Subject: Amalgamation
From: "" <>
Date: Sun, 8 May 2011 09:05:15 +1000
Thanks so much Bob for passing on Graeme's side of the story!
Reads very differently doesn't it ;)

I don't think you've done your cause any favours at all Reg. I love Inskip 
Point too but trying to divide your support base in such a way does more harm 
than good to me.
I certainly fail to see why we should all vote against the merger - especially 
when BOCA also WANT to merge.

David Stowe

On 07/05/2011, at 3:54 PM, Bob Cook wrote:

> Hi to all
> I was wondering why Reg had not yet posted his views to Birding-aus - so now
> he has.  To help allay people's concerns and offer the other side of this
> story, I therefore am happy to post below Graeme Hamilton's response.  As
> Graeme is happy for his response to be widely distributed, I thought it
> appropriate to send it to everyone who has received Reg Lawler's email.  My
> own opinion is that BA has handled this matter appropriately and that Reg
> Lawler is, at a very "politically sensitive" time, pursuing a personal
> agenda rather than one aimed at serving the interests of Australian birds
> and birders.
> Apparently the BASQ committee is also in the process of considering this
> matter.
> ======================================================
> Grahame and all,
> Here is my response to Reg Lawler's email.
> In mid 2010 Reg Lawler from "Citizens Helping Inskip Peninsula" contacted
> Alison and me to raise his concerns that a Birds Australia Councillor, Dr
> Justin Watson, was being employed by the developer of the proposed Rainbow
> Shores residential development on Inskip Peninsula. Mr Lawler considered
> this engagement of Dr Watson by a property developer to be incompatible with
> his position as a Councillor of BA. Alison and I called Mr Lawler for more
> information and we feel we gave him a good opportunity to fully raise all
> matters of concern with us. Mr Lawler also asserted that Dr Watson was
> scheduled to appear in court as an expert witness for the developer.
> Unfortunately, very soon after Alison and I spoke at length to Mr Lawler and
> reassured him we would take up the matter, he went public in the Brisbane
> newspapers with his assertion that BA was not actively opposing the Rainbow
> Shores development because of the involvement of Justin Watson.
> Justin Watson works as an Enviromental Consultant and so it was no surprise
> to us that he had been engaged by the property develop to undertake faunal
> surveys and to report to the developer on the environmental and conservation
> values of the site. A priori there was no reason to consider that the nature
> of this engagement per se presented any conflict of interest. As an
> Environment Consultant Justin is engaged by developers, governments and
> conservation NGOs alike to provide them with objective, scientifically-based
> reports which must be able to stand up to the scrutiny of expert opinion
> often in the courts. Environmental Consultants who are too willing to tailor
> their reports to support the case of their patrons very quickly are tainted
> with that reputation, and we can name a few examples. Justin and the
> business he works for do not have that reputation to my knowledge.
> Alison and I raised the matter with Justin who explained his involvement
> with Rainbow Shores, there appeared to be nothing that would be of concern
> to BA Council. He also clarified the situation with his court appearance
> where in fact he was required by the Court itself to appear as an expert
> witness and was not appearing on behalf of the developer. Justin offered to
> stand aside or stand down as a Councillor if this matter caused a problem
> for BA. Alison and I concluded this matter did not provide Justin or Council
> with a conflict of interest that had to be managed. The proposed Rainbow
> Shores development had not been discussed at Council nor was it likely to be
> as there was already considerable opposition from a large number of
> conservation groups who with the Queensland Government and Local Council
> were opposing the proposal in court. The oppostion was well supported and
> the matter appeared to be well in hand, and there seemed to be little
> additional BA could contribute at that time. I was also mindful that this
> was a matter for our Southern Queensland Regional Group not National Office
> or Council and I was aware BASQ was discussing appropriate survey methods
> for Black-breasted Button-quail specifically with Inskip Peninsula in mind.
> Additionally, as Inskip Peninsula forms part of an Important Bird Area I
> contacted Cheryl Gole our IBA Project Manager who informed me she had been
> assisting Greg Wood from "Citizens Helping Inskip Peninsula" with
> information about BirdLife International's global IBA program, and the
> Cooloola & Fraser Coast IBA to help bolster their case against the
> development. Such information proved very useful in halting the Ralph's Bay
> development in Tasmania.
> By January 2011 Mr Lawler thought that BA had not done enough and wrote to
> me saying he wished to inform all BA Members of his grievance. He asked for
> copies of our Constitution and By Laws, a list of all members and their
> contact details, and an outline of how members could express their views
> about the proposed merger with BOCA. I responsed to him on 21st January that
> the Constitution and By Laws were silent on the matter of members raising
> their concerns and that I could not release member contact details to him
> for privacy reasons. I informed him that the most appropriate way for a
> member to raise their concerns was via their Regional Group and made sure he
> had the contact's for the BA Southern Queensland Group Convenor Dez Wells. I
> informed Dez of the issue and forwarded all of the correspondence to him in
> early February. I also informed Mr Lawler that letters to the Editor of
> Wingspan and BA's E-news were available if Members had a particular concern
> they wished to raise including concerns about the propsed merger with BOCA.
> It does not appear that Mr Lawler has pursued any of these avenues to have
> his concerns raised and properly aired and dealt with, nor to seek our
> Regional Group to become directly involved in opposing the Rainbow Shores
> development. He is now saying that I refused any assistance which is simply
> not true. I made him aware of the direct avenues of communication open to
> him in particular through the BA Southern Queensland Regional Group.
> Mr Lawler is now urging Members to vote against the propsed merger with
> BOCA. He is entitled to come to his own conclusions. For my part I can only
> reiterate the principles on which the merger is based which include: that it
> will be treated as a true merger of two organisations not a takeover, and
> that both parties recognise and value the history, culture and values of the
> other party. That these principles are being followed should be clear to all
> from the make up of the Merger Working Group and its sub-Committees, the
> joint communications from the Presidents to Members, and the balance of the
> proposed Board of Directors of BirdLife Australia. It has been well
> communicated that if the merger proceeds I am proposed as the CEO, though
> this would be a decision for the new Board. I should point out that this was
> proposed by BOCA and was not imposed, required or even suggested by BA. The
> final point I'd make is that the BOCA Board and BA Council unanimously
> support the proposal to merge as being in the best interests of  both
> organisations and in the achievement of our common objectives. This is their
> view after almost 18 months of active investigation, consideration and
> consulation with Members.
> I hope this response covers the matter and am happy for it to be more widely
> distributed if we feel Reg Lawler's recent email requires a formal response.
> Cheers
> Graeme
> Dr Graeme Hamilton, Chief Executive Officer 
> ================================
> Bob Cook
> ===============================
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