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25 March 2022

Freemasons Victoria's third phase of modernising its governance begins, with the appointment of former Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Harry Jenkins AO, as Chair of the Advisory Committee of Constitution Transition.

Harry has a distinguished career in public life, having been elected as MHR for Scullin in 1986, being re-elected 1987, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010. Aged 69, he is a former President of the Whittlesea Shire Council. In his post-Parliamentary life, Harry has assisted United Nations initiatives related to women in Parliaments around the world, joined Australian observer groups that oversaw elections in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Timor-Leste, and participated in activities to strengthen Parliaments in Pacific nations.

The Committee will also comprise:

  • Prof. WBro. John Rosenberg
  • Prof. Bro. Andrew Timming
  • VWBro. Ian Buckingham
  • VWBro. Ian Upjohn QC
  • RWBro. Bruce Cowie, Grand Secretary
  • Bro. Dr Stephen Duns will be project management facilitator.

Constitutional reform for Freemasons Victoria began in 2017. In 2020, The Ethics Centre conducted a review of the governance and culture of Freemasons Victoria. A member vote in September last year supported a 12-month interim governance structure, which has included the appointment of a Masonic Council, a Commercial Council and the continuation of the holding company as trustee.

A number of distinguished external members have been appointed: David Mandel, David Mann, George Donikian, Silvi Dobson and Jane Boardman. Much work has already been prepared on Constitution improvements by a committee led by VWBro. Ian Upjohn QC.

“This program of Constitution review offers a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for members to enshrine within a Constitution their vision of what Freemasonry is and how it is to be governed,” said MWBro. Richard Elkington, Grand Master.

The new Advisory Committee on Constitution Transition will gather data, understand FV change management, consider member concerns, and determine the best options for member consultation. Following member approval, the Committee will guide the organisation through the various processes.

This Advisory Committee will report to the Grand Master, assisted by the Chair of the Masonic Council and Chair of the Commercial Council. It is expected that agreed Advisory Committee reports be made available to all Freemasons. All proposals from the Committee will go to member workshops and forums, prior to a member vote later in the year.

MWBro. Richard Elkington
Grand Master