Merriman and Webster have run out of chances says WoolProducers

Don't reward Merriman and Webster for ignoring mulesing says WoolProducers

Wool
A WALLY ON MULESING: WoolProducers Australia says Wally Merriman, a NSW stud Merino breeder, has spent more than a decade on the AWI board doing little to seriously deal with the problems caused by mulesing.

A WALLY ON MULESING: WoolProducers Australia says Wally Merriman, a NSW stud Merino breeder, has spent more than a decade on the AWI board doing little to seriously deal with the problems caused by mulesing.

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WoolProducers Australia is cranking up its opposition to the re-election of Wally Merriman and David Webster to the board of Australian Wool Innovation

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WoolProducers Australia has stepped up its campaign against the re-election of Wally Merriman and David Webster to the Australian Wool Innovation board claiming the pair have wasted more than decade ignoring community and consumer concerns around mulesing.

Its president, Ed Storey, said the two long-serving AWI directors were now talking about "novel" ideas to defend growers' rights around the need for surgical mulesing.

The AWI election campaign has become increasingly vitriolic in recent days with supporters and opponents of Messrs Merriman and Webster taking to social media to take potshots at each other.

Michelle Humphries, who is a member of an election ticket with Messrs Merriman and Webster, took to Twitter to accuse WoolProducers of being desperate to control AWI.

All three were officially endorsed by the AWI Board Nomination Committee but Dr Humphries said WoolProducers was trying to discredit its decisions.

She said the industry was fed up with relentless personal attacks.

But WoolProducers said Messrs Webster and Merriman had been sitting on their hands over the mulesing issue.

"How much longer do they need given both Mr Merriman and Mr Webster have sat on the board for over a decade which has seen the eventuation of premiums for non-mulesed wool and the loss of markets for mulesed wool," Mr Storey said.

"WoolProducers has fielded phone calls from growers asking if our recommended candidates (Phil Holmes, Janelle Hocking-Edwards and Noel Henderson) would ban mulesing if elected, as some growers have been told that this would be the case.

TIME TO SAY GOODBYE: WoolProducers Australia says shareholders should vote WA farmer and businessman, David Webster, off the AWI board.

TIME TO SAY GOODBYE: WoolProducers Australia says shareholders should vote WA farmer and businessman, David Webster, off the AWI board.

"This is a ridiculous notion for a number of reasons, firstly these candidates have stated they support the continuance of mulesing and (would) bring fresh thinking to the AWI board," Mr Storey said.

"Secondly, the AWI board does not have the capability or authority to ban anything.

"WoolProducers has tried hard to work with AWI on this issue to retain growers social and legal right to mules over the last number of years but were repeatedly told by AWI that 'mulesing is not an issue' and that we were the 'only ones talking about mulesing'.

"The fact that mulesing is now no longer acceptable to many of our customers is solely the fault of AWI.

"It was simply not a viable business model that AWI employed which was to ignore your customers while continually not telling Australian growers the realities of the world market, despite WoolProducers trying to work constructively with them for many years on this very issue.

"WoolProducers strongly believes that change is required (on the AWI board) and that it is up to growers to vote for change if we are to have a viable industry."

CHANGE AGENT: WoolProducers Australia president, Ed Storey, says renewal on the AWI board was vital for ongoing industry viability.

CHANGE AGENT: WoolProducers Australia president, Ed Storey, says renewal on the AWI board was vital for ongoing industry viability.

Mr Storey said he would be attending the AWI annual general meeting on November 22 and was willing to exercise proxies on shareholders' behalf.

"Unless you are attending the meeting in person, all votes are to be received by AWI by 10am on Wednesday, November, 20.

"WoolProducers is recommending that at this stage people vote online to ensure they make the deadline."

The organisation has officially endorsed Dr Phil Holmes, a NSW-based livestock management consultant, Dr Janelle Hocking-Edwards, a South Australian farmer and former livestock researcher, and Noel Henderson, a Victorian stud Merino breeder and former senior businessman, as its preferred candidates.

"These three have all stated they will bring a new line of thinking to this (mulesing) and other critically important issue," Mr Storey said.

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