Post-AGM reflections on the new APS Board

Dear RAPS supporters,

We know many of your are hurting and want to strike out at the APS and leave, but we urge you to stay for the time being.

Although the spill, which was conceived with the best intentions – to give members an opportunity to choose a more representative board – has not had the outcome we intended, it does show that the high level of frustration of members should not be ignored. Although Felicity Allen and Mary Magalotti were both retiring this year, it was a great loss for the Society that Dr Michael Carr-Gregg and Jill Wright are no longer on the board.

Despite the odds, the non-clinical group contributed significantly to the start of some major changes this year, including:

  • the first board workshop in recent history on the two-tier system
  • the stand alone bridging pathways to endorsement including recognition
    of prior learning (not much detail yet!)
  • the willingness to provide endorsement pathways to DGPP members
    increased funding for the DGPP division
  • greater attention to the non-clinical Colleges
  • the willingness to mediate with Reform APS and accept them as a legitimate movement

ReformAPS has certainly increased members’ political awareness. Members are starting to use their voting power.  A record twenty four percent of members who were eligible to vote did vote at the AGM or 19% of the total membership.

Now is the time for reflection and regrouping and not making impulsive decisions. Although we appreciate that this might be difficult for you, we urge members to stay at least until July 31st next year to give the new board time to show some real progress. (You can always pay your fees quarterly.) We need to see what action they will take! 

We will be keeping the website going as a place for members to express their concerns. We need to watch and listen very closely to the progress on the one year stand alone bridging programs with recognition of prior learning. RAPS tentatively supports the concept of bridging programs, with the qualification that we haven’t seen any details yet, provided that the two tier system is removed. 

(Perhaps if all DGPP members bridge into the Counselling College, it could become the dominant faction!)

We need to continue to engage more members as still so many members have not heard of RAPS. We need your help with that!

We need refresh out leadership team and this year has taken a high toll on Jenny and Sophie. Among other initiatives, we will be holding meetings in all states to reconnect with you all.

If the situation is no better next year and the board has not fulfilled its promises, then members may decide to leave en masse – but it would have to be to an organisation that has the potential to unite all the splinter groups and form a new ‘peak’ body.

There are over 20,000 non-clinical registered psychologists in Australia today (compared to 7,931 clinical psychologists) who could form such a body and speak directly to government.

Remember the APS has many services that you will not find elsewhere, such as the helpline, the CPD log and the scientific resources – not to mention potential for collegiality.

Newly elected Joe Gagliano also needs our strong support as the only non-clinical director on the board and the only DGPP member after the other four non-clinical directors are gone.

Alongside the views stated in this Post which focuses on the APS Board, we are also developing ideas about building further a community of APS and non-APS psychologists. A community of RAPS supporters already exists, and we believe it is crucial now to increase the number of those involved and the quality of exchanges among them. We will write to you about that shortly.

27 thoughts on “Post-AGM reflections on the new APS Board

  1. Any forward planning by RAPS may benefit from identifying which individuals and organisations have the best interests of RAPS and their members at heart. Many of the more militant and controversial positions expressed on this site that alienated psychologists who would have otherwise been sympathetic to RAPS’s goals, and caused the Spill Motion to have the eventual result it did. appear to come from contributors with close ties to AAPi. The AAPi have been attempting to solicit funds from psychologists from many years to fund a nebulous “legal action” against the APS which they are now claiming will cost $100,000 to initiate. However, there is no explanation as to why AAPi require such an astronomic amount to commence a legal fee when the law firm they claim represents them is well known for initiating class actions on a no-win no-fee basis has been provided, despite requests being made to at least one AAPi “Fellow” to do so. I also note that had RAPS been successful in the Spill, that would have had impacted AAPi’s fundraising model by greatly reducing the need to commence a “legal action” against an APS that had a more equitable representation in their leadership. Accordingly, it may benefit RAPS to more carefully screen statements to identify those which superficially appear to be supportive of RAP’s goals, but in reality, are intended to alienate potential supporters of RAPS.

