Fair Trading review of Associations


There is now a very good opportunity for members and ex-members to make changes to the way associations, such as WIRES, operate in NSW. The NSW Department of Fair Trading has released a discussion paper about how associatons can be better managed and you can make a submission.

As anyone who has contacted the Department of Fair Trading knows, the present Associations Incorporation Act does not give the Department the power to investigate internal problems within WIRES or any association. The Department has no power to take action against management of an association when the management disregards the organisation's constitution. WIRES knows this and uses it to their advantage. This leaves ordinary members at the mercy of the management. 

Submissions are due by 6 December 2013.

You can read the Discussion Paper and make your submission on the NSW Fair Trading’s website.

Things to Consider

Go to topGo straight to commentsAdd a commentAs part of the national overhaul of charities, the NSW government is looking to change the way incorporated associations are regulated. Some key points under consideration:

  • Should the department have powers to appoint an independent returning officer for association elections?
    There have been many alegations of unfairness in the conduct of elections in WIRES.
  • Should the Commisioner for Fair Trading have the power to issue public warnings about offending associations?
    WIRES greatest concern is its image - PR is everything. Public awareness of misconduct could be a way of inducing better standards of behaviour.
  • Should pre-litigation mediation be manditory for associations? 
    WIRES knows that there is little the average member can do in disputes short of expensive civil litigation. WIRES has a lot of donated money and you don't. WIRES does not have to listen and has in the past avoided attempts at mediation.
  • Should the Commisioner have the power to order manditory standards of practice?
    The WIRES constitution is badly written and regularly ignored. Sometimes it is interpreted in a way that suits management. Manditory directions could overcome this problem.
  • Should the Commissioner be able to ban individuals from holding office?
    Certain people have a long history of bullying and other misconduct - they are recidivist offenders. Perhaps they should not be given an oportunity to continue to abuse others by gaining power in organisations.
  • Should members be able to enforce the rules in the Local Court?
    Besides expensive litigation before the Supreme Court, there is little anyone can do to stop associations breaking the rules at the moment. 
  • Should discousure of interests be recorded in the minutes made available to members?
    There have been many allegations of board members receiving personal gain through employment or contracts with WIRES. The board keeps its meetings secret with minutes not released. This should be stopped - the members have a right to transparency.
  • Should the Commissioner have the power to deregister an association?
    At the moment, WIRES knows there is no real penalty for dishonest conduct. Severe penalty might encourage honesty in the managment of associations.
  • Should the act prohibit deceptive or misleading conduct?
    Oh yes! I think so. The public should know that WIRES spends nearly none of its donations on direct care of animals, even though it uses this as a marketing device. This should change.


# animal loverfriend 2014-04-06 18:04
how many years/terms can the wires council and board members stay in their positions for and what about those who are related to each other?
# concernedcosmo 2014-04-06 18:00
I have recently heard that there have been meetings going on behind the back of the wires reptile team members to talk about some new reptile team in Sydney? Has anyone else heard this?
# membermember 2014-02-28 18:01
With all of what has gone on in WIRES with respect to treating members wrongly, I am wondering if anyone has gone public or what can be done to make some in HO and on the BOARD accountable? How can they get away with all of this for so long?
WIRES member (at present)
a guest
# RE: Fair Trading review of Associationsa guest 2013-12-08 06:45
My wish list Minister Roberts.

Give your department the power to get WIRES to –
Stop WIRES using the Council minutes to tell a different story to what is really happening.
Stop WIRES using the minutes to embarrass members some board members don’t like.
Stop WIRES bullying, harassing and discriminating against members.
Stop WIRES pushing and expelling members out of WIRES without due process.
Stop WIRES using WHS as an excuse to bully members.
Stop WIRES employing relatives of board members.
Stop WIRES from having the same members on the board year after year and force a turnover so younger members get a go and encouragement.
Stop WIRES ignoring the conflict of interest by the husband of the secretary doing performance reviews of the board and council year after year.
Stop WIRES board members standing for the board when they have grievances against them.
Stop WIRES board from using donations to have a go at members outside the constitution.
Stop WIRES Chair and Secretary from ignoring branch agenda items.
Stop WIRES defaming members and branches that have different views.
Stop WIRES from the destruction of branch records.
Do get WIRES to re-write their Constitution and policies by a professional
Do get WIRES to write policies that conform and are not on conflict with the Constitution.

Do get WIRES to be democratic, transparent and ethical.
Do get WIRES to give each member to the right to vote at Board elections and to be able to stand for election to the Board.
Do get WIRES to set up a procedure to deal with complaints against the Board.
Do get WIRES to give members a cheap way to go to court when they are expelled without due process.
Do get WIRES to stop the Board from wasting donors money on lawyers to have a go at members they don’t like.
Do get WIRES to follow their Constitution and not make it up as you go.
Do give members a say in how donations and bequests are spent.

If you do this Minister, WIRES would be a fantastic place for its members to work and united happy members would mean better care for the wildlife.
At last!
# RE: Fair Trading review of AssociationsAt last! 2013-11-26 18:46
This is fantastic news! I will be putting in a submission. This is vindication that those that have been vocal about the unfair treatment of volunteers within WIRES were speaking the truth and that self regulation does not work.
# No one is listeningSued-o-nim 2013-11-20 21:48
whoever is the current paranoid nutter,
no one is listening to your ravings on this pathetic hate site.
Better make up a new bunch of pseudonyms and pretend you're still relevant.
Or better yet just give up and find a more worthy target - Abbot is PM, there must be something better you can do with your talents.
# At a Stan still againnan-o-war 2013-11-28 20:50
Since the beginning of this site there has been one person who goes on posting about this site being a hate site and makes constant references to the liberal party being the real evil and this site being anti-ALp conspiracy and everyone who comments as being vindictive nuts. Most of the time this guy hides their identity like a coward yet bag out everyone else for remaining anonymous. at the start they gave their name - STAN WOOD former chair of wires. Its all the same language over and over but the name changes all the time and you criticise others for using pseudonyms? Still here having a look aren't you Stan , not so irrelevant after all. do as you say not as you do as usual.
# RE: At a Stan still againMargaret 2013-11-30 17:12
And he is still up there at Coffs pulling the strings.
Reality Check
# RE: At a Stan still againReality Check 2013-12-18 23:15
Not what I've heard. He's no longer
in WIRES and spends a lot of time out
of NSW playing grey nomad.
# RE: Fair Trading review of Associationsvindicated 2013-11-19 10:11
Goes to show that the Minister for Fair Trading and the lawyers in his office have been listening to members of Associations and those in WIRES asking for help against the almighty power of management. Your story rw on the untouchables was right but if these changes go through they will be touchable and will have to answer for what they have done. Need to support the suggestions members as WIRES and other Associations will try to have the proposals watered down.
# RE: Fair Trading review of Associationsmember 2013-11-18 20:19
This is an opportunity for members of WIRES to support the nsw government to make changes to the law so Fair Trading has more power to control the internal governance of associations such as WIRES. This would give some protection to members against unfair treatment and decisions made by the Board against them which are in breach of WIRES Constitution. Domino you have covered it well. It is a simple form to complete members and you no doubt have more ideas for the Department of Fair Trading to consider to get a better say in what the WIRES Board does and protection of your rights.
It will be a lot easier for members who have been wrongly expelled or hounded out of WIRES to get justice if they only have to go to the local court instead of the supreme court.

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