Since it was introduced, the surprise proposal has been strongly supported by ASIAL’s current NSW-based leadership with a vigorous promotional campaign.

According to ASIAL committee members, the changes were sprung on the full national board in recent months after being quietly formulated in Sydney. They say no warning that such a fundamental change was on the agenda was given to anyone outside NSW. What’s been proposed is that just 2 representative state chairmen be chosen from the current 7 in a move that this writer believes is clearly designed to reduce the influence and interference of state leaders during decision making. ASIAL says the changes are designed to streamline the decision making process at board level but with 5 of the 6 positions dumped constituting state chairmen the association’s intentions look obvious. The changes also appear to guarantee that the unbalanced voting rights enshrined in ASIAL’s constitution will place total control of Australia’s largest security association in the hands of Sydney-based bureaucrats, Sydney-based committee members and a small number of wealthy and influential NSW-based companies. These big companies have additional voting rights based on the size of their turnover and membership fees that could give them power of veto over the association’s entire membership. Because all ASIAL board members are required to sign deeds of confidentially, members of the association seldom get a look at the fractured structure that governs their industry. But in the wake of the latest changes a number of board members have chosen to speak out about what they see as mismanagement, poor leadership and a lack of transparency at board level. Inside reports suggest that after disagreements at meetings, members of the ASIAL inner sanctum in NSW have gone so far as to travel interstate to lobby for the removal of state chairmen at their own state meetings – replacing or attempting to replace them with individuals who can be influenced more easily by the national office. These recent moves mirror the crushing of the independent Queensland branch of ASIAL several years ago and the disbanding of an active committee whose big-hearted leader was subsequently described to this writer by a member of ASIAL’s highest echelons as “nothing but a loser” and “a goon”. As the tide receded over littoral of that tawdry event, another member of Queensland’s ASIAL branch, the outspoken Bob Spreadborough, became one of only 2 members ever booted out of the association after he complained pointedly that ASIAL’s big member companies had too much power – power he thought could be used to further their business interests. Regular readers of SEM won’t be blind to the fact that although Spreadborough was pillorised and sacked for criticizing a perceived imbalance in a supposedly representative body, no large company has ever lost its ASIAL membership, even when found guilty in a court of law. Instead a mechanism of “contribution” was devised last year by backroom bureaucrats that appears to allow big companies to buy their way out of trouble. Other revelations from board members highlight attempted audio recording of meetings, formulation and inappropriate implementation of association policy by employees of the association and expensive committee lunches funded using member’s funds. Then there’s the claimed $A50,000 spent on the current national restructure – a move likely to reduce the say of individual member companies, not to increase it. Said one committee member: “The members of ASIAL should know how their money is being spent…” In a telling revelation one committee member told Security Electronics Magazine that even on the inside it was impossible to know who was really running ASIAL. He said the association used “sledgehammer tactics” to maintain internal control and claimed that at every meeting committee members were repeatedly reminded of confidentiality in a process where members were “bullied” and “treated like schoolboys”. “The board talks about listening to members,” one committee member told SEM. “It talks about the good of the nation. But the way the association is now being set up there will be no state representation.”