Why do we need a second National Body?
Response to the launch of the Radio Amateur Society of Australia has been quite extraordinary, with large numbers of new subscriptions arriving daily, including some very well-known and influential amateurs.
Some people have questioned why we need a second national representative group for Amateur Radio in this country.
Effective and inclusive representation is an important component of any group that represents its members; especially where government regulation is involved.
Sometimes, when there is only one representative group (a monopoly) there is no real accountability to deliver the best possible outcomes for members.
There is no real competitive benchmark to ensure members are getting the best possible outcomes.
When considering what effective representation means, we should all think about things like:
- What real world results are being achieved for members?
- How are members engaged and how is consultation performed. Are members being heard?
- How often does it communicate and is the communication meaningful? Or is it more like an ivory tower communicating what it wants, rather than addressing the needs and concerns of its members?
- When you send comments, complaints or questions, does your representative body respond in a timely and helpful manner?
We see examples of poor representation in areas like Local Government, national hobby groups and some professional representative groups.
Closer to our own hearts, the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) received some healthy competition about 20 years ago. This lead to a great improvement in accountability and member services.
RASA was formed with the specific purpose of improving representation, awareness and education.
We believe that a complimentary national body can only be good for the hobby. Our business model uses the latest technology, enabling us to offer services at a very low cost to members.
We will conduct surveys and will listen to your concerns and interests.
Our representation to the federal regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), will be thoroughly researched and results focused.
There are no restrictions on whom government regulators deal with. Any representative or lobby group can approach the regulator and discuss their member’s interests and concerns.
Indeed, two founding members of RASA have already met with ACMA.
One of our members offered a very useful insight on our Facebook page:
I have witnessed – several times now – national representative societies challenged by a second society. In all cases there has been a positive outcome.
It would appear that when a hobby (any hobby) has one national society it is only a matter of time before the leaders realise that the only thing they need from members in order to conduct their business is their money.
Competition and intelligent criticism from a second organisation can only do good. One of my hobby interests (not radio) in one of the countries I visit regularly (not Australia) has four national representative societies.
And it is the friendliest, healthiest and most honestly run hobby in any location I know. I know RASA members will be written off as whinging malcontents, as that is always the first defense against a legitimate threat to monopoly, but that will pass.
Based on the initial responses to our calls for membership, we believe our goals are resonating very well with fellow Australian Amateur Radio enthusiasts.
We encourage you to give us a go. For the first 12 months there will be no membership fee, and no obligation to renew membership after that.
If you don’t think we deserve your money in the second year, don’t give us any….
We’ll publish our budget during the first year and aim to keep annual fees in the $5 to $10 range.
Effective representation is vital for the future of our hobby. We hope that every Australian Amateur Radio enthusiast will support RASA.
We will soon be publishing our first survey.
Have your say! Sign up today.
Send your name, callsign and email address to email@example.com
If you’re already a member, thanks! Please pass this bulletin on to your friends and local club and encourage them to join up.
Ian, Glenn, Andrew and Chris