by Matthew Pawson CTA *
At our 32nd National Convention in Adelaide in March 2017, it was my privilege to deliver the opening address to members gathered from all around Australia. Of course, the majority of our members were not able to attend in person. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to revisit some of my thoughts from the convention to, hopefully, encourage and inspire all members to become more active by contributing where you can.
The Tax Institute enjoys a uniquely symbiotic relationship with its members. In the complex world of the tax professional, each member needs the Institute and the Institute needs each member. Our greatest assets are the minds, will and enthusiasm of our members. The intellectual property contributed to the Institute by members is second to none in this jurisdiction. Our knowledge value proposition is compelling and the consequential leveraging opportunity is unlimited.
Leaders in tax
Our volunteer model positions us in a compelling way as the leader in tax in so many ways. We are the leader in tax policy, the leader in tax education, the leader in tax advocacy, the leader in tax training, the leader in tax knowledge and the leader in tax experience. We are the leader in tax. But all of this is only made possible because of our members.
Over many years, the Institute has benefited from the passion and commitment of many high-profile leaders in tax thinking who have shaped and guided our work. We all know who they are. They contribute to the policy debate. They carry the advocacy burden. They are the heavy lifters. We thank them for their continued passion for tax and their ongoing commitment to the Institute.
But there are many others. They are our quiet achievers who go about supporting the work of the Institute without fanfare, recognition or accolades. They are our seasoned veterans, our state councillors, the occasional speakers at events. They are the ones who make contributions on technical papers. They are also the ones who invite colleagues or employees to become members of the Institute.
Increasingly, they are our younger members — the next generation. All of these members are the unsung heroes and are the life-blood of The Tax Institute family.
I take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge and thank each and every volunteer who contributes in any way to the Institute’s work.
Whether at national, state or local level, our members have many opportunities to contribute. I invite you to consider what you can contribute to this organisation and to the profession by becoming a more active member of the Institute in your sphere of influence.
My own journey with The Tax Institute is a case study which illustrates that anyone who has an interest in tax and believes in the vision and purpose of the Institute can be a contributor. I do not have space to present my full story here, but it is summarised succinctly by saying that I took all of the opportunities that came along and they have now led me to the distinguished position of president of The Tax Institute. It is an honour I am both humbled by and grateful for.
Diversity is our greatest strength
Last year, at the State Taxes Conference dinner in Darwin, I sat next to one of our members who made a simple yet profound comment — the greatest strength of our Institute is the wealth of diversity encompassed by The Tax Institute family.
Not only does the Institute attract all of the people I have described, but it draws them from all states and regions, all cities and towns, all races and cultures, all countries and origins, male and female, young and perhaps less young, all levels of education, all levels of expertise and all levels of experience.
To put a spin on the well-known certainty — apart from death, tax is what we all have in common.
What this shows is a wonderful diversity of membership of The Tax Institute that we should celebrate and recognise as one of our greatest strengths.
We need you
The conclusion I draw from all of my time and experience with The Tax Institute is simply this: we need every member!
I recently heard the incoming CEO of Volunteering Australia state that, in terms of hours contributed, volunteering is the biggest industry in Australia. I believe it was Kevin Rudd who said that, without volunteers, Australia stops! Well, without our volunteers, The Tax Institute also stops.
I sincerely thank all of our member volunteers for your significant, valuable and ongoing support of the Institute.
* Matthew Pawson CTA is The Tax Institute’s President.