October 13, 2020

Pipe Bands Australia looking for applicants for President role

Pipe Bands Australia is taking a novel approach to finding the next president of its National Management Council.

Instead of a customary nominations of and election by current officers, the Australian association of state pipe band associations is actively asking for applications of interest in the job from “suitably qualified individuals.”

The National Management Council comprises a president, a secretary, and a treasurer, plus representatives from each state organization. As a collective association, Pipe Bands Australia comprises representatives from associations – or branches – in the Australian states of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. Each state association provides two delegates to elect Pipe Bands Australia officials. There is no association in the Northern Territory.

In August, Pipe Bands Australia President Chris Earl resigned before a meeting of the National Management Council to address his presidency, which had seen successive controversies over the last five years.

October 26th has been set as the closing date for applications of interest, with interviews of shortlisted candidates on October 30th. According to the posting, “the successful applicant will hold the position until the 2021 PBA Conference to be held at a date yet to be determined. As the incumbent President the successful applicant will be entitled to stand for re-election” – even though the president will technically not have been elected.

“The Pipe Bands Australia Constitution empowers the Committee to appoint a person to the role of President in the event of a casual vacancy,” said John Ralph, secretary. “There have been no changes to the Constitution, so that process remains the same. Elsewise, the President, and every role at PBA, are elected by PBA Councillors et al at each Conference, held every two years, typically. The calling for Expression of Interest to fill a casual vacancy at Pipe Bands Australia has also been used recently when casual vacancies for Principal – Rules and Administration, Committee Member and Committee Secretary were filled, so this approach is not new to this occasion. On each of these occasions, the Committee made the appointment.”

There is nothing that prevents a member of the National Management Council from expressing interest in the role.

The “behaviour” section of the Position Description includes “Personify and represent the PBA’s cultural and behavioural standards, including compliance with the PBA Code of Conduct; Act in the best interests of and be supportive of all members (competing and non-competing) at all times; and undertake the role in good faith and honesty and not use their role or information acquired by the role for an improper purpose, to gain advantage for themselves or cause detriment to the PBA.”

The organization reportedly came close to electing a new president in September, before deciding instead to reconsider its approach.

In 2017, the treasurer of Pipe Bands Australia was found guilty of defrauding the organization of reportedly as much as $200,000. Earl had allegedly survived a vote of no confidence following the fraud controversy. After the monetary loss, Pipe Bands Australia reportedly remained solvent after a loan from the Victorian Highland Pipe Band Association, which it is still repaying.

Coincidentally, pipes|drums published an editorial on October 12th that discussed the need for associations to encourage and recruit leaders who bring with them leadership experience gained through actual competition and organization of pipe bands.

Opinion: The leaders we deserve

Pipe Bands Australia will reportedly post the Expression of Interest to its website on October 14th.



Pipe Bands Australia president resigns

Earl re-elected to third Pipe Bands Australia term
September 13, 2019

Pipe Bands Australia preparing for controversial election
September 11, 2019

Former Pipe Bands Australia treasurer sentenced
March 6, 2019

Pipe Bands Australia inaugurates Hall of Fame with 12 inductees
April 5, 2018

Australian nominations up in the air
August 18, 2017

Australian losses exceed $180k
March 6, 2017

Australia accounting matter involves police
February 7, 2017

Whitehorse removed from Pipe Bands Australia
October 21, 2016



  1. Hi a slight correction to the article is suggested.
    The Committee (also referred to as the National Management Committee) is not required to, and often does not contain representatives from each state branch. There is a National Council that does contain two representatives for each state branch as well as executive members and Principals of Piping Drumming Ensemble etc. Council is the guiding body Nationally and the Committees role is to implement it’s goals and decisions between National conferences which are currently biannually.



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