Last night, the constitutional reform proposal failed to proceed with the Yes vote getting only around six five per cent of the vote.
I say 'only' because while that is a clear majority, it is not the required 75 per cent you need for constitutional reform.
The vote was maddening because of, what on the surface, looks like completely irrational thinking.
Those against the vote continually criticised Max Donnelly, expressing their desire to see him leave the club. However, by voting against the reforms, they ensured he would have a further tenure at the club, probably for another 12 months.
Those against the vote repeatedly called for the club to be restored to member's hands, yet voted against a scenario that would see the almost immediate hand-over to a board made-up of three-year member, selected via a merit-based process. Instead, the club will remain in control of the administrator, with members once again powerless. Donnelly cannot be removed while the status quo exists, regardless of how many signatures the agitators manage to collect.
The reality is that a Yes vote, would give rise to an election within 18 months. After the orderly transition of power to qualified members, the membership would have the option of booting out those selected to run the interim board and choose whoever they like.
So it makes no sense, right?
Unfortunately, it does, because those campaigning for 'no', realise that constitutional reform will effectively end their board ambitions. These little blocks of fifty votes carry no weight when the entire membership base of tens of thousands of eligible voting members are able to use postal or proxy voting. Nor will the tried-and-trusted strategy of using former players to pull the rest of a ticket over the line succeed when every candidate will be voted upon based on their own merits.
The No vote is once against just another example of the factionalism that has plagued this club for close to a decade and which the reforms are specifically designed to break-down. As Paul Garrard said prior to embarking on his disgraceful, racist rant, 'this process has brought the factions together'. You know what, we don't want any factions. We just want seven, independently-minded, well-qualified members to site on the board and oversee good governance.
Unfortunately, the reality is that we're never going to get seventy-five per cent over the line. While the factions can dig up 75 votes, it means the Yes vote needs the support of 225 members and 300 people are required to turn up to one of these meetings. I don't think I've seen 300 people at any General Meeting.
However, what last night delivered Max Donnelly was a mandate. With well over sixty per cent of the vote, it was a clear majority that voted for constitutional reform. Donnelly must now push ahead with the reforms. He does not need that vote to put in place an initial board. Even if he puts in place an advisory board that effectively operates in lieu of an official board, the club cannot remain in a holding pattern for another 12 months. We must move forward.
In 12 months times, meet again. Pass the postal/proxy voting, and then re-start elections. Ideally, legalities will have allowed the initial seven to exist as an official board and the triennial process can start immediately, but if not and we must suffer a seven-man election, I think it's reasonable for that to occur under the new regime and where there is some incumbency from the advisory board.
Because what was once again clear last night, is the factions still exist, albeit in smaller numbers. But our Leagues Club must ensure that no longer will the broader membership of tens of thousands be held hostage to the self-interested actions of the factions. Given the clear majority vote last night, Max Donnelly must push forward with the reforms using whatever means is available to him.