In October last year, when I nominated to join the board of Electronic Frontiers Australia, I didn't know a lot about the organisation, but I learned quickly how important EFA is to digital rights in Australia, and as an ally to other civil society organisations. EFA started 24 years ago, it’s a significant legacy, and this year the board have remained committed to keeping the lights on, while we keep fighting for digital rights in Australia.
It is very easy for small organisations to become overwhelmed by the amount of work involved. And with questions asked about the financial state of the organisation before the last AGM it was always likely that there would be challenges.
The extent of those challenges have been larger than anticipated. The board learned income tax debts from previous years hadn’t been paid, and late this year we found that superannuation debts to a former employee are still outstanding from years earlier than had been recorded in the accounting system. The outstanding debts were not made fully known to the board or recorded accurately in the accounting system, and they were not accurately disclosed in last year’s AGM financials. Frankly this is inexcusable.
An independent audit is currently being done and we anticipate the report being released before the AGM.
I cannot express how serious it is for board members and officers to ensure accurate record keeping; and it’s a requirement under the South Australian Corporations Act.
The thought of winding up EFA had crossed the minds of board members several times throughout the year. It is is a testament to the board we have, the governance we put in place, and the support of members and organisations that EFA is viable today.
We have a board election coming up. I need you to help me make sure the future of EFA keeps improving.
This is what we need:
- Doers. People who will roll their sleeves up, attend meetings (we meet fortnightly), take on tasks and get them done.
- People with experience - governance, finance, business, law, communications, volunteer management, membership management
- People that will own a role and do it - in the next year we need better membership engagement and to make better use of the volunteers who want to help
- People that care
We also believe that diversity is critical; that critical diversity is a combination of gender, background and experience.
The board’s job is to manage the organisation to keep it functioning, and continuing its mission of promoting and protecting digital rights. If you fit these requirements we need you to nominate. If you know someone who would fit the bill, tell them and ask them to nominate.
As members please vote for people that you believe give the organisation the best chance of ongoing success.
We have achieved so much this year, you will see proof of that in our AGM reports. For an organisation that financially could have easily folded, members should be very proud. I am.
If you are sitting on the fence feel free to reach out to me on twitter or email chair [@] efa.org.au for a chat - I'm very supportive of women, diversity and inclusion. If you have something to offer but you need a confidence boost before putting your hand up I am an excellent person to have an honest chat with. I can also tell you about other opportunities such as our policy team and ideas for volunteers, campaigns and communications next year.
We are all looking forward to 2019.
Nominations is easy. Become a member or renew or make sure your membership is up to date by 11:59pm Saturday, 27 October, 2018 (this Saturday). And then tell us about you.
Nominees are requested to provide the following, for inclusion in the Notice of Meeting:
- a brief bio, indicative length the same as the current Directors' bios (250-400 words)
- a brief statement of your intentions as a Member of the board of the EFA (indicative length 100-200 words)
Please submit all nominations to secretary [@] efa.org.au
Please do not nominate someone without their knowledge or consent.
If you have any questions, inquiries or want to check your membership status, please address them to:
secretary [@] efa.org.au
Secretary, Electronic Frontiers Australia