Chamber announces new president

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

Port Hedland Chamber of Commerce has finally announced a president for 2018, amid controversy over candidate eligibility for the past month.

Peter Carter was named president last week after Gloria Jacob was deemed ineligible while Roger Higgins pulled his nomination.

The vote count was postponed for a week earlier this month after it was found Ms Jacob was a director of an organisation under external administration and debate surrounded whether a director came under the definition of a person according to the Associations Incorporation Act 2015.

At the vote-count meeting, the executive committee found being a director of an organisation did fall under the definition of “person” according to the Interpretation Act 1984.

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Ms Jacob has filed a formal dispute in relation to the decision.

Jim Henneberry, who will remain PHCCI president until January 1, said the decision was made after the committee sought legal advice.

“We’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that everything we’ve been doing is transparent and that we’ve been getting legal opinion on this issue,” he said.

“We want to make sure that we are making the right decision for the chamber.

“We’re not questioning Gloria’s ability, we’re questioning eligibility. I’m sure she would make a great president ... except the Associations Incorporation Act said a ‘person’ under financial management can’t sit on any seat.”

Ms Jacob said she was “gobsmacked” at the decision.

As part of her formal dispute, in accordance with Appendix two of the constitution, Ms Jacob asked all votes for all positions be preserved.

“Behaviour like this cannot be sustained, people need to be accountable for the roles that they hold in office and in organisations in this town, particularly the Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a peak body representing businesses,” she said.

“I’ve gone through the dispute process because I think the behaviour of the chamber is not acceptable.

“Irrespective of votes, the organisation needs scrutiny.”

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