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30 Nov 2018

RSL NSW responds to statements in today’s Daily Telegraph on the proposed new RSL NSW constitution

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MEDIA STATEMENT

Today’s Daily Telegraph includes reporting on an employment dispute between RSL National and its former CEO, Ms Georgie Macris. That matter is properly one for RSL National to speak to.

Unfortunately, the article also makes several statements relating to the proposed new RSL NSW constitution which need to be corrected.

RSL NSW is engaged in comprehensive reform of its governance and structure. This addresses matters which arose in the 2017 Bergin inquiry into charitable fundraising as well as investigations by the charities’ regulator ACNC. A new constitution has been proposed for the charity. This will be voted on by members at an extraordinary general meeting on Tuesday, 4th December 2018.

The proposed new constitution has been developed through numerous consultation sessions with thousands of members in recent months. A 30-strong consultation panel of rank and file league members also volunteered to assist with the process.

The new constitution aims to reduce the burden of regulatory compliance and make compliance easier. It fosters transparency and efficiency clarifies accountability amongst the League’s many office-holders and reduces the risk of unnecessary legal risk for individual league members. Most importantly, the new constitution introduces measures and controls needed to ensure that RSL NSW can return to fundraising which supports our ongoing mission of providing support to veterans and their families.

Currently, 160 of the League’s 352 sub-Branches are at risk of closing due to their inability to resume fundraising. These sub-Branches are smaller and mostly in country areas. We must help them to operate and provide support to veterans and local communities. The proposed constitutional changes are designed to ensure RSL NSW can remain sustainable for decades to come.

A small group of metropolitan sub-Branches, who between them have substantial combined charitable assets, have previously threatened legal action to prevent the 4 December meeting going ahead. Following this, RSL NSW met with representatives of this group and heard their concerns. To date, RSL NSW has not been notified that any proceedings have been commenced.

It is critical that this meeting proceeds and that members be allowed to have their say. More than 275 of the League’s sub-Branches have registered to attend the meeting next week and cast their vote on the best way forward.

Major reform of RSL NSW is long overdue. The issues involved are complex, and of course there will be disagreement on the best path forward. The members of RSL NSW are committed to change and to restoring public trust in our League. The sooner we fix our governance issues, the sooner we can return to focusing on our mission of supporting Australia’s veterans and their families. This year, RSL NSW has provided support to more than 3000 military families.

ENDS

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