Re: [RML] SPAM National membership

Bruce Hansen (bhansen at
Mon, 9 Feb 1998 20:43:35 +1000

Thanks Andrew for putting your views -

One of the biggest problems facing any organising committee is lack of
communication and feedback from the membership

> There has been a long running perception in my mind that some regional
> groups of ANGFA don't think that they are getting enough support from
> National... I'm not saying that this is right, just reporting the
> phenomenon... and that they accordingly aren't as supportive of National
> as they might be.

I have never been able to find out what sort of support from "National"
the regional groups are seeking. The National organisation exists only as a
"corresponding and subscription to publications" organisation except for
the committee that meets once a month in each others homes and of course
the Conferences where we get to meet the other members. The real "guts" of
collecting, keeping, breeding and conserving our fantastic native fishes
takes place in the regional groups. The major purpose of forming the
association originally was to disseminate the information gained from the
experiences of the hobbyists to others via a journal. And so National has
tried to keep the flow of information coming - hence the Journal, the
Bulletin, the A-z sheets, the posters and the conferences.

At times finances have been touch and go and at times the manpower willing
to do the work has been severely depleted and National depends essentially
on their share of the Conference profits and subscriptions as well as some
other p[rojects like the mcDonalds Tank to keep it all going. I can assure
you all that the quality of the journal has stayed high due to exacting
standards from the editorial staff as well as hundreds of hours of expert
and professional time donated by members involved. These hours would have
cost the club thousands of dollars in the "real" world and prohibited
members from enjoying the excellence that is "Fishes of Sahul". National
doesn't have a club structure like a regional group it has even fewer
people to do all the work than a regional group, it doesn't have places to
store goods and back issues, it doesn't have any support to offer Regional

In fact it is the other way round - we need the support of the Regional
Groups. We need them to be successful. We need them to be enthusiastic and
aware of environmental issues but still encourage the "joy of fish" whether
you favour "fishwatching in the wild" or whether you favour keeping them in
aquaria. We would like them to encourage members to belong to national and
show them our publications but we realise there are some members at a local
level who really aren't interested in the national concept. We hope that
the regional groups will try to get them enthusiastic. We also hope the
regional groups will give us some more feedback, more articles, more
regional news on time for the Bulletin, in short more involvement. We would
like them to have at least one email-enabled committee liaison officer who
will help the regional groups get the national minutes so the regional
groups can be more involved. We would like them to offer constructive
suggestions on such things as the constitution, as poor compliance with
subscriptions and so on and so on.

> Part of this comes down to personality clashes (and there are some pretty
> powerful personalities involved) and old grudges never properly settled.
> There have been some wonderful displays of fellowship and solidarity,
> especially at conventions, but an equal yet opposite display of complaint
> and bitchery in private afterwards.
> In some ways this list has healed some of the wounds by allowing ordinary
> members to talk to both other ordinary members of other regional groups
> and the "bigwigs" all on equal terms, but in other ways it has created
> some new divisions.

I agree totally. But we can never remove the "human" factor from the
association nor should we try !

> If the ordinary members feel left behind by both
> their National and Regional committees, then little wonder...

The ordinary member is welcome at committee meetings that I am a part of
and we would welcome any visitor that was "brave" enough to enquire ;-)

> I'd just be a lot happier personally if I
> felt that everyone in ANGFA was playing for the same team,

The only way that can happen is if we abandon the concept of regional
groups and only have ANGFA National - then we would all be playing on the
same team ;-)


Bruce Hansen, ANGFA, caring for our aquatic ecosystems.

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