Hinch Set To Stand On Gutnick Ticket

The Age

Thursday May 31, 2001


Media personality Derryn Hinch is poised to join the ticket by which former Melbourne president Joseph Gutnick hopes to return to power.

Hinch, who has publicly supported Gutnick in the week since he resigned from the Melbourne board, confirmed last night that he had been approached to join the ticket.

Hinch claimed he was not at liberty to reveal his decision, but it is believed he renewed his membership on Tuesday in order to be elected. Earlier in the week he told The Age he would run if asked. Gutnick is expected to announce at least four members of his ticket at a meeting of supporters this evening.

``I'm offering all my support and I will be at the meeting but I can't say anything more than that," Hinch said.

``As of this minute, I haven't accepted a place on anybody's ticket. Am I considering a place on a ticket? Yes I am. That is true."

It is understood that other members of the ticket include Michael Givoni, a member of the management team with the Spotless catering group, George Zagon, a member of the Redlegs coterie who contested the 1996 election, and anti-merger activist Maree Mulcahy.

Greg Sword, the federal president of the ALP who moved in behind Gutnick last Friday, was not confirmed as a candidate last night. Neither he nor Zagon is expected to be present at tonight's meeting at Gutnick's Kimberley Gardens motel in East St Kilda, due to commitments in Tasmania.

Gutnick was interstate himself yesterday when the wisdom of his campaign to remove the current board of 10 and reclaim the presidency mid-season was criticised by the Melbourne Cricket Club and once more challenged by senior coach Neale Daniher.

MCC president Bruce Church said yesterday that the club, which appoints two of the football club's directors, was not in favor of calling an extraordinary general meeting before the end of the season.

Church said: ``The football club should resolve its boardroom difficulties after the season has finished. It appears there is nothing to be gained but much to be lost if internal wrangles lead to a team of demoralised Demons on the field.

``The MCC is a key stakeholder of the MFC, given that Melbourne was spawned by the cricket club and about 27 per cent of our members support the Demons."

Bill Guest and Alan Stockdale are the two MCC-appointed directors on the board, but if they were to be unseated in an election by Gutnick the new board would have veto over who will replace them.

Last Sunday, Daniher strongly advised Gutnick to hold off his challenge and again he appealed to the former president yesterday.

``What I said was that I'd like the supporters to get behind us on Saturday night. When you have these boardroom rumbles you can get a divided supporter group," Daniher said.

``Basically I said two things: the team would love to have all our supporters behind us Saturday night, it's a big game for us; the second thing is a timing issue.

``I think there needs to be an election, no doubt about that, the thing is when should it be on. My preference, and from a footy department and footy team point of view, is that it would be better for the team if it were held after the season."

Daniher said he was not taking sides in the political squabble, merely attempting to safeguard his players and their season.

© 2001 The Age

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