History in the making?

History in the making?

WA Amateur Radio News hosted PerthTech recently (22 October) in Gidgegannup, about 50km North of Perth.

This technical symposium was a great success, with over 12 excellent presentations. 

A highlight of the event was a joint session by the Presidents of RASA and the WIA, Paul Anslow VK2APA and Scott Williams VK3KJ.

Paul and Scott shared a meal prior to PerthTech and discovered their talking points were virtually identical.  As such, they decided to deliver a join presentation.

Paul and Scott assumed an informal approach to their presentation, seated side-by-side in front of the 65 attendees.  They provided a summary of what they saw as being the roles of both organisations and how much they have in common.

It was clear Scott and Paul had a solid working relationship and wanted their respective organisations work far more cooperatively for the betterment of the hobby.

Their talking points were:

  • Amateur Radio should not be politicised
  • Conduct like bullying, harassment, vilification, victimisation have no place in this hobby, and we must have zero tolerance to this. It is up to us all to uphold this commitment and stamp out any conduct that either does or has the potential to bring our hobby into disrepute.  
  • The next generation of amateurs – where are they coming from?  Both Scott and Paul noted that anyone visiting social media (especially the large Amateur (Ham) Radio) Facebook page would more than likely be put off the hobby.
  • We must embrace inclusivity and diversity at every opportunity
  • We must enjoy what we do and “smell the roses”.. and to do this effectively we must get along.
  • Division must cease and both the WIA and RASA must find a way to cooperate for the benefit of the hobby.

Both Presidents noted that ACMA are working through a Class Licencing consultation process.  They agreed that a collaborative response would give the sector the best chance of our interests being achieved.

Some questions from the audience related to combative and detrimental opinion pieces in a recent WIA National News broadcast.

Scott acknowledged the issue and advised that the WIA had “strong personalities” with a controlling influence.

On a number of occasions Scott concluded an answer to a questions with the phrase: “You may think I’m avoiding the question”…  and left it to the audience to interpret his meaning….  Scott also informed attendees “I am not here on official WIA business”.

Scott made some very important comments in response to a question about social media behaviour that there are “senior influencers” in the hobby who are bringing it into disrepute. Scott and Paul both acknowledged that the bullying and vilification must cease.

Paul repeatedly confirmed RASA’s commitment to promoting a culture cooperation and collaboration.

It was noted that the WIA continues to promote itself as working in isolation and an unwillingness to engage with RASA.  Scott was asked how the influencers in the WIA could be convinced to work in a more collaborative fashion.  Again, Scott’s answer related to the WIA Board as being made up of “influencers” and individuals elected by the members.

Scott encouraged all WIA members to take a far greater interest in elections and operation of the WIA.  He reminded members that WIA Directors represent them, and that members should read candidate bios, manifestos, social media posts and professional experience before completing the ballot card.

In closing their session, the WIA President noted:

The current status of the hobby is not sustainable, and change is needed. There needs to be a cultural shift in our thinking and that saying rings very true………….keep doing the same thing and you will get the same outcome.”

This sentiment was echoed by RASA President, Paul VK2APA.

There was much discussion and positive feedback following this presentation, and Scott in particular, received considerable support and encouragement from attendees.

We look forward to hearing more information from the Presidents in the future editions of QTC.

(This article will be in the next edition of QTC along with other thought provoking articles related to representation and the issues facing our hobby)