MCC Reserve

Annual General Meeting

2022

The 185th Annual General Meeting of the Melbourne Cricket Club was held on Tuesday August 16, 2022 at 7.30pm AEST.

The meeting was held in person in the Members’ Dining Room on Level 2 of the MCC Members’ Reserve at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Members also had access to the meeting via an online platform, facilitated by independent operator Lumi.

View: Notice of Annual General Meeting
View: MCC 2021/22 Annual Report
View: Minutes of Annual General Meeting 2021

VIDEO: Michael Happell discusses proposed motions for 2022 AGM


Proposed motion to clarify 50-Year membership arrangements and introduce a 50-Year Social membership category

Dear members,

At the AGM, Full members were asked to vote on a set of rule changes to clarify 50-Year membership arrangements and introduce a 50-Year Social Membership category. Details on this motion can be found below.

View: Proposed rule changes and explanatory memorandum
View: Marked up Club Rules

Overview:

By way of background, the 50-Year membership classification was first created by the Club in 1965 to recognise the long-term loyalty of those who had been members for over 50 years, providing them with additional facilities and benefits which continues to this day in the form of access to dedicated Level 2 seating and the John Landy Room. This classification was also provided a discounted annual subscription, introduced as a 25 per cent discount to a Full member’s subscription fee (this fee was set at $15 in 1965, being 75 per cent of Full membership subscriptions for that year, and has not changed since, despite all other membership fees increasing at approximately CPI every year).

The Committee believes there are four fundamental points in relation to the 50-Year membership classification which need to be addressed in the interests of overall fairness for all members both current and future, our obligations to maintain the amenity of the Members’ Reserve and to bring arrangements in line with contemporary times.

Below I have made some initial comments on each of these points to explain the Committee’s rationale in presenting these rule changes to members at the 2022 AGM. I encourage all members to read in full the proposed rule changes and accompanying explanatory memorandum.

1. Recognition of 50-Year members in the Club Rules

Despite the introduction of the 50-Year member classification back in 1965, the cohort has never been formally recognised in the rules of the Club. In the interests of good governance and transparency, it is imperative that this category is included in the Rules to properly reflect the custom and practice of the last 57 years.

2. Inclusion of initial specified cohort of female members to the 50-Year membership classification

As females weren’t eligible to be members of the Club in their own right until 1984, there are currently no female members in the 50-Year membership cohort and, under the existing arrangements, this will not change until 2034.

Many females who moved quickly to take up the opportunity to seek membership of the Club when it first became available to them would now be 50-Year members, if they had been allowed to join the waiting list and become members before 1983 and 1984 respectively. For these females, the gender based rules that prevented them from joining the waiting list earlier are now preventing them from enjoying the privileges of 50-Year membership that their male contemporaries (by age) enjoy.

Rather than wait a further 12 years until the 50-Year membership classification will feature female members, the Committee proposes that female members who meet the below criteria will become eligible to be classified as 50-Year members and receive the benefits associated with this classification of membership. This decision underpins the desire to achieve long-term gender equality across all classifications and categories of membership, which ultimately reflects the Club's objectives around fairness, diversity and inclusion.

Under the proposal, current members who meet the following criteria will be classified as 50-Year members:

  1. became a female Waiting List Nominee before August 31, 1987 and then subsequently either:
    1. accepted an offer of Restricted membership on or before September 30, 1997; or
    2. became a Full member on the basis of a converted Lady's Card or Guest Card, on or before September 30, 1997; and

  2. are 65 years of age or older.

Members who satisfy the above criteria by August 31 each year will be acknowledged as 50-Year members from the following membership year commencing on September 1. Female members will be added to the 50-Year membership classification from the start of the 2023/24 membership year (September 1, 2023), should the motion be passed at the 2022 AGM.While no simple rule structure can exactly reflect the particular circumstances of every individual, we believe updating the Club’s rules fairly and reasonably places this initial cohort of female members on the same footing as male members of the same age in terms of their journey to reach 50-Year membership.

3. 50-Year membership subscriptions

The $15 annual fee for 50-Year members has over time changed from only being a 25 per cent discount to recognise our long-serving members (in 1965, $15 was 75 per cent of the annual Full member subscription) to a token amount in 2022 which does not reflect the contemporary costs of managing our Club, amenities or MCG entry contribution for members to our venue hirers and is not sustainable in the long term. If not addressed now, the fee of $15 will create significant inter-generational unfairness between members over time.

Our latest actuarial models show that the 50-Year member numbers (currently sitting at approximately 4,000 in the 2021/22 season) will gradually grow towards 20,000 over the next 30 years (reflecting some 33 per cent of our current total Full membership base). Having such a high percentage of members paying a token fee is clearly not sustainable financially in the long-term. I would like to clarify that this problem will be facing us regardless of the above proposal to include female members in the 50-Year member classification.

Your Committee is of the strong belief that continuing the very significant “benefit” to 50-Year members of the token $15 annual subscription when it is clear that future generations of members will not receive this benefit is both unfair and potentially divisive.

Accordingly, we have proposed a change to the 50-Year membership fee that the Committee believes is more sustainable and financially prudent in the long-term. Given the long-term nature of this problem and the recognition that this will be a financial adjustment for current 50-Year members, the increase proposed will be gradual over the next six year period. At the end of the six year period, 50-Year members will benefit from a 50 per cent discount on the Full membership rates for their geographic membership classification.

4. Introduction of 50-Year Social membership category

The Committee deeply values the continued support of the Club’s longest serving members and recognises a need to create an option for those members, currently within the 50-Year member classification, who are either unable or no longer wish to attend event days at the MCG but want to remain involved in Club life. Therefore, a new category – the 50-Year Social membership – is being proposed with a subscription fee of $15 per membership season to cater to those 50-Year members who wish to retain their long held and treasured membership without having the additional entitlement of access to the Members’ Reserve for match days.

The 50-Year Social members will have a range of entitlements, including attending selected non-match day functions, such as the Annual 50-Year member lunches, visiting the MCC Library and Museum, enjoying discounted entry to the Australian Sports Museum, free MCG Tours and nominating or seconding candidates for the waiting list. Full details of this membership category have been outlined in the aforementioned explanatory memorandum.

The Committee has deliberated on these changes deeply and for an extended period of time. A variety of options and solutions were considered, discussed at length and stress tested before settling on the best package of changes to present to members at the AGM. These changes need to be considered together, as fairness and equity is only achieved through all of these changes being implemented simultaneously.

We believe that delivering these changes now is the right thing to do for our Club and all our members, and that the changes are in the best interest of preserving our wonderful Club for generations to come.

I encourage you to take the time to read the supporting documents ahead of the AGM. Should you wish to ask any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Club directly via membership@mcc.org.au.

Warm regards,

Michael Happell
President
Melbourne Cricket Club