Home' The Canberra Times : CHRONICLE 27.11.12 Contents Volume 17 No. 47
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2012
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HOT SEASON GETS
AN EARLY START
OF THE YEAR
>> PAGE 5
Presidents vie for power
AN attempted coup to reinstate former
Belconnen Community Council presi-
dent Shirley Gourgaud has resulted in
an investigation by the ACT Office of
Regulatory Services (ORS).
The council's November meeting --
although officially called off -- went
ahead in strange circumstances last
week resulting in two claimants to the
title of president; Matthew Watts and
At the meeting a background paper
was issued by a supporter of Ms
Gourgaud to justify her reinstatement.
The paper claimed the election of Mr
Watts to president at the council's
September annual general meeting was
invalid. It stated that council's vice
president Brian Rhynehart ''confirmed
on 26 October that the AGM had no
authority to accept the late nomination
[by Mr Watts]. Ms Gourgaud, accord-
ingly, was declared president.''
Last week The Canberra Times
reported Ms Gourgaud as saying the
ORS had advised council the Sept-
ember election, and Mr Watts' nomi-
nation, was not in accordance with the
council's rules. But the ORS has
rejected the claim. It has turned its
focus to the circumstances around last
week's attempt to reinstate Ms
Gourgaud as president.
''There are serious questions about
whether the Act has been complied
with, which the ORS will be looking
into,'' a Justice and Community Safety
spokeswoman said. ''This will include
consideration of the circumstances of
the AGM and recent meetings held that
are said to have changed the office
holders of the council.
''The ORS did not advise the
Belconnen Community Council that
the election of president Matthew
Watts was invalid. The ORS received
correspondence relating to procedural
matters and interpretation of the As-
sociations Incorporation Act 1991. The
questions did not specifically mention
the council's AGM nor did they ask for
a ruling on the validity of the AGM.''
Mr Watts took the helm after
ousting former long-serving president
Ms Gourgaud during a tense AGM
shrouded in controversy. A late nomi-
nation by Mr Watts, a Canberra
Liberals' candidate for the Assembly
at the time, combined with allegations
he stacked the AGM with supporters
and friends triggered acrimony about
the nomination and result. Neverthe-
less the council did accept Mr Watts'
nomination and a vote took place. Ms
Gourgaud lost the vote 14-11.
Mr Watts said just because they
didn't like the result didn't mean they
could make it up as they went.
''It just goes to show how unpro-
fessional the organisation is and that is
precisely why I ran for president,'' he
said. He said he was still the president
and there was no legitimate meeting to
say otherwise. ''I follow the rules,''
Mr Watts said. ''I'm not out there to
cover my arse.''
Ms Gourgaud said she had a
meeting with the ORS this week.
''It is very unfortunate that a
situation exists where personal agen-
das have taken over council business,''
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FULL STORY -- Page 10
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