    1. Hi bemused. This is an open forum allowing diverse opinions. Your opinion is an example.are you suggesting RAPS blog moderator should censor opinion to align with your view of how things should be done? That would not be democratic. I was told it would cost $20000 to launch a Federal Court action on the false new Governance model changes to the constitution and possibly 100000 to fight it to just conclusion given the probable resistence of the instigators of the model.
      If the new board wants any good faith they will hold a DGPP election to democratically fill another board position with a DGPP member as the new Model purports to promote greater representation.
      Suggesting that offended parties just forgive and forget and get on with falling in.line with the status Quo is a little uninspiring to say the least. Its pretty 18th century in it’s lack of insight and vision.

      1. Gregory, I would appreciate it if you do not place words in my mouth. I said nothing about censorship; I simply suggested not allowing intentionally provocative comments that were obviously posted solely to portray RAPS and their membership in a negative light.In light of the benefits of adopting a more collaborative and less confrontational position with the APS, I am intrigued by your inflammatory comments about any suggestion that offended parties just forgiving and forgetting being uninspiring – exactly how much would the AAPi stand to lose financially if RAPS and the APS were able to work together to find a solution that satisfied both non-clinically endorsed and clinical endorsed psychologists?

          1. Gregory, I don’t have a clinical endorsement so I wouldn’t presume to speak on their behalf – Why not allow all interested parties, including psychologists from all endorsements, to discuss their perspectives? I would say with some confidence however that most clinical psychologists are unlikely to be satisfied with such proposals as you suggested that a requirement that proof of competence and experience be demonstrated before a Medicare provider number is granted be applied exclusively to those practicing in the field of clinical psychology.

    2. BM. AAPi sought advice on a Trade Practices Act action where the defendant would have been the Federal Government and not the APS even though the APS initiated restrictive trade negotiations which RAPS exposed on this site. So there was never going to be a financial claim made therefore your clinical suggestion of no win – no fee does not apply. A forensic would have known that. The APS Board and many of the directors, although not all, have operated in breach of the Corporations Act and indeed the APS constitution. To break that down, the directors must act in the best interests of all members and not just the clinical cabal. Members who have been damaged by one or more directors can sue those directors personally for their actions i.e.a class action and because there is a damages claim, a no win – no fee action could, and would, most likely apply. Such an action would potentially bankrupt the guilty directors making them ineligible to remain on the Board. Claimants would receive some compensation from such an action but depending on how many claimants came forward, this may not be much, especially after the law firm has taken it’s cut. More importantly, this would set a case law precedent making it easier to take action against other offending directors in the future. That means it would apply specific and general deterence to current and future directors. At another level, it would give the many members who want to lash out at the APS a safe and very specific venue to do so. While I do not have a claim against any of the directors, I would commend this action to the many members who do.

      1. Mr Ball, I am intrigued by your claim that a forensic psychologists “would have known” about the intricacies of civil legislation. I however am greatly appreciative of your explanation that the AAPI states they wish to sue “the Federal Government” and that is why they need to collect over $100,000 from psychologists to start their case. I am somewhat confused as to why the AAPI insists on such a costly court action requiring extensive fundraising from psychologists when you were able to lay out an existing legal course of action that the AAPI could use on a no-win no-fee basis to achieve the same goals without having to solicit money from psychologists already struggling under the two tier system. As someone who has used the RAPS website on several occasions to encourage psychologists to join the AAPI, would you be able to explain?

        1. Hi BF. Very, very good question! While I can’t speak on behalf of the past and current AAPi directors, my take on the proposed Trade Practices Act action is as yours. It struck me as expensive and risky and I never really thought that it would fly. Accordingly, I never contributed nor gave it much more thought. I suspect that the proposed action by AAPi did not attract enough donors probably for the same reason. My understanding is that most AAPi members are no longer APS members and therefore probably don’t have a claim as I previously described although some, like myself, are dual members…. for now anyway. Therefore and in terms of suing past and current APS directors, the AAPi don’t really have a dog in that fight. My reading of the current Corporations and Federal Court Acts and salient practice notes suggest that current APS members, and possibly some past members, who practice under a Medicare business model and have been disadvantaged by APS directors discriminating against other APS members have a claim. The amount of the claim would vary from member to member but would probably run into the millions depending on the number and size of claims. My reading of past class action and associated case law precedent is that it doesn’t take many claimants to get a class action up i.e. restaurant patrons have have contracted salmonella from poor food hygiene practices. The pinnacle question here, is there a group of potential claimants who have got the “stones” to get together and at least make contact with a no win – no fee law firm. I dunno.

