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7 August 2021

We were wrong

The responsibility of any leader in society – but especially Freemasonry – is to own our errors. A serious mistake has happened this week, and I need to report to you, our members, at the earliest opportunity.

Late on Friday afternoon (6 August), a survey was distributed to Freemasons Victoria members via the Grand Secretariat. The document originated from Professor Stephen Duns, Change Management consultant. The cultural and behavioural survey is part of our association with the ‘Share Tree' organisation, which I have previously spoken to you about in written and video messages. Our aim is to find ways to lift the standards of behaviour across FV.

The message to members on Friday afternoon carried my introductory message (prepared some weeks ago), and a link to a survey. In hindsight, looking at the survey, I believe it was not suitable for release to our membership.

The survey, in its current form, had software glitches (inconsistent questions in various versions), and some questions (such as remuneration) that were inappropriate to a volunteer organisation. The survey, prepared by a third party, was faulty.

As an organisation, we need to earn the trust of members whenever we seek their opinions. I feel that with the release of the faulty survey, we have risked that important trust from members. For that, as Grand Master, I take full responsibility, and I apologise. The buck stops with me. I am sorry that this error has occurred.

Mistakes give us an opportunity to learn. In the new week, when the Share Tree offices re-opens in lockdown, we will request Share Tree to withdraw the survey in its current form as soon as possible. We will require that all data sent by members be permanently and immediately deleted, and that it not be used for any purpose. No data will come to Grand Lodge in either aggregate or individual form. We will investigate all aspects. And I will personally oversee the project so that it gets back on track. Again, my personal apology for the lapse in our workings on this occasion.


MWBro. Richard Elkington
Grand Master