They have the whip hand also on the Battery Point Advisory Committee, to which the Hobart City Council sends all Battery Point development applications for advice.
The Bruvvers don’t want members of the community they purport to represent to join the Association. If the numbers are small, they are in control, while claiming to be the voice of the community, be it to the Hobart City Council, the Tasmanian Government, the media or anyone they lobby.
And lobby they do. Why, the night before Saturday’s rally (October 14) to gauge public support for greater access to the Battery Point foreshore, John White, who has been on the executive for years, rang one of the speakers to try to sweet talk said speaker into not turning up. And only today (October 16), a nameless handmaiden rang to warn me I was “skating on very thin ice.”
About 150 people turned up at the rally, with its clarion cry of “Foreshore For All.” It was a political issue but speakers were across the political spectrum: Greg Barns, Cassy O’Connor, David Diprose, Mike Tatlow, John Freeman, Margot Giblin and me. Plus messages from Helen Burnet, and Henry and Margaret Reynolds.
And a message from waterfront resident, David Marriner, who gave voice to his belief that “the public should not be excluded from the foreshore area.” Marriner has sandstone paved steps on either side of his Clarke Ave jetty sliprails, consistent with his view that “the area is, and always should be, publicly accessible.”
When the meeting was open to anyone who wanted to speak, another courageous Clarke Ave resident told the gathering his family would kill him for saying so, but in his heart, he couldn’t oppose a walkway.
There were two petitions, which 127 people signed. One was to the Hobart City Council, to compulsorily acquire any private land between low and high water marks and to proceed with a development plan for a scramble track around the foreshore. The other was to the State Government, as landlord, to give approval for the HCC to prepare a development plan for a scramble track.
A number of people made a side note that they wanted a walkway, and many more said that was what they sought. It was clear the majority wanted a low impact walkway, but as organisers of the rally, Margot Giblin and I wanted to gauge public support for a low tide scramble track, as an immediate and realisable goal.
But back to the Exclusive Bruvvers. The upshot of a legal opinion sought by John Freeman was that the Association, which is an incorporated body, was in breach of its constitution on a number of counts.
There is nothing in the constitution that prevents people from voting in an AGM if they join in the preceding five days. Yet this ‘rule’ was invoked at the October 3rd AGM, effectively disenfranchising many people. Most importantly, the minutes record that only 11 people attended the 2005 AGM, although there must be a quorum of fifteen. Therefore the Association has been operating illegally, so the election of office bearers at the 2006 AGM was invalid.
As a result, one man in the crowd volunteered to collect the signatures of the ten members needed to call a special general meeting, in order to elect a new committee and office bearers. This will be given to the public officer, David Edwards, who is the erstwhile president.
But there is a problem. How can people renew their membership or join the Association? Information on the notice board of the Community Hall in Hampden Rd has gone. And a membership receipt book in the Battery Point Post Office, where people could pay the $5 annual subscription, was removed by erstwhile treasurer Fiona Murton several days before the AGM.
David Edwards wasn’t at the rally, but erstwhile senior vice president Ken Hosking was there, as was erstwhile junior vice president Paddy Turnbull. Neither offered to assist. When asked how to contact David Edwards, Paddy Turnbull shouted: “He’s in the phone book.”
The special general meeting must be called by the public officer 21 days after receiving the petition.
But there’s a catch: a clause in the constitution, which hasn’t been used in recent years, says you must be nominated by a member. But how in the hell is anyone to know who is a member?
Another problem: the special general meeting has to be advertised “in a Tasmanian newspaper.” Which means you have to keep an eagle eye out for small public notices. And once it is advertised, nominations for executive positions have to reach the public officer no later than five days before the meeting.
It all means that if you want a clean sweep, you will have to force your way into the Association, find out when the SGM is going to be held, get nomination forms for candidates from David Edwards and return them in time, and turn up on the night to vote.
As I said at the start, it’s shameful. Meanwhile, there is a clause in the constitution on how to expel members. I’m waiting for my expulsion notice!
For the information of the public, the (erstwhile) executive elected at the recent Battery Point Sullivans Cove AGM is as follows:
President, David Edwards; senior vice president, Ken Hosking; junior vice president, Paddy Turnbull; treasurer, Fiona Murton; secretary, Jill Yeoland.
Committee: John White, Sally Shepherd, Barry Button, Paul Vellar, June Noble and Lorraine Vellar.
Public officer, David Edwards.
Shameful! That’s the only word for the Exclusive Bruvvers of Battery Point and their handmaidens (both male and female). The Bruvvers have long controlled the Battery Point Sullivans Cove Community Association (and its forerunners). It should be called the Battery Point Sullivans Cove Community of Bruvvers.