  2. Thank you whoever wrote this post. I think this is the most constructive post I have seen on this blog to date.

    I hope the more considered approach can be accepted by your commenting audience who have often disparaged any suggestion that a more cooperative tone may achieve better progress.

    The past is the past and there are many things I think all psychologists would like to see rectified. Hopefully the shared goal will emerge from what has been a hurtful discussion for many

    1. How can there be any cooperation when the Clinicals Used the Spill to remove all but One non-Clinical Board Member? Targeting Board Members not because of their Performance but just because they are not in the right clique shows a contempt for all psychologists who don’t belong to that clique and is Anti-Democratic. The only hurt and offence is caused by the clinicals constant attacks on “generalists” – trying to say that we need to co-operate with them is just Victim-blaming.

      1. There should be ar least 2 Board members designated DGPP members under the shonky new unconstiturional governance model. Why is there only one?
        Spilled positions should be refilled, should they not?

      2. I wasn’t at the meeting but I suspect the reason those positions were spilled was because they supported the spill. The board would have wanted unity and I could see it being difficult to continue with those wishing to overthrow the board

        Gregory – I saw a statement somewhere saying that the two spilled positions will be filled with non-clinical candidates via a “nomination committee”

          1. Sorry Greg, that’s all I have seen – no idea about the further details of the process but this was a comment by Deborah Wilmouth on a facebook page shortly after the AGM (would be buried and hard to find now)

  3. In regard to APS member feelings after the recent APS vote. The APS board have been behaving in this same manner for more than ten years and all that is occurring now is that more people are awake and becoming rightfully alarmed at what is blatantly occurring in what should be a representative society. I am personally delighted that an increasing number of people are waking up to what has alarmed me personally for a long time. However, how should you proceed when you become aware of a gross injustice. I also thought of reacting and ceasing my membership and apart from my wife’s tempering wisdom, I also realized that this is my society and that it does not belong to the interests of any minority left wing group. So please stay in the APS and use your new awareness for good…

    Greg Gardiner

    1. Is RAPS & their members aware that Occupational Therapists are now able to provide Psychological Counselling sessions under Medicare & get the same rebate as (non- clinical ) Generalist Psychologists of $84.80?

      How did that happen? OT’s must have been lobbying the Government to achieve this remarkable outcome. I was informed that this was possibly achieved on the basis that there wasn’t enough Psychologists able to do the work. How does that compute with the feedback of many Psychologists on this site & in private practice who are crying out for work opportunities?

      In my opinion it adds further insult to injury that Psychologists are now competing with OT’s for a piece of the Medicare pie on the 2nd Tier as well as no doubt every other Allied Health professional trying to get a piece of the action including GP’s.

      Just another nail in the coffin in downgrading our Psychological skills that are now considered on a par with OT’s. I wonder whether I can see now see clients & claim OT services? How outrageous!

      There appears no professional boundary issues unless you are a Clinical Psychologist on Tier 1?

      The fact that Generalist Psychologists have not had adequate & fair College representation within the APS no doubt has also contributed to this appalling situation.

      1. And meanwhile, there are people with a broad range of quals (or lack thereof) as well as psych graduates who never registered with AHPRA who are charging themselves out as coaches at between $300 and $450 per hour. Yes really. 🙄

      2. I love OTs! They were the most sensible and holistic mental health workers in my time working on government mental health services as a clinical cade manager and ACIS worker and Vourt diversion. Really cool people with no false airs and so very effective in assisting people. Medicare Social work and OT require proof of competence and experience before giving a provider number. Psychology should do the same for “clinical psychology” provision.

  4. I urge all generalist ( I personally hate this term ) members to remain with APS.
    We have an almost complete “clinical” Board.
    What a disasterous development for the 20.000 non-clinical Psychologist’s in Australia .
    I personally am now totally committed to reform.
    I will work towards ridding our Society of the treacherous CEO, Professor ( is she entitled to use that title?), Lyn Littlefield.
    Let’s stay united and Work separately and together to bring down the elite group running OUR Society.
    We are down but definitely not out.!!

