Letter of Complaint!

Dear Sir or Madam:
I wish to register a formal complaint under Rule 3.3.1 Campaigning and Communication about the conduct of persons (also members of the APS) acting on behalf of nominees in the 2017 Australian Psychological Society elections.
The people I wish to report are:
  1. Dixie Statham, Chair APS College of Clinical Psychologists, QLD Section.
  2. Tamara Cavenett, Chair APS College Of Clinical Psychologists (National)
  3. Melissa Harte, Chair Counselling Psychology College, and
  4. Dr Allison Clarke, Chair National College of Health Psychology
The Queensland (Dixie Statham) and National Branches of the Clinical College (Tamara Cavenett), the Counselling College (Melissa Harte) and the National College of Health Psychology (Allison Clarke) have all used their electronic mailing lists to communicate with the members of these Colleges or branches.
The use of College mailing lists to support particular candidates is clearly against 3.3.1 (i) – the generalist candidates have no access to such large scale publicity and so cannot be considered to have been treated fairly.
All four Emails are attached to this letter of complaint.
One of the Chairs involved – Melissa Harte – acknowledges that she should not use the platform of her College mailing list to influence anyone, then having contacted all members, urges them to email her – presumably so she can influence them in private.
The actions of these four members also conflict with Rule 3.3.3 (ii) in that they are defined as prohibited activities. The College email lists clearly qualify as “..Society email distribution lists and postal address lists held outside the National Office..” and, as such, may not be used.
Their use has provided an unfair campaign advantage to some nominees while it has seriously disadvantaged others.
In addition to wrongful use of Society resources in all five cases, two of the emails breach Rule 3.3.3 (b) (i) re derogatory comments or supply completely misleading information to the recipients in breach of 3.3.3 (a) (iv) re members having sufficient information.
Allison Clarke has written:
“If this spill motion was to succeed it would have serious consequences for the society and the whole profession. It is important to remember that all directors are bound by law to manage the affairs of the organisation in the best interests of all members.”
This sentence is a clear hint that some directors are not managing the affairs of the organisation in the best interests of the members.
Tamara Cavenett has written:
“A group of psychologists are intending to remove only those who are clinical psychologists from the APS Board of Directors. This is an attempt to form a new board for their own political agenda; their stated goal is to move the APS position to a “one tier Medicare”recommendation to government.”
This statement is inaccurate and suggests that the group in question is acting purely in support of their own interests.
I believe that these breaches of the rules re Campaigning and Communication are serious and endanger the integrity of the APS election process.
Yours sincerely,
Attachment 1
Email from Queensland Section of Clinical Psychologists
From: APS – CCLP – QLD [mailto:apsgroups@psychology.org.au]
Sent: Sunday, 24 September 2017 9:55 PM
Subject: Voting & Proxy time again!
Dear <name withheld>
I’m contacting you to follow up on the emails from the APS National Office about the upcoming APS Annual General Meeting (AGM). Many members are unsure of the voting and proxy process, so I’ve written a simple version of the two steps you need to take:
Step 1. Vote for 3 Directors on the APS Board (by completing the online voting form)
Step 2. Vote against the spill motions (by nominating me as your proxy if you can’t attend the AGM in person)
Here are the details and links:
1. Vote for 3 positions on the Board of Directors – (this is routine for all AGMs). You need to choose at least 4 people in each category (and number them from 1 to 4), so that if your number one vote doesn’t receive a majority, then your other nominees will receive your vote. You are voting for 1. President-Elect, and, 2 Clinical College General Director, (and some members will be eligible to vote for the Director of Research, Educ & Training).
Historically, only about 10% of members vote in APS elections. Let’s see if QLD and the Clinical College can increase that statistic! You need to vote before 10am on Friday 6 October, when the election will close.
But now is good!  Voting is very quick – it only took me a couple of minutes. Vote here.
2. Vote against the spill motions.
A group within the APS have put forward formal motions (which must be brought to the AGM), to spill every member of the board – essentially a leadership challenge. They are quite entitled to do this, however, the motions will only be carried if the majority of the members present at the AGM vote in support of them.  So, if you can’t attend the AGM please nominate me as your proxy because I will be attending, and will vote for you.
I will be voting against the spill motions.  I am also a strong supporter of the two-tier Medicare system, with the higher level of rebate for Clinical Psychologists.
By nominating me as your proxy, you will also be voting against the spill motions. You can nominate me as your proxy – here.
Your proxy only applies to the spill motions, NOT to the election of the Board [so please do both (1) and (2)].
Thank you for taking the time to read this message. You are very welcome to send this email to any of your colleagues who are APS Clinical College members.  Please encourage them to vote and proxy!
If I can help with answering any questions you have about the voting or the proxy, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Kind regards
Dixie Statham, Chair APS College of Clinical Psychologists, QLD Section.
Attachment 2
Email from National College of Clinical Psychologists
From: APS – CCLP – National <apsgroups@psychology.org.au>
Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 8:54:08 AM
To: <name withheld>
Subject: Calling all students to use your networks
A group of psychologists are intending to remove only those who are clinical psychologists from the APS Board of Directors. This is an attempt to form a new board for their own political agenda; their stated goal is to move the APS position to a “one tier Medicare”recommendation to government.
