I would like to bring to your attention two important matters.
1. INCREASE IN FEES for 2014/15
In the last edition of the Grand Secretary’s Bulletin, the following list of the new fees and charges, approved by the Board of General Purposes, for the 2014/15 year were announced:
- The Capitation Fees will increase to $99.00 (inclusive of GST);
- Grand Rank Fees will increase to $120.00 (inclusive of GST);
- The price of the Masonic Guide will increase to $11.00 (inclusive of GST);
- The price of advertising in the Masonic Guide will remain at $45 (inclusive of GST); and
- Initiates Fees will increase to $400.00 (inclusive of GST).
The Board of General Purposes has received a number of enquiries expressing concern about the size and rate of increase of the New Initiates Fee and its possible impact on prospective candidates.
This fee is paid to Freemasons Victoria on all new members as contribution to defray some of the costs associated with an appropriate and efficient management of their enquiry, entrance into, and progress through Freemasonry to the third degree.
In addition, the New Initiates Fee provides each new initiate with a comprehensive compendium of information contained in a leather satchel, which includes information for all the degrees through which he is passing and his membership certificate (including frame). From this year, the compendium will also include a copy of the VSL and a copy of the Book of Constitutions so that the Lodge does not have to purchase these items separately. Should the VSL not be the book to be used for a particular candidate, the cost of the relevant volume will be reimbursed.
As a result, the Board has decided to defer introduction of the new fee until 1st January 2015.
In the meantime, it has formed a work group, which will review all fees and charges, including the New Initiates Fee, Capitation Fee and Grand Rank Fee. The objective of this review is to ensure a suitable fee structure is established, complimentary to the services provided, which is realistic and affordable.
For now, the pre-June New Initiates Fee ($192.50 incl. GST) and arrangements will continue to apply.
2. GRANDE LOGE NATIONALE FRANCAISE
In 2012 the United Grand Lodge of England, the Grand Lodge of Ireland and the Grand Lodge of Scotland (the Home Grand Lodges), because of internal problems within the Grande Loge Nationale Francaise (GLNF), each withdrew fraternal recognition of GLNF. This action was undertaken in the belief that it was in the best interests of the Home Grand Lodges to distance themselves from the problems within the GLNF and to give the GLNF time and space to resolve their problems without external interference. This stance was also taken by a significant number of other Grand Lodges in Europe and the United States of America.
As a result, the United Grand Lodge of Victoria, on the resolution of the Board of General Purposes, suspended its recognition of GLNF in December 2012 following general agreement with its sister Grand Lodges in Australia and New Zealand. In the Grand Secretary’s Bulletin of 31st January 2013 (edition No.115) this matter was communicated to all members.
GLNF has now installed a new Grand Master MWBro Jean-Pierre Servel. As a result of which the mandate of the Court appointed administration ceased so that the GLNF is once again in full control of its affairs. His predecessor as Grand Master, whose conduct was the principal reason for recognition being suspended, has been expelled from the GLNF. The new Grand Master has already made changes welcomed by his brethren and is setting the train constitutional process to return to the Grand Lodge and its constituent Lodges, the powers and authority removed by his predecessor. His actions appear to be restoring harmony within the GLNF.
Accordingly the Board of General Purposes, at its July meeting, approved lifting the suspension of recognition. The practical effect of which is that the members of the United Grand Lodge of Victoria are once again able to visit Lodges operating under the control of the GLNF and Lodges operating under the auspice of the United Grand Lodge of Victoria are once again able to receive visitors who are members of the GLNF. The lifting of suspension also applies to provincial Grand Lodges under the control of GLNF.
Please note that the United Grand Lodge of Victoria does not recognise the other four Grand Lodges currently operating in France which are; - the Grande Loge France - the Grand Lodge de L ’Alliance Masonnique Francaise - the Grande Loge Traditionnelle et Symbolique Opera – the Grande Loge Independante de France.
Should you have any questions in respect of these two matters, please do not hesitate to contact the Grand Secretary.
P: (03) 9411-0103