In September 2008 I recommended an independent 'Arbitration of Religious Practitioners' based on the highly acclaimed sport arbitration model and now big business has adopted the idea.
A news story posed online in December revealed that three organisations have launched a bid to become the business equivalent of cricket's third umpire, hoping to stimulate a new boom for Australia's economy.
The article revealed an increase in business disputes during the global financial crises and highlighted the reluctance of international firms to risk high costs and reputations by taking matters to court. Now it seems a popular alternative has been found. In the event of a business squabble, disagreements will be referred to a panel of independent arbitrators.
The Australian Centre for Commercial International Arbitration (ACICA), the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia (IAMA) and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Australia (CIArb), have supported the move by signing an agreement to promote Australia as the number one destination for business arbitration in the Asia-Pacific.
IAMA President and former High Court Judge, Michael Kirby is in full support of the changes: "It will be a service that Australia can give that is useful to our neighbours and countries further afield,'' he said.
Ironically, Mark Tronson had been toying with introducing a system of arbitration for some years to help regulate his sport and religion sanctions.
I have had a long standing involvement with the chaplaincy of the Australian Cricket team and is the founder of an athlete respite ministry. In 1982 along with Heads of Churches, I initiated the Sports and Leisure Ministry to place chaplains in professional sports across the nation for support and guidance. This ventures has become quite big over the years including securing a hands on role as spiritual advisor in Olympic Villages since 2000. As you can imagine, these types of projects need regulating and a system of mediation if disputes arise.
I have detected a broad community concern, both here and overseas, about methodologies of arbitration within religious institutional procedures, for those who have a dispute within religious organisations, there is no current avenue other than through expensive court systems to resolve disputes.
My idea is vying to mirror the Arbitration of Sport mediating model. Its protocol and record is fair and has a great reputation at home and on the international front. "In my view, a similar religious body might become established, with good will on all sides, said Tronson.
More importantly, it would need to be without any formal link to any existing religious institution. The process, however, would need to work alongside people with expertise in matters of evidence.
I was curious at a recent church administration conference in Sydney there was a seminar titled 'Reputation does matter.' Although 'accreditation' is often a formal administrative procedure, 'reputation' and 'respect' go way beyond this.
Australian society regards 'reputation' and 'respect' highly, and I base my ideas on this philosophy of using this good 'reputation' and 'respect' to establish an arbitration system.
We are now back in the ball-court of the various denominations, the next step should be an across-the-board consideration by a group of leading Churchmen of good reputation, perhaps recommended by the Heads of Churches group.
The pity is that I am aware of one situation where two Heads of Churches were pleased to see someone of another denomination hung out to dry until the facts were revealed and it was their own people, they were full bore to protect the guilty.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html
Dr Mark Tronson - a 4 min video
Chairman – Well-Being Australia
Baptist Minister 44 years
- 1984 - Australian cricket team chaplain 17 years (Ret)
- 2001 - Life After Cricket (18 years Ret)
- 2009 - Olympic Ministry Medal – presented by Carl Lewis
- 2019 - The Gutenberg - (ARPA Christian Media premier award)
Gutenberg video - 2min 14sec
Married to Delma for 44 years with 4 children and 5 grand children