I went through what had brought about the voluntary administration and how all of us, including the State branches, had been completely blindsided by the EA board. This of course created huge concern, especially considering that NSW and Queensland had more than $1,000,000 in the bank and had not been asked to help out. Most of the other six States also had considerable amounts of money in their bank accounts.
The EA board of four — Peter Toft, John Glenn, Helen Hamilton-James and Cathi Collier — had gone to enormous lengths of secrecy and not properly informing the EA members of what was going on or what their intentions were.
I then mapped out some financial anomalies, which allowed the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) to remain a substantial creditor by leaving $363,990 frozen in the EA bank account days before the four board members called in the administrators. This is a little complicated, but is very irregular and if you were promoting a conspiracy theory you would have to be suspicious of prior knowledge on the part of the ASC and their intention to influence the outcome.
KordaMentha will walk away with a pay package in the vicinity of $500,000, which is interesting, especially when the EA was supposed to be imminently insolvent!
I did feel that the legal outcome of having KordaMentha involved had the potential to deliver a new revamped EA structure that would indeed be more efficient for all of us members and also allow members more transparency and potential to have input.
Today, KordaMentha has very efficiently managed to stick to the legal process and has kept all members well informed through emails and posting information on their website (https://kordamentha.com/).
Just harking back to the conspiracy theory, I am confident the EA board was advised to proceed with voluntary administration by persons other than those who are the main protagonists.
On 14 July, the second meeting of creditors was held by KordaMentha and we members voted for the Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA) put forward by KordaMentha, or conversely voted for the DOCA put forward by the state branches. A total of 77% of those EA members that voted were in favour of the DOCA put forward by KordaMentha. A truly resounding vote from the members embracing change. Things are never simple. Only 14% of members actually did vote. That is based on a membership of 17,492 at time of voting, according to KordaMentha.
All states wanted change and voted for the KordaMentha DOCA. All except Tasmania. Tasmania had 95% of their voting membership vote for the DOCA being put forward by the state branches. Why? There are some 308 Equestrian Tasmania members (at time of voting, according to KordaMentha). There are six states. So, under the old structure Tasmania and her 308 members are able to stand up and have the same voting power as NSW with 8,525 members (at time of voting, according to KordaMentha). The Tasmanians do not want “one member one vote”. In terms of influencing national meetings, Tasmania will subside into a minnow with very little or no influence in national policies. I think we can all sympathise with the Tasmanians, however, such is democracy. God knows that the whole EA mess is because of lack of democracy from a membership point of view.
The whole point of this last conversation is that 14% of EA members voted at this second creditors meeting on 14 July. Tasmania on the other hand had 74% of their membership cast a vote at this second creditors meeting. Who communicated to the majority of the Tasmanian state membership the issues at this 14 July meeting and conveyed the urgency of the issue to the Tasmanians? Who reached out and motivated the Tasmanian troops in a difficult time? As I mentioned, NSW has some 8,525 members and they had 684 members vote. That means that just 8% of the NSW membership voted on this 14 July meeting. The NSW membership certainly was not mobilised and motivated to vote as were the Tasmanians.