THE Bendigo Jockey Club committee has stood by embattled former Bendigo West Liberal Party candidate Jack Lyons.
Calls were made for Mr Lyons to be sacked from the BJC committee after offensive comments found on his Facebook page forced him to withdraw from this year’s state election.
At a meeting last month the BJC committee voted in favour of retaining Mr Lyons.
“There were calls from certain members to sack Jack,’’ BJC chief executive Ian Hart admitted.
“Under the rules, the Bendigo Jockey Club committee doesn’t have the power to sack a committee person.
“They can only suspend them and then call a special general meeting of the members.
“A meeting of the members would have been a circus in the media in the lead-up to the meeting.
“There was a real possibility that a special meeting of members might have had more people supporting Jack than not and therefore any suspension would have been overturned.
“That would have been completely embarrassing to the committee.
“At the end of the day everyone accepted that everyone has the capability to redeem themselves and learn from their mistakes.
“Jack put his case forward passionately that whatever has happened in politics, he is on the BJC committee as a volunteer, it’s a community-based non-profit organisation and the best way he can redeem himself is to stay on the committee and serve the community.
“That was accepted by the committee.”
Mr Hart said the reaction from club members to the committee’s decision to retain Mr Lyons had largely been “favourable”.
“The club has decided to give Jack that opportunity to redeem himself and do the best he can for the club,’’ Mr Hart said.
“Club members will get an opportunity, as per our statement to them three weeks ago, to assess his progress in due course and pass judgement at that time when his elected term expires.
“The club now is working very hard to once again present a quality spring racing carnival that Bendigo can be proud to have.”