TSA members in split from Australian Computer Society

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TSA members in split from Australian Computer Society

UPDATE: Breakaway members upset at lack of autonomy.

Members of the Telecommunications Association of Australia have announced they will restructure into a new independent not-for-profit industry organisation, leaving the Australian Computer Society (ACS).

In an email sent to TSA members on Wednesday, a group of executives that had previously been the TSA board complained that they have been given "no direct voice at the higher decision-making levels" of the ACS.

The TSA merged with the ACS in 2007, transferring its cash and intellectual property into the larger organisation. The TSA represents little over 170 dedicated members, compared to the ACS' wider 21,000.

In 2012, the ACS management committee decided the TSA should be named the Telecommunications Special Interest Group (SIG).

The former members of the TSA board said that this "single brand" policy "made the TSA almost invisible". They feared the TSA brand would "die a slow and painful death".

Dr Ian Opperman, director of digital productivity at the CSIRO, was voted in to lead the SIG at the expense of former TSA board member Tim Herring in December 2012.

Herring was among the outgoing TSA members to sign the email, which was also signed by Reg Coutts, John del Papa, Peter Gerrand, Peter Hormann, Peter HItchiner, Jim Holmes and Graham Shepherd.

Among their complaints, the breakaway group claimed their efforts to create a new web site for the TSA was met with stiff opposition from the ACS, which was launching its own new site.

The TSA members sought an agreement to amicably de-merger, which the ACS refused due to a dispute over intellectual property assets both parties claim to own. 

Earlier this month, ACS registered "Telecommunications Society of Australia" and "Telecommunications Journal of Australia" with ASIC. 

According to the email, ACS president Dr Nick Tate refused to return the intellectual property of the TSA and declared that the computer society would take direct control over it instead.

ACS has forbidden the outgoing TSA board from using that name for their new society, ditto the title Telecommunications Journal of Australia (TJA).

UPDATE: 27/06/2013

The ACS has released a statement on the matter this morning:

"The change in leadership of the Telecommunications Board is a natural part of the governance process within the ACS and reflects the principles of elected leadership within a voluntary society operating for the benefit of its members.

"The ACS regrets but respects the decision of the previous TSA board to resign from their positions. The TSA however continues within the ACS. The change in leadership presents an opportunity for a renewed focus for the TSA and to allow the TSA to enter the next phase of its long history.”

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