  5. Hi Linda

    Thank you for your comments. We do realise that ‘reforming’ the APS is a step on a path. Nevertheless it’s an important step and one that is achievable. Reforming the PsyBA and APAC are likely to be steps that are more achievable following an initial reformation of the APS. There is indeed value in what you say and working more broadly, than just strategies from within and aimed at the APS, concomitantly is, I am sure, a wider strategy being considered by RAPS.

    When you say;

    “I can’t help but wonder whether it’s time to consider strategic and well considered engagement with the community we serve, as all professional arms ultimately depend on the public for their survival.”

    Do you have some specific suggestions in mind?

    Kind Regards


    1. Hi Peter,

      Regarding community engagement, I guess I was hoping to provide a stimulus for discussion, rather than having a clear concept of how it might look. 🙂

      I could envisage taking an opportunity-based approach to enhancing community awareness, in the first instance. For instance, I think there’s scope to market non-clinical services better – not in a way that competes with clin psychs, but in a way that educates the public (and also our referral sources) about how best to select the sort of service and service provider that best meets their needs. The APS colleges are able to do this to a point, but perhaps this could be augmented by capitalizing on the energy and enthusiasm of RAPS members. For instance, this might be by adding more support to selected APS and college initiatives that are in the broader interests, collaborating more strongly during mental health awareness events, or educating GPs or local MPs, garnering formal and social media publicity around our support to the community (or schools or organizational wellness etc)?

      This is all just top of head stuff. There are a lot of clever brains within RAPS that could be stormed and I’m open to hearing opposing perspectives. 🙂

      While I’m a keen proponent of taking a positive and proactive approach to the changes that are needed, I also believe in holding professional bodies, and practitioners who represent our profession, to account. We all have a duty to shine a light where there are examples of unethical practice, corrupt activities, or irregularities in governance or fiduciary responsibility. There are mechanisms and processes for addressing these and I think we can be vigilant and courageous without being vexatious, outspoken without being antagonistic, and respectful without being naive.



  6. Firstly, thanks to all involved in the RAPS campaign for their efforts in trying to move a mountain in the interests of equity and enhanced service delivery for our community of diverse clientele.
    There have been many enlightening and informative posts during this difficult and emotive process. My apologies if I’m repeating what might have already been mentioned, but it seems to me that there has been a not insignificant contribution to the power imbalance issues within the APS, from stakeholders beyond the APS itself. The triad of power brokers in the profession are the APS, the PsyBA, and APAC (as the accreditor of psychology education). Of the 8 practitioner members of the PsyBA, 7 are clin psychs and the 8th is a long term academic. The board of APAC has 9 psychologists. 8 are clin psychs (including Lynn Littlefield) and the 9th is registered as a non-practicing academic. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions, for instance about whether there are sufficient checks and balances built into the relationships amongst these institutions.
    From my perspective, standing back and looking at what now appears to be quite a Herculean mountain, I believe that the fight for change is a marathon and not a sprint. Reflecting on broader social power imbalances these days, I can’t help but wonder whether it’s time to consider strategic and well considered engagement with the community we serve, as all professional arms ultimately depend on the public for their survival.

    1. Great ideas. You may have factored this in, however, I’d like to note that some clinical psychology academics (all? most?) also do some practice. From some I’ve known this is a very minor caseload no-one could live off. They may claim to be “practitioners” – and are – but certainly they are not practising to survive. There is a huge distinction in terms of their income security as compared to we practitioners who have no baseline academic salary to ensure our financial security should we not be able to service a sufficient number of clients – or even none for a given period. And, of course, as we well know, there is the two tier nonsense that biases adequate remuneration via market forces and the other fiefdoms that have been set up (Centrelink, Comcare etc requiring reports be by a clinical psychologist) towards the clinical psychologist.

      1. I am personally aware of some of these clinical academics who use university clinics for their own private practice, leaving clinic space unavailable for use by students non-clinical programs. Fiefdoms is a great term, Gregg!

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