Pipe Bands Australia selects Hart as new president
Pipe Bands Australia, the collective organization of the country’s piping and drumming associations, has appointed Ainsley Hart as its new president, following a month-long search and two and half months since the abrupt resignation of Chris Earl.
A resident of Sydney, Hart was chairman of Pipe Bands New South Wales, and has served on the Pipe Bands Australia’s National Management Council for the last five years. 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.
“We have a good deal of business on our agenda and of course, there are a lot of challenges to face,” Hart said. “I am very much looking forward to drawing on my time in bands and as a competitor to bring some of that grassroots understanding of how the association’s decisions and direction play out to the members. I believe the collaborative approach that the National Council and Committee took in the selection process for this role was a positive step towards working together, and I plan to make sure that this type of approach is how we move forward.”
Hart is the former pipe-major of the Grade 1 City of Blacktown, solo piper and a current piping judge. He teaches piping at Knox Grammar School in Sydney. He ran unsuccessfully against Earl in Pipe Bands Australia’s September 2019 election.
Earl, a drum-major with a Grade 4 band, resigned in late August after 13 of 16 members of the Council reportedly signed a resolution of no confidence in him as president. The organization went through various deliberations and truncated processes before deciding to put out a call for applicants for the president role.
Pipe Bands Australia under Earl had been mired in various controversies, including a fraud scandal with a former treasurer, the suspension of several members and eventual dissolution of the Grade 1 City of Whitehorse, and a protracted defamation lawsuit with and suspension of a prominent instructor, Andrew Womersley. The organization overturned and expunged Womersley’s suspension from its records in September and has reportedly settled the case.
Hart starts his activities as president quickly, with the organization’s annual general meeting on November 9th.
“Operationally, some of the Australian states are open enough to have competitions for both bands and soloists,” Hart added. “New South Wales was fortunate to have a fantastic weekend solo competition, run with the new normal of social distancing, health checks and lots of hand sanitizer. There was a lot of extra work and learning to make this sort of event happen and the association on both the branch and national level needs to be on the front foot to facilitate transitioning to events in this environment.”
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