The Age’s daily gossip column has weighed in on the contested RACV election with this lead item
today. And we keep hearing from a variety of sources that the RACV
board are spitting chips about the non-disclosure of Mr and Mrs Crikey
being married. However, this can also work against us as this email
from member Sophie Capodanno demonstrates:

ballot has been really badly handled! I agree your married status should have
been revealed, or at least the fact that you were running as a
team. They told
us the other two were current directors. I feel
silly and embarrassed because I voted for you and incumbent Suzanna Sheed. As an ABC listener I am aware of your
profile and thought your appointment would be a refreshing change for the old
guard, but I would have voted for Paula as well if I had realised she was
your wife and you were running as a team. Anyway I think the John Rawlins letter to the
charity he chairs is a disgrace. How did he get away with that?

If you have a look back
at recent RACV elections,
it is clear that women incumbents do better
than men, which is partly why I persuaded Paula to run. When John
Rawlins was last up in 2002, he only got 16,280 votes compared with the
other incumbent, Promina and David Jones director Paula Dwyer, who got

The old guard are clearly worried that another well presented Paula,
Mrs Crikey, will knock off Rawlins as the incumbents have pooled their resources and advertised in nine
local papers, plus distributed flyers on windscreens across
parts of Melbourne. However, it is their system which only allows a
photo, professional qualifications, memberships and directorships to be
disclosed to voters. Paula got a professional photographer in and paid
$200 to make her “look like the AAMI woman”. Check out the results here.

It is also interesting to see what material is included in the RACV’s concise annual
report that is sent to members inside the October RoyalAuto, which
contains all the electoral information.

There is nothing on board fees, yet the full financial report,
which we picked up from the $200 million RACV headquarters yesterday,
reveals that the 15 non-executive directors
were each paid between $50,000 and $59,000 last year. When you consider
that 7 blokes on the board have served for 19 years or more, it has
been a nice little earner over a long period for not having to do too much at all.

We picked up another 300 ballot papers yesterday so if you’d like to vote, email
your address to [email protected] or just ring the RACV hotline on
1300 365 699 and ask them to send out another copy. Go on, there is a real
chance one of us could get up here and it would give shareholder
activism in Australia a huge boost. Why not send all your Victorian mates an email urging a vote for the Crikey reform team?