Mem­bers are what mat­ters

Tasmanian Country - - OPINION - Wayne John­ston

AS you all know, the Tas­ma­nian Farm­ers and Gra­ziers As­so­ci­a­tion is the peak body for farm­ers within the state.

At the TFGA we ad­vo­cate for our mem­bers across a large range of is­sues. We ad­vo­cate to gov­ern­ment at all lev­els. We ad­vo­cate to other stake­hold­ers, and we ad­vo­cate to the com­mu­nity at large.

What we seek to do is to en­sure that Tas­ma­nian farm­ers have the best en­vi­ron­ment in which to grow their food and fi­bre, and se­cure a fu­ture for their fam­i­lies.

We do this in an apo­lit­i­cal con­text – that is we say what needs to be said with­out fear or favour. Our mem­bers right­fully ex­pect us to do so.

Ex­ter­nal in­flu­ences, or a de­sire to seek po­lit­i­cal favour, are no ex­cuse for in­ap­pro­pri­ate rep­re­sen­ta­tion. When an or­gan­i­sa­tion suc­cumbs to these pres­sures it loses the abil­ity and the right to rep­re­sent mem­ber­ship.

In­de­pen­dence of thought and ac­tion is not al­ways easy to come by. It re­quires moral and eth­i­cal strength and a com­mit­ment to do what is right.

At the TFGA we strive to achieve these com­mend­able and ap­pro­pri­ate out­comes. If we fail to ad­here to an eth­i­cal way of be­hav­ing then by de­fault we give cred­i­bil­ity who would be­have oth­er­wise.

I re­ceived many pos­i­tive re­sponses about last week’s col­umn on con­flict of in­ter­est. its

I found this re­as­sur­ing as it demon­strates that the com­mu­nity at large, not only holds high ex­pec­ta­tions, but ex­pects or­gan­i­sa­tions within it to ad­here to them.

Any fail­ure to do so will be quickly judged by the com­mu­nity and will call into ques­tion that or­gan­i­sa­tion’s abil­ity to op­er­ate with­out so­cial cap­i­tal.

Do­ing the right thing isn’t al­ways easy, but it is al­ways im­por­tant.

I call upon or­gan­i­sa­tions, all Tas­ma­nian par­tic­u­larly those based on mem­ber­ship, to ask them­selves this ques­tion. Are you op­er­at­ing in an eth­i­cal man­ner that truly ben­e­fits your mem­bers?

To be clear, I’m not say­ing this from some high moral ground, be­cause on oc­ca­sion the TFGA it­self has missed the mark.

We do how­ever con­sis­tently strive to be not only the best, but to do so in a man­ner that meets ex­ter­nal and in­ter­nal ex­pec­ta­tions.

When we have got it wrong, we have been pre­pared to ad­mit it and look to en­sure that we do not re­peat the er­ror.

When we have not met our own stan­dards, we have looked with in­tro­spec­tion to ad­dress our fail­ings.

None of us – in­di­vid­u­als, or­gan­i­sa­tions or gov­ern­ments – are per­fect.

How­ever, we must al­ways be look­ing to im­prove and we must also be look­ing to set and main­tain the high­est pos­si­ble stan­dards.

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