In case you hadn’t heard, there’s an election on.
From yesterday’s Sunday Age “Heckler” page:
THE DIRT: Politicians are trying to stack the outspoken Public Transport Users Association. The association is facing elections and there has been a flurry of nominations by Labor and even Liberal political staffers. What happens if Team Brumby takes over the PTUA? First press release might read something like “why Melbourne has the best public transport system in the world”, followed by “Overcrowding, what overcrowding?”
It’s worth pointing out that yesterday after some discussion, four of the Labor people withdrew their nominations (though as of now, only two have been received in writing), when they realised how bad it looked, but there are still at least two running.
Of course, all these people may well have a legitimate interest in public transport issues, but even if it’s not a deliberate stacking attempt, the effect would still be the same if a number from either side got in — a loss of the organisation’s independent voice.
While it’s good for any organisation to get new blood, new ideas and new perspectives from time to time, I’d argue that bashing down the door and booting out other active people is not generally the best way to do it.
It’s going to be an interesting week.
PS. I’ve spoken to Leo McGarry, and I have no trouble believing that the minister’s office has nothing to do with any of this.
Update Friday morning. All those directly party-linked withdrew, and it was a relatively peaceful AGM. Two motions were passed unanimously by the membership to highlight the importance of the organisation being independent, and to ask the committee to look into strengthening that.