Merriman sorry for man-in-the-mirror scandal

Wal Merriman's express post apology


Wool
AWI chief executive Stuart McCullough and chairman Wal Merriman during Senate Estimates in Canberra earlier this year.

AWI chief executive Stuart McCullough and chairman Wal Merriman during Senate Estimates in Canberra earlier this year.

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An express post letter of apology has been sent to stud principals present during the so-called ‘man-in-the-mirror’ event from Australian Wool Innovation chairman Wal Merriman.

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AN express post letter of apology has been sent to stud principals present during the so-called ‘man-in-the-mirror’ event from Australian Wool Innovation chairman Wal Merriman.

On the eve of AWI’s anticipated grilling at Senate Estimates in Canberra tomorrow, Mr Merriman wrote a letter, dated 18 October, apologising for the event in which he secretly watched independent woolgrowers in an anonymous focus group in June, behind a one-way-mirror.

In the letter, which was sent to participants of the meeting, Mr Merriman called it a "poor decision" to watch and guaranteed it would "never happen again" under his directorship.

"It was my mistake to not insist to be in the room with you and I apologise for this," the letter stated.

The eight woolgrowers in the focus group discussed merino genetics, including breeding larger framed sheep with fewer wrinkles to aid in the prevention of flystrike.

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In the letter, Mr Merriman said he had previously been in the room as part of his fiduciary duty to woolgrowers to understand the issues affecting the industry.

“Never before have these meetings been held in a room with one-way glass to another room and if the AWI board knew such a room was booked, it would never have allowed it,” the letter stated.

There has been growing pressure on Mr Merriman to step down after nine years as chair of the industry body.

AWI chief executive Stuart McCullough, together with Mr Merriman, will face a Senate Estimates hearing in Canberra tomorrow.​ 

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