Thanks for acknowledging NRMA Motoring
& Service’s political power on the petrol issue in yesterday’s Crikey. We have been
working with consumer, industry, business and tourism groups as well as
the State and Federal governments to get a better deal for motorists.
Today’s NRMA Petrol Summit is the culmination of that. We are
delighted that since the Prime Minister has returned to Australia he
has already stopped another hike in excise and is sending a federal
Minister to our Summit after previously labelling it a talkfest all the
way from New York.

That’s what NRMA is supposed to do on behalf of our
two million members.

Indeed, if we did not address issues
which adversely affect our members then we could be accused of being
asleep at the wheel, since I have taken over as President rather than
being a one man band I have asked each Director to assist the Board and
I by taking, take responsibility for specific areas of concern affecting
motorists, in Gary Punch’s case he has responsibility for motoring
costs which includes fuel and thus he along with me will comment
publicly on the issue of petrol cost.

In response to your claims about political bias, let me refer your
readers to my response last time you said this on ABC 702 Sydney.

I should also point out your suggestion
that it is an ALP Board unfairly maligns the whole Board; the only two
members of the Board who have had ALP connections are myself and Gary
Punch. In my case it is now 11 years since I worked for a Labor
Minister and in the interval as a Public Servant I have successfully
served a number of Liberal Ministers. In Gary Punch’s case it is ten
years since he has been in politics and in the interval he has been the
CEO of The Cotton Growers Association, hardly a bunch of screaming
lefties, and subsequently a successful lawyer with a major law firm.

I think you also unfairly maligned Board members like Laurie Maher, Jan
McClelland, Robert Hugh and Geoff Toovey in particular in terms of
their political allegiance as even I do not know who Geoff, Jan, Laurie
or Robert support politically. As a Board we have never and do not
look at issues from a political perspective but rather what is best for
our members and have happily called politicians of all hues to
account. I am also sure Graham Blight, Michael Tynan and Wendy Machin
could hardly be classified as ALP apparatchiks. So, out of a nine
member Board, two with known ALP connections hardly constitute a

By the way, NRMA is doing some
interesting and innovative things to revitalise our election process,
including an election incentive program for members and offering web
links to candidates and groups contesting the election for the first
time. Check it all out at

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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