant across the road, you could hear the cheering. And now? Well, the Association is a closed shop.

At this point. I want to issue a challenge to Kevin Bonham. Dr Bonham was the returning officer for the evening and I call upon him to declare the AGM null and void.

Margaretta Pos

At this point. I want to issue a challenge to Kevin Bonham. Dr Bonham was the returning officer for the evening and I call upon him to declare the AGM null and void.

(The Mercury report, Tuesday)