Loss of Trust: The de-democratisation of the National Trust

National Trust of Australia (Victoria) members attending Saturday’s Annual General Meeting criticized the board for the de-democratization of the National Trust, a decision that that could very easily reignite the division and distrust in the National Trust Executive.

The board, without consultation with the membership, had acted to remove a thirty year tradition of electing members of the board by proportional representation –  replacing it by a first-past-the-post ‘multiple cross’ voting system.  This did not become an issue of contention this year as members of the Board were re-elected unopposed, whoever under a first-past-the-post voting system the board runs the risk of no longer being representative of the Trust membership.

The National Trust Board has promised to re-look at the question with the aim of taking the issue back to the Trust members although no commitment was given by the Chairman, Dr. Graeme L Blackman OAM, that the board would in fact do so.

This issue could become divisive and may see the Trust divided as it was back in the late 1990’s when the board, to the dismay and outrage of its members, overturned the recommendations of the Trust’s Expert Committee opposed to the development of the Museum at the Royal Exhibition Buildings.

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