RACGP Elections: ‘People should put their hand up and get involved’

Anastasia Tsirtsakis

11/08/2020 3:59:33 PM

Speaking ahead of the RACGP Presidential Q&A, Professor Michael Kidd talks to newsGP about why it’s important members cast their vote.

Professor Michael Kidd
Professor Kidd says a strong college presence is particularly important at a time when primary care is undergoing significant change. (Image: AAP)

This article has been updated to reflect the new voting period.

The RACGP’s presidential campaign is currently underway, with six candidates:

Members will have the opportunity to learn more about each presidential candidate and their thoughts on issues that matter to GPs through the upcoming online Presidential Q&A, to be held on Monday 17 August. Members are encouraged to take part in the process by submitting questions they would like answered via the Presidential Q&A website.
This year’s RACGP election is considered particularly significant, as GPs find themselves at the frontline of a global pandemic while also mourning the death of President Dr Harry Nespolon.
As a past RACGP President himself, having served two terms from 2002–06, Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd understands how important this year’s elections are for GPs.
When he was first elected in 2002, the college was at a critical stage of rebuilding and needed strong leadership.
‘It was extraordinary times,’ Professor Kidd told newsGP. ‘But of course we’re in extraordinary times at the moment, as well.
‘We were blessed to have Harry as our President over the last two years. A very strong and powerful advocate for general practice, for general practitioners, and most importantly for people of Australia, [ensuring] that people had access, wherever they were, to high-quality general practice services. Then to have Harry’s leadership as the pandemic hit, and as all our lives are impacted so much, was incredibly important as well.
‘So it’s really critical that we have a strong President of the RACGP to continue Harry’s legacy, to continue to provide that really strong voice.’
Professor Kidd says a strong college presence is particularly important at a time when primary care is undergoing significant change, ensuring GPs can continue to protect the community.
‘It is really important in Australian healthcare, and especially in the development of Australian healthcare policy and new programs, that the voice of general practice is strong,’ he said.
‘That we hear from the people who are working every day in general practices, serving their patients and their local communities. And that we have a President and the other elected representatives of our profession … contributing to those policy discussions, contributing to the ongoing development of healthcare delivery.’
While the next college President will play a central role in advocating for GPs, Professor Kidd emphasised the need for all members to engage.
‘The college is not the president, it’s not the CEO, it’s not the board – it’s the members,’ he said.
‘A college by its definition is a group of like-minded people who come together to work together to affect positive change.
‘So I think everyone who is a member of the college should see themselves as being a fundamental part … and if you want to see change in our college, then people should put their hand up and get involved, as so many of our college members are at so many levels.’
The upcoming Presidential Q&A, set to take place on Monday 17 August at 7.00 pm (AEST), will be a virtual event moderated by ABC 774 journalist Virginia Trioli. Members can submit their questions for candidates through the Presidential Q&A website, either as text or video, by 7.00 pm Wednesday 12 August.
Questions that are not covered during the course of the Q&A will be passed on to candidates for a response after the event.
‘Having that number of members of the college who are willing to put themselves forward for this role, I think, speaks about the health of our college and the interest members are taking in the work that we’re doing,’ Professor Kidd said. ‘It’s always important, but at a time of national emergency, even more important.
‘My urge to all the members is to vote. Don’t leave it up to other people to make the decision about who our next president is going to be.
‘Be in the democratic process … look at the candidates and determine who you feel will be the best person to lead our college during these very troubling times.’
Voting for the next RACGP President opens from midday on Saturday 22 August and remains open until midday Friday 4 September. The successful candidate will be announced on Wednesday 2 September.
Register for the virtual Presidential Q&A on the RACGP website. Visit the 2020 RACGP Elections page for more information.
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The RACGP Awards recognise outstanding achievements and exceptional individuals for their contribution to general practice. Visit the RACGP website for more information, or to nominate a GP or GP in training. ​

President RACGP Elections


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