Troubled Framlingham Aboriginal Trust AGM declared ‘invalid’ as receivers take over

RECEIVERS have been appointed to run the troubled Framlingham Aboriginal Trust after its annual meeting last December was declared invalid.

Fresh elections must be conducted within the next two months for all seven positions on the trust committee, Supreme Court judge Ross Robson ruled yesterday.

He also ordered that two sons of former long-term administrator Geoff Clark be allowed to participate in the elections after their exclusion in the December vote.

The Clark brothers, Aaron and Jeremy, along with co-plaintiff Tim Chatfield, were also awarded legal costs for their Supreme Court appeal earlier this year against the elections. These costs are to be paid out of trust funds.

Two representatives of Geelong-based Jirsch Sutherland have been appointed to manage assets and undertakings of the trust and to hold office until declaration of the new poll.

They have been given all powers and function of the trust committee of management and authority to conduct elections. If more than seven nominations are received for the committee vacancies the receivers are empowered to conduct a secret ballot. Tenures on the committee will be determined by the number of votes received by candidates or by lot.

The trust’s internal turmoils erupted in 2011 when Geoff Clark, his wife and son Aaron were ousted by other members of the Framlingham community after allegations of impropriety. New administration was appointed and investigations launched by the Office of Aboriginal Affairs Victoria. No charges have been laid against the Clarks. In December the new leadership announced a new chapter in  harmony for Aboriginal people.

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