Sunday, October 20, 2013

No 'Free Range' voice in Victoria

It's very sad that In Victoria there is no longer a voice for the free range egg industry. The Free Range Farmers Association Inc. appears to be in complete meltdown. Following very dodgy events over the past 12 months the Association has lost four former presidents, two former treasurers and two former secretaries. It is understood that several 'ordinary members' have not renewed their membership as a result of the scandalous behaviour of the committee - but their names still appear as 'members' on the FRFA website. What is the association trying to hide?
The industry deserves better than this but the current President, Dianne Moore and Secretary, Jessica Luketic refuse to recognise the problems they have created.
At a time when Woolworths and Coles have taken on the issue of stocking density standards for 'free range' eggs it's hard to believe that these people have been so prepared to destroy a strong industry voice. Sure, there are animal welfare groups out there making some of the running, but the egg industry deserves its own voice.


Free Range Farmers Association Inc said...

As an ex-journalist you should know not to post non-factual nonsense. Your comment that "Free Range Farmers Association Inc. appears to be in complete meltdown" is false. We would like to know what your definition of meltdown is? In addition, we would like to know how it "appears" so? We are amidst completing our final farm audits of existing members as well as a number of new members. The associations website Member Listing is completely up to date and transparent. You have been advised that our Association (nor our members) will tolerate bullying of any nature, especially cyber bullying. The vast majority of members who have not renewed membership raised concern about your negative, upsetting or bullying remarks and who would blame them. Your correspondence (harassment or comments prejudicial to the interests of the Association) will be purely forwarded to our legal representation for further action. No further comments will be made by FRFA representatives. We Suggest that you familiarize yourself with this topic:

freeranger said...

Thanks Jessica,

Your response demonstrates what I and other egg farmers mean by 'meltdown'. FRFA membership is in decline. You simply deny facts and fail to meet your obligations as committee members.

You refer to me as an 'ex-journalist' – but I assure you that I am still writing and FRFA has no problem publishing much of the information that I generate.

It is clear that no inspections of existing FRFA farms were conducted in the 2012-13 year (apart from your farm). A few inspections of new farms were carried out during the year.

I am very happy for FRFA to not respond to any of our posts. Please don't phone or send silly text messages. You have made these statements in the past and you have shown that you are not prepared to engage in real discussion.

By all means take legal action if you consider my conduct constitutes cyber bullying. The Free Range Farmers Association Inc. has been the bullying vehicle for the past year or so as you well know. My comments have been confined to alerting members (and the public) about your activities.

Many of your members have chosen not to renew this year because the Free Range Farmers Association Inc. provides no benefit to them – what do you offer to their businesses?

I suggest that you look at the Model Code requirements for Associations in Victoria and the regulations in Victoria for Natural Justice. Go for it!

Anonymous said...

Jessica, instead of continuing to ignore realities and screeching at us why don’t you stand up for the micro businesses you are supposed to represent.
The recent Queensland decision is a disaster and FRFA have thus far made no comment about the bird flu in NSW. What the hell is going on with you??

In response to your accusations of bullying..... Members of the FRFA executive initially accused my farm business of laziness, lying and incompetence. These accusations were made internally and externally, publicly and privately. The Committee of the FRFA have consistently bullied and harassed me and my farm for the last 12 months. I have heard rumours of the accusations levelled against us from members who have since resigned but have still to hear it from FRFA. There has been no meaningful communication from the committee despite my repeated requests to try to sort the issues out.

The FRFA Executive over the past 12 months, when it has bothered to respond to reasonable requests and comment, has replied with personal abuse or misinformation. Why do you consider it is ok to act in this manner and then pretend to be upset when someone shines a light into the sewer.

FRFA failed to conduct an inspection of our farm last year even though we were the first to pay our dues for the year and it had been decided that inspections would be undertaken earlier in the time frame. The result of this failure on FRFA’s part was withdrawal of our Humane Choice partnership agreement (which Philip originated) and this has resulted in me having to spend resources removing their logo from my publicity despite the CEO of HSI’s statement “your farm is what free range is about”.

I am tired of your threats and accusations – if you choose to take legal action do! We have had legal opinion, have advised FRFA of this and have placed a claim for costs. When you see your legal advisor you would be well advised to discuss contract law, defamation and bullying with them and to show them a sample of the correspondence to and about us over the last 12 months.

What are you insinuating by “ex” journalist? FRFA continues to post Philip’s comments. You really do have a nasty, ill informed turn of phrase.
anne westwood