20 August 2021
I live in regional Victoria, where some Lodges are already back to work. Earlier this week, I was very happy to be at Gippsland Mark, amongst brethren in the Lodge Room, and in the South. It felt good.
Across Greater Melbourne, there are at least several weeks still to go in lockdown, and I extend my best wishes to all Freemasons and their families. I know that some Lodges are meeting by Zoom again, and I urge all to keep in contact with each other, with a particular focus on those who live alone, and also to take care of our widows.
As we look to the month ahead we have plans for a Quarterly Communication on Wednesday 15 September, lockdown rules willing, and this will include a focus on an Interim Governance Model for 12 months. Or to put it simply, how are we going to organise ourselves and how will decisions be made? To assist in members understanding of this interim governance arrangement, we have prepared FAQs and Q&A sessions are being organised.
I want to congratulate the Change Management Steering Committee which has developed its proposals. Robert Brennand and his team have independently developed a proposal for the members to vote upon.
It is time for a member endorsed roadmap to take Freemasons Victoria out of caretaker governance, and to support a process for constitutional change that reflects the needs of a 21st century member-based fraternal organisation.
Under the proposal, operational decisions are managed by two Councils.
The Masonic Council's primary focus will be on all things Masonic. It will oversee the Grand Secretary (who is a Freemason) as he leads the Masonic Services staff and coordinates the Volunteer Action Teams and District Coordinators. The Council will be chaired by the Deputy Grand Master who has non-voting rights. The other five members of the Council will be Freemasons directly elected by members.
The Commercial Council's focus will be all things commercial. It will oversee such areas as finance, property, and information technology and the activities of the Commercial Manager. Members will directly elect three Freemasons to the Council Three independent non-Masonic outside experts will be appointed to the Council to provide expert guidance and advice on commercial matters.
The Change Management Steering Committee has also included safeguards such as internal and external audits, formal charters, service level agreements and measures of success for the proposed Councils.
After these initial changes, the debate will be opened up later this year, and next year too, about improvements we can make to our Constitution. I am very keen to have a process of Constitutional Conventions where important matters about our future can be debated. And, of course, that will all be subject to member vote too.
These are exciting times for Freemasons Victoria. Again, I want to thank all who have contributed. If you have a different viewpoint, your opinion is welcomed. Send your email to email@example.com.
Freemasons Victoria is an organisation where every member is seen, known and heard. I really encourage you to have your say.
I'm Richard Elkington.
Bye for now.