Olsson seeks federal review of AWI election nomination rejection

Terry Sim, November 16, 2020

Australian Wool Growers Association director Chick Olsson.

NEW South Wales wool grower Chick Olsson is seeking a review by the Federal Government of his rejected 2019 nomination for the Australian Wool Innovation board.

The former AWI board member and current director of the Australian Wool Growers Association Chick Olsson last year had his nomination form rejected by AWI due to inadequate shareholder signatures.

Mr Olsson believes he had 99 verified signatures of the 100 required but had his nomination prematurely rejected without verification of further shareholders among the 134 who had supported his candidature.

In a letter sent late last month to Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment Andrew Metcalfe and Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie, Mr Olsson outlines what he believes were potential breaches of the AWI board election process.

An AWI spokesperson told Sheep Central in October last year that “additional and ongoing support was provided to him (Mr Ollson) which was over and above the support required or requested by other candidates. See Chick tells Australian Wool Innovation he is 99 not out.

However, Mr Olsson still feels he was obstructed in standing, due to his large base of wool grower support and a previously joint ticket, initially allowed, but then disallowed by AWI. He also believes it is very difficult and highly unlikely that fresh professional board talent will stand for the AWI board with the current AWI electoral system.

“I believe I should have been allowed to stand and then allow woolgrowers to decide if I was a suitable candidate.

“I am seeking your guidance as to what next steps are needed to investigate these processes that have led me to write this letter,” Mr Olsson said in his letter to the federal leaders.

Mr Olsson said he has not had a reply to his letter, but regardless of the response, he wants any approved signatures of shareholders to count towards his tally when he stands for the AWI board next year.

“I don’t want to have to start again, they are still in play as far as I am concerned.”

Mr Olsson believes there are no regulations preventing the signatures being used in a future nomination attempt.

“It is not going to go away, I am not going to give up on this.”

Why is Mr Olsson persisting?

Referencing the polarising impact of American president Donald Trump on US voters, the mulesing supporter and co-creator of the pain relief product Tri-Solfen said the wool industry must be united on issues of animal welfare and mulesing.

“It’s the same with wool, we’ve got to unite our nation and stop this clear divide and say we are all ethical producers.

“This idea that wool is sustainable because it is non-mulesed is just nonsense, absolute nonsense,” he said.

Mr Olsson said sheep breeders who have told animal rights bodies that the entire Australian sheep flock can be changed to end mulesing genetically in a few years are not helping the industry.

“Every wool producer in Australia is ethical, because wool is ethical.”

Click here to read Mr Olsson’s letter.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.


  1. Chick Olsson, November 19, 2020

    I appreciate all the comments. We have more that unites us than divides us.
    Let’s not allow animal rights groups to dictate to us, rather allow everyone to make the best decision for their businesses.

  2. Paul Favaloro, November 17, 2020

    Mr. Olsson, those who can, do. Those who can not, like to tell us we can not. I have a vested interest in keeping the wool industry going because I love what I do. There is great pleasure in having sheep with lambs frolicking around without distress, natural and no need for Tri-Solfen.
    You were on the board when AWI started this delusion that it takes more than a decade to achieve a plain-bodied, bare-breeched sheep. I suggest your vested interest is maintaining the need to mules and ignore the overall benefits of a genetic solution.
    If you think a few years’ time frame is not possible, can you please explain how so many growers have achieved this, in all wool growing areas of Australia?

  3. Jim Gordon, November 17, 2020

    Chick, I have publicly commented that in my opinion, AWI should be wound up in it’s present form. Too much wasted money on research that we don’t need and head office. All the problems with the anomalies in the election process. It is an ongoing nightmare for the levy payer.
    However, on this decision I agree with AWI. AWI is backing the mulesers. We don’t need another person joining them, because mulesing is a dead rubber. We need our leaders to back the future. How many sheep will be mulesed in ten years’ time?
    The other thing that greatly disturbs me is your self interest in maintaining mulesing and sales of Tri-Solfen. It smells of self interest big time. I question why you are so keen to get on the AWI board.
    You talk about the need to unite. How can you unite two groups? One group is trying to encourage growers to produce what the market wants and the other group is looking after their own interests.
    Sorry, we can genetically change the sheep quickly, it’s the grower’s mindset that is the difficult one to change.

    • Lindsay Young, November 17, 2020

      Well said Jim Gordon, I totally agree. The customers will have the final say on mulesing not Australian Wool Innovation nor Chick Olsson.
      The pro-mulesing lobby is affecting my livelihood and I’ll support an end to mulesing whenever I can.

Get Sheep Central's news headlines emailed to you -