Who are the ADA Board of Directors and how are they elected?

The Board of Directors page of the ADA website introduces our directors.

As per our constitution the members of the board are elected at our annual general meeting for a three-year term, with two or three retiring each year in rotation, and serve in an honorary capacity.

As per the constitution the executive drector is appointed by and responsible to the board. He or she is an ex-officio member of the board but may also be an elected director.

Great effort is taken to prevent political bias or sectional influence on the ADA Board — and even a perception of such bias or influence.

Wherever possible, directors are not normally members of a political party or an organisation affiliated to a political party. Where a member of a political party is elected to the ADA Board, a balance with the other side of politics is maintained as much as is possible (candidate availability permitting).

Of the current elected directors, one is a former senior official of the ALP. One recent director was the Chief-of-Staff to a former state premier from the Liberal Party. Another recent director was a former senator for the Australian Democrats.

As the ADA is legally structured as a public company, all directors represent all members equally. While it is desirable that the Board have a broad geographic representation across Australia, the ADA is a unitary national organisation (not a federation of state branches or functional interests). Directors do not represent the states or localities they reside in. Board representation is not connected to the organisation of ADA Chapters in cities and towns across Australia.

By longstanding convention:

  • no-one holding political office at federal or state level can be a director (none of the current directors holds political office at any level, including local government);
  • the executive director cannot be a member of a political party or an organisation affiliated with a political party;
  • no-one currently serving in the regular defence force, the federal Public Service, the Australian Federal Police or with an intelligence or security agency can be a director;
  • a majority of the elected directors must not have been through-career members of the defence force or career-public servants in the Department of Defence, nor be currently employed by companies selling equipment or services to that department; and
  • directors should not be recently-retired senior officers from the defence force (one-star rank up), recently-retired senior officials from the Department of Defence (assistant secretary up), or even long-retired senior officers or officials unless there are clearly no conflicts of interest involved with their previous decisions and the current public-interest watchdog work of the Association.

How the board supervises the public-interest guardianship work of the ADA is detailed in the answers to other questions.