Australian Wool Innovation claims campaign material issued by a group of board election aspirants has caused confusion among growers by mimicking a proxy form.
A letter sent to shareholders by candidates Steven Read, Michael Field and Don Macdonald ahead of the upcoming election included voting suggestions on the rear of the letter.
It is that page that AWI now says has caused confusion among some shareholders who contacted them in regards to "the proxy forms pre-filled with voting preferences in favour of Messrs Steven Read, Michael Field and Don Macdonald".
In a statement issued on Tuesday morning, AWI said it sought to clarify the status of the unofficial forms after being contacted by shareholders.
"AWI considers it a matter of great importance that director elections are held in a way that is fair to all candidates and that shareholders are provided with balanced and accurate information to assist them in exercising an informed vote,' it read.
"Those proxy forms were not issued by AWI.
"AWI encourages all shareholders to appoint proxies using the official AWI-issued proxy form that accompanied their Notice of Meeting and to consider the information provided in the Notice of Meeting before voting.
"Who shareholders choose to appoint as a proxy is entirely a matter for them."
But Michell Wool chief executive and AWI candidate Steven Read said they were shocked by any implication that they were attempting to influence the vote.
"It is just a how to vote form, just like you would see at any election," Mr Read said.
Mr Read said the voting suggestions were clearly not a proxy form.
"It is a big stretch by the AWI to suggest it can be misconstrued as a proxy form," he said.
Mr Read said they had set out the suggestions using a form from previous elections as a template.
"It's no different to any other election people might vote in, council, state or federal government elections," he agreed.
"It is effectively a how to vote card, whether people want to follow it is up to them.
"We haven't had access to any proxy forms, or filled any in, they would not be accepted if they were..
"There is no issue here, we have done nothing unreasonable."
Under the AWI election rules, shareholders of the company entitled to attend and vote at the annual general meeting have the right to appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf.
The proxy form sent out to AWI shareholders along with the notice of the annual meeting allows the shareholder to designate a proxy.
They can then either direct how they want their votes to be cast or leave their proxies undirected.
A form must be properly completed, signed and sent to Link Market Services at least 48 hours before the meeting for it to be valid.
An AWI spokesman added that if the Field Read form was correctly completed and sent it it could be counted.
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