Working Group on Representation WB9


Peter Stone

WORKING GROUP ON REPRESENTATION (1)
Claire Smith
WAC is establishing a working group on representation on the Council and Executive. The notion of establishing working groups on topics of particular importance was mooted at WAC-4 during the Executive meeting on Sunday, 9 January 1999. Several ideas for working groups were discussed, including the idea of a working group on representation. Clearly, it is important that WAC achieve broad and effective representation on the Council and Executive. As it stands there are a number of issues that need to be addressed. These include:

Some regional representatives are not able to attend Congresses or Inter-Congresses. This means that their particular region is either under-represented or not represented. This raises questions relating to the funding of representatives to attend Congresses as well as the commitment of these Executive members to actually representing the people of their region. The system of proxies works – but on what basis are people chosen to act proxies? There is a need to work through some principles here.
Some regional representatives are totally inactive during their period of election. This raises the question of whether regional representatives should be asked to show some evidence of their activity in the region prior to standing for re-election.
Some Indigenous representatives on the Council are not able to attend Congresses or Inter-Congresses. This raises the issue of whether special funding should be sought to support the attendance of these representatives.
The procedures implementing the election of country representatives to Council are not very clear. Election occurs during Congresses but there is no procedure which is applied consistently. In some cases this has meant that a country is not represented, even though it does have a representative from that country at the Congress. There may be a case for developing a mechanism to ensure that representatives to Council are duly elected to Council by other members in the country or region before they attend a meeting.
People from countries outside the UK, Australia, US and Western Europe have very low representation at Congresses. This needs to be addressed. Ideas which have been mooted include seeking targeted funding in a more coordinated fashion and the establishment of a series of regional meetings.
The WAC Executive is establishing a working group to discuss these and related matters. The aim of the working group is to develop practical strategies for dealing with these issues. Input and feedback is being sought from the wider membership of WAC through WAC Bulletin. The working group will prepare a report to be tabled for discussion at the next meeting of the Executive. Members are invited to provide input, or to offer to serve on the working group.

The working group will operate through email and fax. Members who wish to join this working group are invited to contact me at:

Dr Claire Smith
Flinders University
Adelaide 5000
South Australia
Email: claire.smith@flinders.edu.au
Fax: 61 (0) 8 8278 1934

Footnotes:

1) This report incorporates suggestions put forward by Executive members Fekri Hassan, Lesley Sutty, Ken Issacson and Peter Stone