Standing for the ANZMAC Executive (2007)

2007! A year long remembered, a year I stood for office…without actually campaigning for office. I stood for election to the board of the ANZMAC executive, and didn’t win a position. Some parts went well, some things didn’t work so well, and I had the opportunity to learn about the ANZMAC executive election process.

Lessons learned…
There are a few lessons from any dry run on a political system. Here’s my take out from the 2007 election

  • 75 of ~400 eligible candidates voted.  Voluntary voting, confusion over voting format, and lack of motivation influences the total pool of voters available.  Increasing the total pool of voting candidates is a personal goal for 2008
  • Paid members are eligible to vote – ANZMAC conference attendees are automatically members for the following year, and others can join online

There are a few areas of uncertainty

  • The nomination process includes “Nominee Biography (No more than 100 words)” on the nomination form, and a later call for nominee statements.  If you fill out the Nominee biography, this is not overruled by the later call for statements. This was a mistake I made in the 2007 election.
  • The voting looks like a preferential system, but the vote tally seems to be based on first past the post

Why did I stand?
I have three reasons for standing for office.

  • It’s time to payback some of what I’ve taken out of ANZMAC.
  • I talk big. I’ve been a critic of ANZMAC, and it’s time to chip in and help out, or shut up and walk away.  I love the place too much to walk away.
  • I believe in ANZMAC. That’s why I put the money in, and why I want to put the time in, and why I do criticise it when things are going wrong.

What did I hope to achieve?
I have a few pre-election goals that can be achieved even without winning office.

  1. Open elections. I am satisfied that the Executive was contested rather than appointed because more people than positions stood up to be counted (achieved in 2007)
  2. Improved Process. Experience creates improvement – if the elections are contested from here on in, ANZMAC is going to be a healthy organisation that can build on the organisational experience of each election.  For instance, should the election be preferential? Should candidates organise into factions/tickets? Would that improve the Executive? the vote? Would it be useful, viable or counterproductive?  All of these things will be discovered over time
  3. Increased Participation levels.  I don’t mind if people vote for me or against me, so long as they’re participating in the process.

Policy Platforms /  Election Goals

  • Revamped Conference Proceedings Archive: I would like to see the ANZMAC conference proceedings archive overhauled to become much more accessible through a set of consistent design standards for each year of the conference proceedings.
  • Improved Transparency:ANZMAC has a range of checks and balances which are difficult, but not impossible, to uncover for the determined investigative type.  As a student of government, politics and law, I am an advocate for open processes, clear lines of demarcation, open declarations of conflicts of interest, and the principle of not just being accountable, but being seen to be accountable.

Will I stand again?
Probably.  I have to think it through over the first half of the year, but I’m leaning towards running again in 2009.  However, I would be interested in supporting other candidates looking to put a ticket together for ANZMAC 2008 or 2009 elections.