Hi all,

As members will be aware, in 2012, Wikimedia Australia committed to a
project with the University of Queensland (UQ) and Australian Paralympic
Committee (APC). In February 2013, the three entities applied for an
Australian Research Council linkage grant, which was successful. The
conditions of the grant required Wikimedia Australia to put up $140,000 and
provide "in kind" support. As at the end of the 2012-2013 term in November
2013, however, no contracts had been signed, as is noted in the President
Craig Frankin's report at the 2013 AGM.

The linkage grant has been a matter which has occupied a considerable
amount of the 2013-14 committee's deliberations since it was elected. In
early December, I met with UQ and APC representatives in Sydney to gain an
understanding of what was involved in the project. To some extent it became
clear at this stage that Wikimedia Australia was not in a position to offer
"in kind" support simply because it is an all-volunteer committee with no
professional staff.

The committee then sought feedback from the Wikimedia Foundation's
grantmaking staff and was advised on 9 January that the project had a poor
match between value/impact and the money being spent, and WMF would not
fund it. Furthermore, we were advised that if we were to proceed with
funding using our reserve, which came from funds previously provided to
WMAU through the annual fundraiser in 2010, that requests for funding in
the future may be looked upon dimly. This was critical given that the
project requires $140,000 in commitments yet the organisation has $85,000
in funds.

Committee members are required to exercise a duty of care and diligence
under s84 of the Associations Incorporations Reform Act 2012 under which we
are governed, and under subsection (2)(d) must rationally believe the
judgment they exercise is in the best interests of the association. The
position we had been left in was untenable.

On 25 January 2014, and after taking advice, the committee passed a
resolution as follows:

*"Following the feedback received from Wikimedia Foundation grantmaking
staff with regards to the UQ sports history linkage project, the committee
vacates the previously passed resolution committing Wikimedia Australia to
$28,715 for the first year, as the organisation is unable to guarantee
future financial support."*

This was followed by a lengthy voice discussion at Wikimedia Australia's
January committee meeting later the same day, where all seven members of
the committee were in agreement.

On 12 February, I drafted a letter summarising the above which was given to
representatives from UQ and the APC at a face-to-face meeting in Melbourne,
which concluded our financial involvement in the project. Wikimedia
Australia has made it clear to UQ and APC, however, that we still support
the aims of the project and will do what we can to assist including helping
to run workshops for Wikipedia editing. The first one of these takes place
next weekend in Melbourne.

It has been a very difficult situation for us to resolve, but the
resolution now frees us up to do some quality work in future years with our
funds and volunteers. Wikimedia Australia's purpose is to fulfil our
Statement of Purpose, as well as to further Wikimedia Foundation's
strategic priorities within Australia, and we also want to engage our
members and supporters to participate actively in these.

I would welcome any questions regarding this matter either to myself
personally, or to the committee as a whole.


Steven Zhang
President - Wikimedia Australia
Wikimediaau-l mailing list

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