Motorcycling Queensland – we are all in this together
Dear MQ member,
Motorcycling Queensland exists for one principal purpose – our 78 affiliated clubs, with several new applications for affiliation currently pending.
Why do clubs choose to affiliate with MQ? I suggest that choice is based on a range of reasons that must include at least some of the following:
• Insurance: Through MA (the national organisation created by the 7 state controlling bodies (SCBs)):
• Clubs are covered for public liability and directors and officers liability at a price substantially less than any club could source individually.
• Riders are covered for the majority of costs associated with being injured; ie insurance that essentially cannot be obtained by an individual and at a price that is as low as MA and the SCBs can make it.
• Rules that enhance fair competition and safety of both competitive and recreational participation in a very wide range of motorcycle activity.
• Officials: A system of training and accreditation that provides our thousands of generous volunteers with the skill and experience to fairly and consistently apply the rules, although we can always get better at this.
• Administration: An office staffed by enthusiastic and skilled people that are there to support clubs in many ways, including the following:
• Organisation of a calendar for over 900 events in Queensland annually.
• The coordination of, and the secretariat to, our subcommittees.
• Issuing permits which are necessary to invoke insurance.
• Support for clubs: Model constitution, templates for club and event budgets and accounting, support for MyLaps timing.
• Mediation of disputes between clubs and individuals.
• Representing the motorcycling in a highly professional manner to local and state government in relation to grant funding, policy etc.
• Promotional and publicity support for major events.
• Coordination of major series.
• The management of QMP and, in the near future, Willowbank and perhaps a multi-use facility at Mick Doohan Raceway, North Brisbane.
• Judicial processes: For appeals under the GCRs and under the MQ constitution.
And this range of services and support is not exhaustive. Indeed, we are always trying to provide better or different services to our clubs and their members. These services are why MQ collects revenue from those who choose to participate within our system. But many of our members choose to be mystified as to why MQ collects revenue. The range of services, I suggest, fully justifies the revenue we collect. If your club does not fully exploit the services offered by MQ, is that MQ's fault?
Thankfully, we do have many enlightened members who understand the benefits of MQ membership and those include all our officials, all our subcommittee members and many individual members who generously support MQ's work in many different ways.
But there is a wide-spread and persistent and disappointing attitude out there amongst many of our members that MQ is somehow different from our clubs. True, one of MQ's duties to our members is to enforce the rules that govern our sport and that casts on to us the role of the regulator. That is a substantial benefit to our clubs and not rational grounds for opposition to MQ. We, MQ and all our clubs, are in fact the one organisation. It is not a case of MA and our clubs being conceptually different
But the negative attitude seems to dominate amongst those individual members who do not bother to understand what MQ offers. MQ is not perfect, and we do make mistakes. But all it takes to correct any mistakes, is to get in touch with MQ and express your opinion, to which you will always get a reasoned response. And we do not have unlimited resources. So every good idea cannot necessarily be funded. But we always aspire to finding equitable ways to better fund our increasingly expanding range of services.
Then we have the problem of trenchant apathy. This problem was recently highlighted by the recent election for board positions. We recently made voting much easier for clubs. No longer are ballots held for subcommittee positions. Now the only ballot that requires any participation from our clubs is the election for board positions. This year, that ballot was conducted on-line for the first time. After a series of reminders and prompts to clubs, how many clubs bothered to vote? A very disappointing 17 of 78 affiliated clubs. And one of those votes was informal. Therefore, we have only 20% of our clubs that consider a simple discussion at a committee meeting and then 5 minutes online to cast a vote is worthwhile contribution to MQ. A disappointing aspect of this apathy is that a representative from North Queensland could have joined the board for the first time. We were more than willing to adopt the technology to facilitate that historic regional participation on the MQ board. But that was ultimately not necessary because of the apathy of regional clubs. In an election in which only 16 valid votes were cast, it would not have taken many regional clubs to elect a regional representative to the MQ board. Perhaps the regions should keep that in mind for next year.
So the next time you are having a conversation with others complaining about MQ, ask yourself and your colleagues what you have done to improve the situation. And ask your club committee if it voted in the election for board positions and if not, why not.
This organisation will only get better if our members see themselves as part of MQ, not simply takers from, and complainants about, MQ. And the same thing goes for your relationship with your club. Your club needs you to help a lot more than they need your advice about what's wrong.
Until next month...