[Linux-aus] Linux Australia AGM Held

Bret Busby bret at busby.net
Sun Feb 2 00:00:01 UTC 2003

On Sun, 2 Feb 2003, Anand Kumria wrote:

> > , from the makeup of the committee, if NSW/ACT 
> > representation is removed, there are only two members left (of the 
> > seven); Victoria and WA, in terms of states/territories.
> > 
> > Perhaps, the new committee could review the constitution, in terms 
> > of themakeup of the committee, in terms of one representative position 
> > for each state/territory, so as to balance the representation.
> Why? Linux Australia isn't a representative body. Most other national
> bodies (e.g. AUUG) seem to run fine without geographical constraints in
> their constitiution.

Why not?

Whilst the feral parliament is an unrepresentative swill, at 
least someone, at some time, tried to ensure that all the states and 
territories were represented in the parliament.

It depends on whether you want Linux Australia to be simply Linux NSW, 
which it basically is, given the makeup of the committee, and given that 
the ACT is contained in NSW.

> I must say it is rather annoying that this complaint is coming from a
> West Australian. 50% of the attendees at Linux.Conf.Au were locals. From
> the attendence records I saw, only about 30% of the people at the AGM were
> locals.

It will be most unfortunate, if Linux NSW takes suggestions as 
complaints, and dismisses them as it cannot cope with constructive 

bigoted - "obstinately and blindly attached to some creed, opinion or 
party, and intolerant of others"
- Shorter Oxford Dictionary.

Let us hope that Linux NSW does not retain that bigotry, and, instead 
becomes Linux Australia, with regional representation, AND with the 
ability to accept and consider constructive suggestions.

And, regarding the complaint that, whilst 50% of the attendees at the 
conference were "locals", and, only 30% at the AGM were "locals", 
perhaps, you should have first enquired as to why people did not 
attend, rather than complaining about it.

Did you take any trouble to contact conference attendess, and ask them, 
as a feedback exercise, why they did not attend the AGM? If not, WHY 

"Damnant quod, non-intelligunt" - "They condemn what they do not 

Perhaps, then, you might have found that, whilst people who attended the 
conference were automatically made members, or, eligible for membership, 
a number of them did not know what that membership entailed. Did you 
bother to inform people at the conference, as to what the membership 
that they had obtained, or, to which they had become entitled (some are 
not sure as to which is the case), entailed - what it involved, what, if 
any benefits or rights or obligations, came with that membership?

Were attendees automatically members, or, did they have to apply, via 
the application forms with which they were issued? Why was that not 
clarified? Why did you not bother to make clear, their status?

Perhaps, also, you might have considered that the AGM was held in the 
evening, rather than the daytime, and, after a day at the conference, 
"locals" may have had families to go home to, and such, whereas 
"foreign" attendees at the conference likely did not have homes and 
families to go home to, in WA, in the evenings.

You might also, before complaining so loud about the lack of attendance 
of "locals" at the AGM, bother to consider that not all users of Linux, 
or others involved with Linux, in WA, attended the conference, for 
whatever reason.

The AGM was apparently part of the conference, as were the "BOF's", and 
thus, it appeared, as made clear with the "BOF's", that these events 
were only for conference attendees.

Perhaps, you might have taken the trouble, to have communicated a bit 
better, what was going on, rather than just whinging about the effects 
of your lack of communication.

> If I was going to make modifications -- and we probably are, so now is a
> reasonable place to discuss pros' and cons' -- you'd probably want
> something which ensures some degree of continuity.
> Something like what student clubs have (IPP: Immediate Past President)
> or similiar.

Whilst that can be of benefit, from the response to my suggestions, and, 
the position of the person who made that response, specifically the past 
position, I doubt the benefit of such a role. It would likely make it 
more an "old boy's club", clearly even more resistant to any new ideas 
or suggestions.

> > It is not that I have anything against any of the committee members - I 
> > hardly know them - but to me, my suggestion makes it more 
> > representative of the Australian federation, and therefore, it would 
> > make Linux Australia a more representative body, and therefore, its 
> > actions would be more likely to involve the interests of the whole of 
> > the country.
> Well, as you point out there are people from various states; but no one
> particular state has a majority in the committee. That should stop your
> immediate concern about one state or the other "taking over" the running
> of things.

NSW/ACT has control. Look at the numbers, since you raise the point of 
majorities. That was already addressed in my first email about the 
situation. Five out of seven, to me, is a significant majority. I 
believe that the usual term for such a majority (it may be two-thirds, 
or three quarters, depending on a specific constitution), is a Special 
majority, which can have special status, such as the authority to 
rescind previous resolutions, etc.

> In the past (since formation actually), NSW has always held a majority
> of positions on the committee. I don't think the previous committee have
> been tilted in favour of any particular state; in fact I think you'll
> find most of us have been at pains to ensure that that perception never
> arose.

That sounds like a self-contradiction to me.

> speaking for myself,
> Anand

Yeah, sure.

And self-appointed "Immediate Past President, if previous information 
is correct, about you being the immediate previous president, and, as 
an office-bearer of the organisation, which office is usually a member 
of the Executive of an organisation, which is of higher authority than 
a committee..

I strongly suggest that, if the committee really wants the organisation 
to progress and grow, the committee needs to start communicating with 
people outside the committee, and, the committee needs to accept 
constructive suggestions, and, to show that it is willing to listen to, 
and consider, constructive suggestions.

But, then again, maybe, it just wants to stay as Linux NSW, with its 
head in the ashes.

Bret Busby
West Australia

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
 you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
  Chapter 28 of 
  "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
  A Trilogy In Four Parts",
  written by Douglas Adams, 
  published by Pan Books, 1992 

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