Reform APS has established itself as political movement representing a very large group of dissatisfied members. Last year that anger and resentment boiled over in an attempt to spill the entire board of the Society.
That resentment made the board wake up and take notice of these members after ten years of believing they would continue to toe the line quietly. The board was in turmoil throughout the year as they struggled to find ways to quell the unrest and silence the voices. But it had gone too far for that.
Initially RAPS represented a coalition of all the non-clinical Colleges and the DGPP, but the clever clinicals quickly wooed the other colleges with promises of being on the top tier. They divided the non-clinical colleges from RAPS and undermined our support. Only a few loyal non-college members continued to support RAPS.
Divide and conquer has been the dominant clinical strategy and it’s worked. Once the colleges wavered and their Chairs supported the new governance changes and spoke against the spill, the game was over. The coalition was broken, but at least the colleges got a lot more promises than ever before. They have RAPS to thank for that.
In the election, the clever clinicals flexed their muscles again. They worked the numbers by putting up several candidates and instructing their members how to vote on preferences. Like the independent senators in the last federal election, they used an algorithm to swing the votes to favour their clever minority. They have more money, more resources and more power bases than just anyone else from being in power for 17 years. (Many ex-presidents were at the AGM!) So it wasn’t surprising.
If the DGPP had come out strongly, it could have changed the day but they didn’t. They have been too ground down for too long. However, it must have been a bitter blow to the clinicals that the Victorian candidate, Andrew Chua, was rejected by the DGPP members – and Joe Gagliano, the independent candidate supported by RAPS, won the day!
At least, Round One we was not entirely unsuccessful.
Some good may yet come out of this year. The board’s promise to introduce the one-year stand alone bridging programs to endorsement with recognition of prior learning for all non-clinicals has the power to raise everyone to a single higher tier. And let’s face it, it’s better to go up than down.
RAPS will be watching closely to see if the board will fulfil its promise next year – not ten years down the track. We need to see some real action after ten dry years. If not, there’s always Round Two!
By the next AGM Nick Xenophon’s bill may have gone through parliament and if members bring on another spill, they will have to give us the email addresses too.