For many decades, the GSDCA has served the GSD well in Australia, unifying all clubs and remaining at the forefront of breed improvement schemes. It must continue to be progressive and innovative to ensure our breed’s future.
To that end it’s time to bring forward new leadership and importantly, a strategic vision, a strategic vision that is based on a clearly articulated and achievable five-year plan. A plan based on a shared, transparent and committed vision by those who have the idealism and passion for the GSD not just as a show dog but a healthy, reliable and trustworthy family dog, as an obedience, agility, herding, working utilitarian service dog.
In standing for President it is appropriate to reflect on my achievements as a past GSDCA President, a period that spanned 19 years. This has relevancy because those achievements form the disciplined backbone of the GSDCA today and represent a comparative measure of my track record of commitment, goal focused success, and suitability for the job. When one applies for a job there are two primary elements expected by an employer. What is your experience, more to the point, besides rhetoric, exactly what have you achieved in the past and what is your vision for the future - why should I employ you as opposed to your oponent?
When I was elected President all those years ago, my first task was to unite the clubs, to get them to put aside their deeply entrenched parochial attitudes for a common cause, the German Shepherd Dog. At that time virtually nothing existed in Australia other than an All Breeds environment. During my tenure a 10-year plan was put forward and with the united support of like-minded people the following initiatives and schemes were put into place, and they remain today:
- Overhaul of the GSDCA constitution making it relative to club/members needs
- Restructure of GSDCA Executive - creation of statements of duties and KPI's
- Creation of National Breed Survey Scheme – Surveyor training/licensing
- BS Year Book
- Creation of tattoo scheme
- Creation of HD/ED Scheme
- BS classification for excellent grading
- Creation of Judges Sub-Committee with a Judges Chairperson
- Creation of Obedience Sub-Committee with an Obedience Chairperson
- GSDCA Tooth Certificate
- Kennel HD achievement medals
- New style Review
- Creation of Hemophilia Scheme
- Creation of a National Breed Commission/NBC Chairperson
- Creation of a Main Breed Show and integrated State Breed Shows
- ANKC affiliation
- Creation of a Hereditary Diseases Committee
A summation of the GSDCA world standing and reputation at the time of my 14th year was encapsulated by SV President, Herman Martin when he publicly stated; “The GSDCA and the breed in Australia is ranked 4th in the world.” It has been said the style of leadership during my Presidency was autocratic, but it was a style that attained significant objectives and this can be borne out by the fact that it was unequivocally supported by all club Presidents & members in order to achieve significant milestones; bringing the GSDCA from total obscurity and non-relevance to one of the most respected GSD breed organisations in the world.
Times have changed and leadership styles have changed with them. Today’s leaders must not be autocratic, they must be transparent and have a vision and passion for the breed, importantly they need to lead by example; encouraging those who share the passion and allowing them to develop their full potential.
It’s time to end division; it is time for a return to effective and collective leadership, transparency and communicative openness and to have an organization that has an agreed to, documented and clear strategic plan that is actually managed and implemented.
I have tried very hard during this election process to be respectful toward my opponent, Mr Vince Tantaro. I have abstained from mass soliciting of votes and inciting inflammatory and fake news, particularly in regard to the WUSV, the WUSV harmonization program, and particularly in regard to IPO, which was never part of the submitted program by me for Australia for anyone other than those who legally and lawfully wished to partake in it. I have done this, because I believed we needed to start repairing bitter division and bringing together what are diminishing numbers of individuals who have a passion for the German Shepherd Dog and wish to be in an environment that is conducive to mutual respect, an end to division and the establishment of a program of renewed breed popularity.
In the context of a level playing field I have had the disadvantage in so far as not being able to communicate with members to convey my views. To tell members why they should support me. In the past this was done as an inclusion in the GSDCA Review. This year it was excluded from the Review and sent to club Secretaries, leaving it to them to distribute to their members. In many ways it is the 11th hour, but not to say something in this regard is to my continued disadvantage and Mr Tantaro’s continued advantage. Perhaps even more importantly, for what it is worth, it gives some idea as to my future vision for the GSDCA and my reason for standing as President.
I am aware that Mr Tantaro has taken the tactical approach, that as WUSV Continental Director I put the WUSV ahead of the GSDCA and as though extracted from a science fiction novel he has conveyed to members that there is clandestine and subversive WUSV intent at play. Very few people in this country including Vince Tantaro have dedicated so much of their life to the GSDCA as I have, and the records show when it came to the crunch, as past GSDCA President, when it came to whether I put my kennel, my self interest or the GSDCA first, the GSDCA was placed first, and the validity of that statement and details pertaining to the early GSDCA period is contained within my biography which is available on my website for those who may care to read it - just click the 'biography' link.
