Governance forum

If a peak body for Australia's organic industries is established, how should it be governedwho should be the members, how should it be managed, how are directors elected?

Members of the working group know that I have been in favour of a coalition or Council style peak body, but I do see the benefit of a true grassroots democracy if it can be achieved easily through modern technology, apps etc.

A bit like the Services question, I see a danger in the Peak Body going into competition with existing membership organisations within the organic sector, such as the membership arms of some of the certifiers, or other grower groups, and even the OFA as an association of individual person members. Such competition is the reason we still dont have a single voice. The existing OISCC  council shows that its possible to cooperate on practical (standards) issues, and the challenge is to broaden or replicate OISCC into a new Peak Body. The question then arises of which organisations would be eligible to be a member of such a Council, and how much power would they have, what aims and internal governance do they have etc.

Even if this is a difficult question I see it as more better for the Peak Body to be simply formed from representatives of existing organisations, allowing me as a "membership consumer" the freedom to choose which organisation(s) I join in order to influence the Council that it is part of.

Perhaps there is the possibility of a "hybrid" system where the council must also heed direct advice of stakeholders or direct members through consultation processes, eg an app, that are easy to implement, and give anybody a say, but which are more of a consultation process than grassroots democracy. If the Standard is the key policy function of the Peak Body, that could also serve as a useful consultancy process for Standard development, depending how the Standard is ultimately administered and by whom. If such a process worked well it could always morph into something closer to grassroots democracy...


I strongly support grassroots democracy.  There are plenty of ways to enable all stakeholders to participate if they wish.  

Structures and decision making protocols will be vital for grassroots democracy to succeed.  

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