Nothing
about the current RACV election has appeared in Crikey since the 1.3
million ballot papers went out in the latest edition of Royal Auto
two weeks ago, but the directors being challenged by Mr and Mrs Crikey
seem to be very nervous about losing. How else do you explain the
appearance of advertisements in local papers urging members to vote for
the incumbents, John Rawlins and Suzanna Sheed?

Similarly, a
snout has advised that Rawlins has sent the following letter to the
entire mailing list of Riding for the Disabled, a charity that he
chairs:

Dear passionate fellow member of Riding for the Disabled

A friend in need is a friend indeed!

It
has come round to that time of year when the RACV elections are on
again. I am one of the two RACV directors seeking re-election. It seems
to be my luck, but this time as it was 3 years ago, it looks as if it
will be a very close fight. This year the sitting directors are being
challenged by Stephen Mayne of Crikey.com notoriety and his wife
running as a team which is not stated on the ballot papers.

Most
of the analysts of this election (including myself) believe that I am
the most likely not to be re-elected, so I am writing to say I really
need your support and would greatly appreciate your vote. If you felt
that you could mention my predicament to any of your friends or pass
this on to them it would be truly wonderful support.

All members of the RACV, both Club and Roadside Service, are eligible to vote. The ballot papers are attached to this month’s Royal Auto. So please don’t just toss it in the bin. Voting closes on 13th
October, which seems a long time away, but don’t leave it too late.
Below are a few details of my “platform”, if you want to know more
about what I stand for. Suzanna is my fellow retiring director and we
are standing as a team.

Many thanks, John Rawlins

Is that really appropriate? Well, two can play at that game. This is what Oscar winningHarvey Crumpet producer Melanie Coombs (granddaughter of Nugget) sent to a group of her friends:

Hello All,

Now I know that like me you probably never even open the Royal Auto
magazine that the RACV send out to us Roadside Assist members but I am
urging you to do so! This month’s edition – which hopefully you haven’t
tossed out yet – includes a ballot paper to vote for the RACV board.

Now
is your chance to be part of changing the culture of the RACV. Like
many I think that over the years the RACV has changed from doing things
that help all members to slowly but surely giving ‘Club’ members more
and more…..But, never fear, Stephen Mayne and Paula Piccinini of
Crikey fame are standing and you can vote for them! Be part of making
the RACV accountable to all members and give the Melbourne Club boys on
the board a bit of a shake up. All you have to do is tick the box and
pop your ballot in the reply paid envelope and post it off. Voting
closes on 13 October 2005. If you’ve thrown out your Royal Auto and want a ballot paper I suggest calling the RACV election hotline on 1300 365 699

Best, Melanie Coombs

It
is also surprising that the largest contested election in Victoria this
year can pass unremarked by the mainstream media. Do a Google search and
you only get this Wikipedia entry, plus this package
of Crikey Daily material on our website. Surely after the dramatic
election of Will Fowles to the MCC Committee, a contested election at
the next stuffiest Victorian institution is worth a mention. There is a
genuine chance that either Paula or I can knock off Rawlins, as his
plaintive plea for votes above attests.

Check out the RACV information sheet about the four candidates here.
As you can see, we haven’t gone out of our way to identify ourselves as
husband and wife, but it’s not actually that easy to do when no
candidate statement is allowed. Paula would have had to drop her maiden
name, which she still uses, and use her old Crikey email address. If
the RACV old guard are complaining that our married status should have
been disclosed, what about Rawlins not revealing he was a director of
failed Victorian merchant bank Tricontinental for five years during his
“distinguished” banking career.

Finally, it is quite outrageous
that the other incumbent candidate, Suzanna Sheed, was allowed to
include the following in her director profile in the annual report:

She has a strong interest in the future of rural Australia
and as a director is keen to represent the the interests of rural
Victoria. A rural advocate, Ms Sheed is actively involved in committees
associated with land and water management and the environment and local
community issues.

That goes way above the
qualifications and work experience details that we were limited to and
given that more than 20% of RACV members live outside Melbourne, it
will no doubt boost her vote by several thousand.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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