Health Alliance For One

https://www.flickr.com/photos/simpleinsomnia/14520685739/in/photolist-4W9Hk-eLxd5h-7GzjmA-o89iYF-5rrAsc-8p27tU-qn7zHH-5aYPXc-3fNJ3c-8kQKSW-8kMNvp-9sQLzL-o89hzZ-7StQJ-4voeij-e7nKE7-4tHf1N-opqFoG-3FCVi-hLbckM-6cYo36-7s6E7Z-9SYu5J-9DSea7-qk1QZU-3G7wDV-fiF6U6-8Uz258-5zpxHr-8fwvFX-gwmN7H-6yQgah-6zK9ic-6yu7LL-qk1FHh-dxcTCr-nRb7B1-gpkywH-3fTvAE-a1Rps8-ej5SLd-qJyaqF-84JaTN-6cYtVV-9DPmQc-2yA9H7-9uMvMF-bbZzEF-2G9be6-dCcQoeYesterday’s statement by the chair of the LGBTI Health Alliance brought forth open scorn from one former director. Meanwhile whistleblowers claim the Alliance plans to shrink to a staff of one.

In the statement Chair Susan Ditter claimed that the Alliance 2015/16 budget was “on track”, prompting recently resigned director Luke Gahan to respond:

“No Budget was passed for the 2015/2016 financial year and as of last week when I resigned it had yet to be passed. Even if it was to pass – board members would have a hard time changing anything given it has been in operation now for 9 months”

Ditter’s line appears to be a deliberate attempt to mislead members and to discredit the resignations of former board members. Five directors have resigned to date, with more expected at the upcoming face to face board meeting.

But perhaps the most shocking whistleblowers claim is that the 2016/17 budget, which has in fact already been written, but kept under wraps, shows that when current secretariat funding runs out on June 30, only one staff member will remain – the current Executive Director, Rebecca Reynolds.

Multiple sources have told the stirrer that the remaining $300k held by the Alliance has been earmarked to pay her salary for the next three years. This is ironic, given that many see Reynolds as the principal cause of the defunding and collapse of the Alliance, and the loss of everyone else’s job.

The ‘strategic plan’ is for Reynolds to spend the next three years attempting to raise new secretariat funding from the Alliance’s member organisations, and explore potential corporate donors. But her real job is thought to be to sit and wait for the re-election of a Labor government. Remaining board members and hangers-on are said to believe this will turn the money taps back on. From what I hear, that’s likely to be a very long shot.

Meanwhile others bemoan what the Alliance might have achieved, especially the transgender community, which suffers more than most: 21% of the Australian TGD community continue to experience suicidal ideation on an almost daily basis www.transoz.org/bw0274.pdf

Such is the climate of fear and intimidation surrounding the Alliance that, while many have stories to tell, few dare to go on the record, claiming to have been “stalked” and “cockblocked” after speaking out in the past. Many now hold the ‘peak body’ in very low regard:

It’s patently obvious that the Alliance don’t want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg .. meaning they avoid strategies which might actually address the health crisis in the TGD community …so they can use TGD to grift the government for more cash in perpetuity.

There was also ongoing criticism of the continued failure to wholeheartedly back the Safe Schools Coalition, a unilateral decision by Reynolds made without consultation.

Single handed determination of Alliance policy on the run with out consultation with the membership or putting it to the board is not within the delegation of the ED or the chair . They do have the delegation to be the spokesperson for the alliance. Taking a position that supports The Australian Christian Lobby and defies that of the membership and damages Safe Schools is beyond comprehension.

With all other staff being dropped, and directors resigning, it appears this problem might well cease to exist – in future, Reynolds will apparently have no-one else around to ask.

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About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years.

“Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe.” (Daniel Witthaus, “Beyond Priscilla”, Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)