The 109 year-old RACQ is facing a shake-up. Gabi Nehring is accusing the 10 member board of undermining the democratic process for their own personal aggrandisement. This subversion happens through the use of a 40 year-old rule in the club’s constitution; one, Ms Nehring believes, is unfair and out of keeping with current business practices.

The 40 year-old rule stipulates that ballot papers may be discarded if less than 5 per cent of the members in the regional area fail to vote in a board election. When this happens the board is empowered to pick candidates to fill vacant positions. It is also empowered to pck the board governing the insurance arm of RACQ.

Image: acronymsandslang.com

Image: acronymsandslang.com

Ms Nehring believes the board have made the voting process deliberately difficult to minimise the number of ballots received.

“They are exploiting voter apathy to take control. My concern and the concern of many members is that this undemocratic process has opened up the possibility for corruption.”

No board vote has reached the minimum 5 per cent since the 1970s. Since that time members have been appointing each other in can only be described as a quid pro quo boys club. Some members have served on the board for 16 years, virtually unopposed.

The clandestine nature of these appointments becomes a little more dubious when you consider the collective salaries of the 10 members approximate $1.3 million a year.

With millions of members the RACQ has become the biggest financial entity in the state of Queensland. As lawyer and vocal opponent of the voting system John William McDonald said, “No member of the current board of the RACQ has been elected by the members.”

Out-going President for the RACQ Geoff Leddy said the rule existed to protect the club’s billions of dollars of assets being appropriated by small political factions. Factions on the board could strip and redirect these assets to the detriment of the club.

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