The President's Page

Armstrong Siddeley Car Club of Australia - President's Report

Augustl 2015

Firstly, it is incumbent upon me to thank Tony and Tina Carter for the considerable amount of time they have given to our Club over the past four years. You may not be aware that Tina has been suffering the ill effects of whitetail spider bite which resulted in her hospitalisation recently. Whilst Tina is on the mend, sadly they decided not to attend the Outback Rally at Broken Hill, which was a shame as they were among the first to book. I am sure that you will join me in wishing them very best for Tina's full recovery and their trip to the United Kingdom in June.

It is with a degree of sadness that I report John Colebrook was not able to attend the Broken Hill Rally due to illness and hospitalisation. John was most unhappy about not being able to attend the rally, as he led the team that put the Rally together. I would highlight that John has been awarded the trophy of Club Person of the Year in recognition for his efforts. Our thoughts and best wishes are with John for a speedy recovery.

Secondly, I would like to thank the South Australian Rally Committee for the wonderful Rally that they shared and organised for us between the 1st and 4th May 2015. We had over 70 members, family and friends attend, and over 20 beautiful Siddeleys. I have no doubt that this will be benchmarked as one of the most successful rallies in recent times.

Thirdly, I think what lies at the core of our Club is that we share values upon which our cars were built or alternatively we innately have these views ourselves and our choice of motorcar reflect these beliefs and values; I'm not really sure which way round it goes. But to this end, I have always felt the ASCC is more like a family at its core and is open and embracing of newcomers. Tanya and I attended our first rally at Tumut in 1993, even before we became members and have now owned our Mk1 Sapphire for 21 years.

I am delighted to report that not only do we have a full Board, for the first time in quite a while, but that Jenny Marshall has agreed to serve as well. I am delighted to personally welcome her. Jenny is a successful business owner and investor and identify (??) that Jenny is the first lady to grace the portals of the boardroom of the ASCC and I have no doubt that she has much to contribute.
Of course, the gender of a Board member should not matter, but given that we have not had a lady as a Board member before, it is hard to think that it does not. I would ask you all to thank and support Jenny in taking up this challenge more broadly and, specifically, in representing those interests of South Australia.

I am also delighted to extend a warm welcome to Bill Bowker, our new Treasurer. Bill will be a fine addition to the Board and brings a wealth of business experience, as well as his strong accounting abilities.

The balance of the Board is well known to the membership, comprising John Graham, Sandy Cameron, Geoff Tuckwell and Ian Handley, all of whom I have worked closely with for a minimum of eight years, and several for many more.

I feel the key to a successful Board is to be able to improvise and adapt. That's why they call it the art of the possible. The challenge is to do that while staying true to what you believe, true to the people that have put their faith in you and true to your vision of how great the ASCC can be. I believe we punch well above our weight for a single make car club with only 200 members.

Fourthly, I would like to acknowledge those members who hold a formal position within the Club and thank them for their continuing efforts. While all members make a contribution to the club in various ways, if you look inside the front cover of the Southern Sphinx you will see that we have a team of about 30 volunteers. I think that it is a great credit to the Club that we have so many people able and willing to contribute their time to our common interest.

Fifthly, for those members not able to attend the Broken Hill Rally, at the Extraordinary General Meeting I outlined the need for an overhaul of our Constitution. Whilst a review of the Constitution was carried out prior to the Bendigo rally in 2013, it was effectively done with an eye to minimising change.

The current Board believes the time has come to incorporate the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) model clauses, to remove the need to have our financial statements audited and substitute this provision for one which requires an accountant to make an opinion, rather than an auditor. I can assure the membership that there will be no diminution of the underlying audit requirement, or the financial and other obligations placed upon the Board as a result of the proposed change.

The benefit, or the “why” of this proposal, is that there will be a significant cost saving to the Club. So in other words, the money that we have paid to auditors in recent times, looking forward, will now be released for us to conduct Club activities. I would highlight that until the new constitution is passed by the AGM, we are bound under the current arrangements and costs.

In recent times, ASIC has realigned the minimum arrangements based on an organisation's annual turnover. At present our Constitution requires us to meet the same requirements as any major bank or even BHP. Clearly with the size and scope of our organisation and the cost of meeting the highest possible threshold, it is not really justifiable or economically sustainable with the membership of approximately 200 people. Our current constitution is a simple document which has integrity of purpose, foresight and principle. It is our hope that we will be able to maintain these four key drivers together with some of the more historic aspects.
In crafting a new constitution, the Board would appreciate your feedback. I would anticipate that we would have a new constitution available for each and every member's review well in advance of next year’s annual Rally and AGM. If you have a view on this or on any other matter, could you please let me know by e-mail.

Our original constitution is an elegant document which in many respects has stood the test of time. It originally started life as a document to govern our incorporated state based organisation, was revised to accommodate its conversion to govern a company limited by guarantee and, as such, is subject to the appropriate legislation of the Companies' Act and the regulations of ASIC, both of which were not even in existence on 3 February 1975 when the Club was incorporated. All this proves that our Constitution is a living and evolving document.

Sixthly, I believe that our membership has a wonderful generosity of spirit and, in turn, it is our obligation from time to recognise this generosity, which comes in different forms. Nadya Storch gave the Club her late husband's baby Sapphire, which was sold by tender last year. It takes a golden heart to make a contribution of this nature. Miriam Bradly has given so much to the Club for more than 55 years and the Board felt it was important to acknowledge this special effort in its own right. I don't believe words can adequately capture what Miriam has given to us. Paul Caro, who was a founding member, past President, Treasurer on numerous occasions, and a major contributor to both the New South Wales and Queensland branches, has had a dedicated involvement over a long period of time. As we paused to reflect on these contributions, each of a very different nature, it was my honour and privilege on behalf of the membership and the Board, to award a life membership to each of them at the Broken Hill Rally.

Finally, my core belief - my unshakeable conviction - is that we are on a path to a better future. You hear some say "it doesn't get better than this", you hear others say "things aren't what they used to be". Both attitudes sell us short. But what I would ask is for your help, so that we don’t set limits on our Club’s future.

I believe there is always something more we can aspire to, there is always something more we can achieve, and we can't afford to be complacent. Progress doesn't happen by accident. It only happens when we think smart and work hard to make it happen. I believe we have a clear roadmap in front of us and the Board is willing to take up this challenge to meet your expectations. Thank you for being allowing me to be your President.

Yours in Siddeley motoring,
Hugh Boulter
A.S.C.C. President.