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Leadership – now and in the future

Leadership – now and in the future - Featured Image

With the country facing an election in the near future, the Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, and Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, joined the March meeting of AMA Federal Council to hear from Council members first-hand about current challenges doctors have identified in the health system. A more detailed report can be read elsewhere in this edition of Australian Medicine.

While health is unlikely to be the number one issue in the election, it is one that touches every Australian and can have a significant impact in marginal seats.

I outlined in the last edition of Australian Medicine the key areas for AMA advocacy in the lead up to the Federal election, with more to be published in coming editions once an election date is announced.

The AMA’s own election season is underway.

I have advised members of the outcome of the uncontested positions on Federal Council. There is a handful of contested positions, electronic balloting for which will be undertaken in April. Two positions received no nominations – the position on Federal Council representing rural doctors and the new position representing private specialist practice.

Following my recent call for expressions of interest, I have received a very encouraging response, with many members expressing interest. A further process will determine the appointment of representatives to fill these casual vacancies.

Last year, a working group of Federal Council reviewed the representation of members at the AMA National Conference. The revised structure will be put to members at this year’s Annual General Meeting in May.

Delegates to National Conference in future years will be drawn from practice groups, rather than specialties and special interest groups as they are now (aside from the State-nominated delegates). This better aligns with AMA advocacy and representation.

At its March meeting, the Federal Council agreed to undertake further work to review the structure and composition of Federal Council itself. This is part of the ongoing governance reform of the AMA which commenced two years ago with the establishment of a Board and the separation of governance from medico-political policy, which is reserved for Federal Council.

The separation of power has been highly effective in freeing the Federal Council to concentrate on policy and establishing robust processes for the Board to oversee the company.

One of the areas of focus for the AMA in meeting its mission statement of leading Australia’s doctors is the role that the AMA plays in developing the next generation of medico-political leaders. Future reforms to the structure and composition of Federal Council, and its committees, councils and working groups, will take into account the contribution to be made by the next generation of doctors.

In a similar vein, the Board has approved the establishment this year of a future leaders program, directed to those who have taken on leadership positions within the AMA within the past five years.

More information about the program, together with calls for applications, will be released in the near future.