News

RACGP floats delayed elections


Matt Woodley


13/05/2020 7:42:00 PM

The RACGP has sought feedback from members about a possible extension to the term of President Dr Harry Nespolon due to uncertainty created by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

RACGP sign
The Board has said is not seeking to change existing election processes, and any change to current arrangements will require at least 75% approval from all members.

According to a college discussion paper sent to Faculty Council members, the RACGP has proposed a temporary constitutional amendment that would allow current President Dr Harry Nespolon to remain in his role until 2021’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).
 
The paper stresses that the RACGP and its Board is not seeking to change existing election processes, and that any change to current arrangements will require at least 75% approval from all members.
 
RACGP Board Chair Christine Nixon said the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has meant Dr Nespolon’s skills, knowledge and relationships may prove invaluable as the college looks to influence government and make important decisions that affect general practice into the future.
 
‘The summer’s bushfires and devastating COVID-19 pandemic have changed the way we live our lives and run our workplaces. We are all being forced to adapt and it hasn’t been easy,’ Ms Nixon said.
 
‘Continuity of leadership is important in these unprecedented times. The RACGP is canvassing members via the Faculty Councils about a possible extension to the term of the President through a temporary constitutional amendment, especially as the RACGP will be appointing a new CEO in this time.
 
‘A decision has not yet been made but, regardless, the RACGP will continue to represent members and advocate for our nation’s hardworking GPs.’
 
newsGP understands consultations with Faculty Councils are due to conclude next week and feedback will be presented to the Board at their next meeting on Thursday 21 May, after which the college will formally advise members of the outcome.
 
Should an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) go ahead and 75% or more of the members decide to extend Dr Nespolon’s term, nominations for all elections will commence in late July ahead of a 30 November AGM.
 
Ms Nixon stressed the decision to consider temporarily delaying elections had not been taken lightly, but that the Board felt further exploration of the matter is in the best interests of members and the general practice profession as a whole.
 
‘There are a range of important matters that require strong and consistent advocacy, including telehealth expansion, the Government’s 10-year plan for GPs, patient enrolment, and a range of issues around GP training, just to name a few,’ Ms Nixon said.
 
‘If the RACGP goes ahead with the EGM, we would not be the only organisation extending the term of the Presidency in the current circumstances.’
 
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has already announced its President, GP Dr Tony Bartone, will temporarily remain in place even though his initial term is set to expire next month.
 
Should the EGM not proceed, the RACGP Board will confirm the dates for forthcoming elections, including that of the President, when it next meets on 21 May.
 
The Board has indicated this would not create an additional administrative burden on existing arrangements, as the AGM has already been delayed until 30 November 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
 
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Dr Richard Stewart Gardner   14/05/2020 8:37:43 AM

Generally I support the idea of an extension of one year.


Dr Andrew James Hodson   14/05/2020 9:07:07 AM

An interesting situation. Who / how is it decided that an organization is not robust enough to cope with procedural protocols when challenged by workload? A strong organization would manage both.


Dr Kia Alizadeh   14/05/2020 1:20:19 PM

Delaying elections is the new black. Watch out in November! I support the delay if it is necessary - as long as their is a clear road map to conducting the ballot when covid disruption rounds out.


Dr Douglas Wallace McKenzie   14/05/2020 2:15:59 PM

Harry's doing a great job....extend him until he retires


Dr Anh Nguyen   14/05/2020 3:27:53 PM

Harry's doing an excellent job - would have no problem with this.


Dr Kia Alizadeh   14/05/2020 3:37:08 PM

Delaying elections is the new black. Watch out in November! I support the delay if it is necessary - as long as their is a clear road map to conducting the ballot when covid disruption rounds out.


Dr Eric John Drinkwater   14/05/2020 5:05:18 PM

As a fully paid up member I disagree with altering the basic democratic principle of fixed terms and member elected College President.

Harry can continue to contribute without a label of President. Previous College presidents have contributed.


Dr Hany George Mikhail   14/05/2020 7:27:21 PM

Dr Nespolon is doing excellent Job > I endorse him continuing and extending his presidency


Dr Madiha Mikhail   14/05/2020 7:32:51 PM

I agree on the extension ,Harry's doing a good job


Dr Louis George Gallo   15/05/2020 8:14:30 AM

Harry has been a great representative and has done an extremely great job. If he wants it I would give him another term


Dr Joyce Hsueh Ying Liang   18/05/2020 10:33:26 AM

I am all for Harry to carry on. There is so much going on with Covid. Thanks for being our advocate. It's unprecedented!


Dr Janice Margaret Bell   18/05/2020 10:39:48 AM

Yep - extend another year and let’s have a proper election in 2021. Enough change for now.


Dr John Lamb   18/05/2020 10:44:13 AM

I wouldn’t have any problem with delaying the elections. Harry is doing his job well.


Dr Peter JD Spafford   18/05/2020 11:22:05 AM

Harry has not fulfilled any of his election promises and has advocated that Medicare is the funding for General Practice. He is a Government puppet. The RACGP 10 year vision is a disaster. Hold elections when they are due. Harry had his chance and can continue to advise if someone else is elected.


Dr Christopher Edward Clohesy   18/05/2020 1:35:42 PM

I agree with extending Harry’s term. We should also be considering extending the Triennium by a year as well. Border closures and travel restrictions, as well as the additional load related to COVID 19, has severely hampered GPs abilities to undertake CPD this year.