I need to say something that is very important, if for no other reason than to set the record straight.
The majority members of GSD clubs in Australia determine what happens within the GSDCA structure. Other than the ANKC, no other organization determines what happens within the GSDCA organisation nor its member clubs. To suggest otherwise is a total nonsense, and to believe this is not the case is to be unaware of the GSDCA / ANKC / ANKC Breed Club / WUSV constitutions and their interactive organisational arrangements and legal obligations to one another. In the case of the WUSV, the GSDCA each year ''voluntarily'' elects to pay its subscriptions to the WUSV and in doing so, as happens with any organisation membership, agrees to support and uphold its WUSV membership obligations, uphold its ideals, rules and initiatives. If you don't, then why would you pay annual subscriptions, more to the point - if on an annual basis you ask the WUSV Secretariat to accept your not insubstantial subscription, why would you then so disparagingly criticise the WUSV and its management and complain that you are being dictated to?! To be frank, on the basis of having a choice, and it is your choice, if you are so embittered, so critical of the WUSV and its management and representative in Australia, me, why would you wish to remain a member of any organisation that you had such bitter contempt for?
As I stated in my CV provided to the GSDCA for publication, if elected President, a detailed five-year plan will be presented at an early year meeting of all Club Presidents who shall be an integral component to that plan in regard to discussion, debate, content, agreement, commitment and execution.
Some of the more important items on that 5 year agenda:
- Review of the WUSV Harmonization program. A frank, factual and open discussion with insight into the position of the WUSV in regard to the Harmonization program and my position as WUSV Continental Director. An in depth analysis of each Harmonization item – open discussions that are free of hysteria and misinformation in regard to the practicalities, issues and matters pertaining to implementation.
- Development of a time line program for the '9–13 month puppy character test' including training and licensing of Australian judges
- Frank and open discussion regarding BH and the issues clubs have in regard to BH, ANKC endorsement, and the practicalities of providing training facilities for BH
- Discussion on DNA processes, WUSV A and ANKC options and DNA implementation
- Review of the GSDCA constitution to make it applicable to todays environment and needs including overhauling the current convoluted executive election process and the difficulties pertaining to remote member location voting. Discussions re a restriction to 2 x two year electoral terms for the GSDCA President to encourage new blood to the organisation and prevent a strangle-hold on executive positions.
- Review of the complete NBC/Breed Survey processes, breed survey integrity and credibility, Breed Surveyor recruitment criteria /training/induction/ Breed Surveyor retirement processes/creation of senior BS 'Emeritus' consultant role, minimum 2 Surveyor policy and general BS management processes and BS accountability
- Integration of NBC/Judges/Education meetings and stepping away from the practice of behind closed doors secrecy to general members
- Review of National Show 'SV only' judges criteria
- Discussion re viability of a GSDCA managed, WUSV/SV interactive 'Australasian German Shepherd Dog magazine'
- Review of Sires progeny event at Nationals - purpose, critiquing structure, breeder acceptance - value
- Review of social events at Nationals - Presidents dinner, over long opening ceremony/award presentations that many recipients do not attend, etc. etc.
- Broadening the scope of the GSDCA Review
- Lateral discussion in regard to the implementation of an 'Australian Sieger Show' that at at its core provides attraction to exhibitors, objective judgments and clear breed direction
- Review of the LSH interbreeding policy - LSH/SC inter breeding program
- Develop and implement a ‘GSDCA endorsed breeders - 5 star puppy certificate’
- Consider amendments to the constitution to make club Presidents more integral to the management of the GSDCA – a Board of GSDCA Directors who the GSDCA executive report to
- Reconstruct the Obedience Sub Committee to broaden it’s focus, levels of expertise and broader inclusiveness of obedience, utilitarian and working dog based activities
- Put in place initiatives to educate members in regard to overangulation of the hindquarter and curvature of the spine - breeding and bloodline advice - Judges and Breed Surveyor clear directives and management of those directives by the NBC and Judges SC Chairs
- Regular breed related and relative breed education articles in the Review
- Discussion/action; ''WUSV Australasian conference/show/seminar''
- Developing meaningful breed advice to club members in regard to both SC and LSH animals in the form of clear breed direction, literature and lectures
- In the context of significant breed improvement, with the reinstatement of GSDCA/WUSV/SV good will, developing a concerted effort to see the importation of semen from the SV to Australia
- Developing a culture and a program for the GSDCA that is broader and more inclusive than one of ‘’show dogs and the next National’’.
- Creating a mutually respectful and meaningful bond with regular interaction between the GSDCA and GSDACNZ
- Repairing the great damage that has been done to WUSV/SV/GSDCA relations and developing meaningful and regular dialogue with those organisations and WUSV sister clubs