RSL set to face battle in court
The future of the embattled RSL veterans group could end up in the courts with at least two legal actions revolving around proposed restructures in the wake of a series of police fraud and mismanagement investigations.
RSL National and RSL NSW had proposed a new constitution for the group to go to a vote in NSW next Tuesday, but a groundswell of opposition backed by a high-profile law firm has challenged the right of the move the executive had hoped would clean up the operations of the 100-year-old group.
RSL National interim chairman John King has refused to comment about the fracas engulfing the League that includes alleged fraud investigations by the Australian Federal Police, NSW Police and the charity watchdog ACNC.
He also declined to comment about RSL National now engaging a workplace lawyer after attempts to make CEO and company secretary Georgie Macris redundant just 24 hours after she went to police with allegations of potential fraud.
A new secretary was appointed without her knowledge while she has been on forced leave pending legal discussions.
RSL NSW now faces a rearguard action with subbranches rallied and a barrister engaged over what they've been warned was a "radical restructure" that corporatises the multimillion-dollar group at the expense of grassroot members and original volunteer structure.
"There has been a lot of talking 'at us' over the last couple of months, but very little talking 'with us' and being prepared to sit down and fully discuss the concerns that many subbranches have expressed," an internal memo sent to 350 NSW subbranches states.
Alan Lyons, senior vice president and treasurer of RSL's Rockdale sub-branch, said the proposed NSW RSL constitution stripped away any authority subbranches had.
"We've been given a take it or leave it option, there is no other options and the main thing is a sub-branch either has got to be a company limited by guarantee or hand over everything to head office, there is no other option under this constitution," Mr Lyons said.
"It's about power and with that power comes the money because there is about $150 million in total assets held by (NSW) sub branches and they (NSW RSL) want their hands on it, that's the bottom line."