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Multicultural Council of Tasmania special general meeting adjourned by overwhelming votes

The Multicultural Council of Tasmania is a peak body representing Multicultural communities of Tasmania. Anna Reynolds, Ex- CEO , and the then, 14 Board members worked collaboratively and took the organisation to new heights by lobbying with the government and finally acquiring Multicultural Hub, in Moonah, Hobart, as common space for communities to utilise.

The special meeting called by the Multicultural Council of Tasmania on 13th July 2020, ended, when Mrs Reshma Dutta produced evidence that the Special General Meeting was held in Breach of Section 13:2 of MCOT’s Constitution, which states that " the NOTICE of a S.G.M. shall be given by the public officer...".She stated it demonstrated poor Governance, negligence and lack of Duty of Care on the part of MCOT’s Board by not doing due diligence prior to organising the Special General Meeting. Evidence produced by Mrs Reshma Dutta, clearly  showed that the public officer currently registered with Department of Justice, Consumer Affairs (CBOS) for MCOT is not the person who gave notice for the Special General Meeting.  The notice was given by the current CEO of MCOT, Duncan Spender,  who is not the Public Officer,  therefore, Mrs Reshma Dutta moved the motion that the meeting must not continue because it was in breach of the provisions of section 13:2 of MCOT’s constitution. The motion was then passed overwhelmingly  in favour to adjourn the meeting. However, various community leaders who attended seemed upset with the proposed amendments of the constitution and were given the opportunity to share their views. The major amendment proposed was to reduce the board positions to 5 (two members co-opted by five board members which will make it 7), from a total of 14 members currently. Very strong views were  expressed by a large number of members that this was not the right thing to do.  Multicultural communities in Tasmania have grown significantly and it would be appropriate to consider increasing the board members and not decrease it by 50%!!. Many significant community leaders spoke against the need for this change.

Some members suggested that these proposed changes were diabolicaly dangerous because it vested executive power in just 2 people. While the election of Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson and the Executive in the current constitution is vested in the members who through a democratic process elect the above office bearers. However, the new amendments propose this to be removed and only elected board members to decide Chairperson. Sajini Kumar who is the founder of Multicultural Council of Women and was an ex- board member called the changes a Human right violation and discriminatory. Councillor Mike Dutta proposed a sub- committee be formed of financial members of council to review all proposed amendments to constitution prior to calling another meeting to vote on changes. Few members suggested to have ratio of independent members to become part of the board to be reduced and allow more community representatives to input in affairs of Multicultural Council.

In the current environment of Covid-19, it has been possible through various online meeting platforms to arrange large meetings. This could be perfect timing for Multicultural Council of Tasmania to increase the board members, this will augur well for diversity of views to be expressed, by increasing and not by decreasing the number of board members. 

“New migrants who have come recently should be given opportunity to be on the Multicultural council board”, said Raj Chopra. Do you agree with the proposed changes to the current constitution?  Please share your views via email or contact us on our Facebook page. (email: editorial@diversetassie.com.au )

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