Several outcomes are possible, but one that needs to be considered is that the government may re-examine the role of psychologists in Better Access. Public statements devaluing post-graduate training undermine the public perception of psychologists, when psychologists have fought so hard for recognition of our skills.
There are now pathways between areas of practice endorsement as well as into areas of practice endorsement. This allows all psychologists access to the higher rebate regardless of their original training pathway.
So how can you help?
If you are receiving this email you are a student member and therefore unfortuntely not eligible to vote/provide a proxy (only associate members or full members are eligible).
So how can you help?
Call on your networks and get them to act.
You may know members who can vote.
What you are able to do with your network may be the difference.
More details for those able to vote are attached.
This is an important moment for the APS and the Clinical College
Thank you.
Tamara Cavenett
Chair APS College Of Clinical Psychologists (National)
Sent by APS – College of Clinical Psychologists – National
Attachment 3
Email from Counselling Psychology College
From: APS – CCOUNP – National [mailto:apsgroups@psychology.org.au]
Sent: Wednesday, 27 September 2017 12:15 PM
Subject: Important Considerations
Hello fellow Counselling Psychology College Members
There are two major things I wish to discuss with you
Firstly, the Competencies have been released and our lobbying has paid off. Thanks to Michael Di Mattia and others behind the scenes for all their hard work on rallying international as well as local people to put in submissions. All recommendations have been accepted. These will take effect as of 1st January, 2019.  This puts us in a strong position to lobby Government for recognition for Counselling Psychologists to be eligible for Tier one Medicare rebates. I have spoken to Lyn Littlefield who has reminded me that the APS position has always been for Clinical Psychologists or other psychologists with specialist competencies  in mental health to be eligible for Tier one. She explained the Government has not taken up the APS recommendation.  So what the APS has done up until now has not worked. So the question now is how do we get this recognition we deserve. I am talking with Lyn to see how this may be achieved. Any suggestions welcome.
 Secondly, and separately from the Medicare Debate, we have two important actions to take in the next week.
 One is to vote for a suitable candidate that might support the Counselling Psychology position.
It may appear that there is only one candidate that might fulfil that role. But I like to add there are actually a couple of others who are worth considering. I don’t want to use this platform to promote anyone but if you want some suggestions please email me. Be mindful that things don’t always appear to be exactly as they are presented.
 It is very important to vote so I urge you to consider carefully what you’re voting for and who will represent your vote authentically. The voting link is below
 Two is whether you agree with not spilling the current Board. If you can’t be at the AGM in Brisbane, please put in a proxy.
The appointment of proxies must be completed by 1.00pm (AEST) Thursday, 5 October 2017.
The motions to spill the Board will be voted by a poll vote on the day. The motion for each Director will be addressed separately.
I have chosen to be at  the AGM in Brisbane and so if you would like me to be your proxy please fill in the information in the link below
I know these are challenging times and many of the things we have to consider are complex and unclear.  I will do my best to inform you from my position but I urge you to become as informed as possible. It’s often the unseen repercussions that can be the most damaging.
Please take care and I hope to perhaps see some of you at the AGM.
Warm regards
Melissa Harte
Chair Counselling Psychology College
Attachment 4
Email sent to College of Health Psychology members
Hi <Name Withheld>,
By now you will have received information about the upcoming APS AGM to be held at the Podium Room, 2 Rydges South Bank, 9 Glenelg Street, South Bank, Brisbane, Queensland on Saturday 7 October 2017 commencing at 1.00pm (AEST).
There are two significant but separate activities of note that will occur at the AGM:
1.       Election of new Board members
I encourage everyone to vote in the Board elections. The elections for Board members are traditionally very tight and therefore your vote could be the difference. Please go here to vote. As the elections are preferential voting, you can just select those you want to support and aren’t required to select all nominees.
Note that this year, Health College members will only be voting for President-elect. This is due to the phasing in of the new Board structure that was approved at the EGM earlier this year. The Board is moving to have two positions for College members – this year the position for the Clinical College will be elected and only Clinical College members will be able to vote. Next year, the other College position will commence and Health College members can nominate for the position and vote. Clinical College members will not be eligible to vote.
Voting for the Board elections closes at 10am on Friday 6th October.
2.    Motions to spill the Board
A small group of APS members have put forward motions to remove every member of the APS Board of Directors.  There is a summary of the issues involved in the spill on pages 41-55 of the AGM agenda.  If this spill motion was to succeed it would have serious consequences for the society and the whole profession. It is important to remember that all directors are bound by law to manage the affairs of the organisation in the best interests of all members.
While you are able to nominate anyone to be your proxy including the chair of the meeting, Esben Strodl and Victoria Burrows have both kindly agreed to attend the AGM and to take proxies for College members against the spill. Please go here to nominate your proxies. The requested postcode is the one that is associated with the address that you provided to the APS as your preferred address for contact.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at alclarke@iinet.net.au.
Dr Allison Clarke
BSc(Hons), DPsych(Health), MAPS, CCLIN, CHP
Health Psychologist
National Chair
College of Health Psychologists
Australian Psychological Society