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CEO memo: Good governance key to our democracy

Megan Motto FGIA, Chief Executive Officer, Governance Institute of Australia


First of all, I am delighted to share with members the appointment of Geoff Stirton FGIA FCG as company secretary at Governance Institute. Geoff brings a wealth of experience drawn from an impressive resumé of senior company secretariat roles with a variety of organisations, including MLC, Investa, The Trust Company, Magellan Financial Group and Westpac. He has long-standing involvement in the not-for-profit sector as a councillor/director with the Australian Scholarships Foundation. He has been a fellow of Governance for over 20 years and is a member of the Legislation Review Committee. Geoff joins the executive management team reflecting the strategic importance of the company secretary role.

It’s been a busy 2023 so far for us at the Governance Institute, and as we head into the second half of the year, our work will only continue to ramp up, building on some of our major thought leadership pieces and policy achievements so far.

On 1 August, the Governance Institute, in partnership with the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute, will host our inaugural Indigenous Governance Forum. This virtual conference will hear from a range of experts with extensive knowledge on how the principles of Indigenous governance practices can be embedded more broadly in transformative partnerships. This includes how we can better care for our country and ecosystems, learning from place-based Indigenous land management systems, shaping cultural and procurement strategies and leaders as custodians. There is much we can learn — and should learn — about our First Nations people and their societal decision-making processes that have been honed through tens of thousands of years of practice. We look forward to what will be incredibly thought-provoking and inspirational conversations about how traditional and contemporary governance practices can work in tandem to provide better outcomes for all Australians.

I had the privilege of being at Parliament House in Canberra a few weeks ago when the historic bill for a referendum on the Voice was passed in the Senate. What struck me was how fundamental good governance is to the proper functioning of our democracy. It’s been reassuring to have had a number of in-depth discussions with parliamentarians from across the political divide who also feel passionate about governance issues, not just in the corporate sphere but across society more broadly — and indeed, given recent scandals, within Parliament House itself. Ethics, diversity and inclusion, codes of conduct, integrity, whistleblower protections, climate sustainability and improving business and regulatory processes are front of mind of those we spoke to, and we’re confident that the work of the Governance Institute will continue to provide much food for thought for those who are pushing these issues as part of the legislative agenda.

While in Canberra, it was also fantastic to meet with some of the Institute’s ACT members. It’s been a while between drinks, but it was great to reconnect and begin to reinvigorate social connections with our small but growing membership there. From lifetime members like Brian Thomas, who has been with the Institute for more than 50 years, to some of our newer members, we are so fortunate to have such a long history and wealth of governance knowledge in our organisation at a local level. We invite all our state members to attend these networking events as a way of asking questions and learning from each other’s real-world experience.

And don’t forget our Not-for-Profit Governance Forum on 19 July — the event of the year for those working in the for-purpose sector. With a quarter of our membership involved in the NFP space, we’re bringing you key speakers such as Commissioner Sue Woodward from the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, and Dr Andrew Leigh MP, Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury. Make sure you don’t miss out!



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Acting for You — July 2023

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