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IMG battle for college voting rights crushed
INTERNATIONAL medical graduates (IMGs) have been left disappointed by a failed bid to secure a voice in the future of the RACGP.
A motion to amend the college constitution to permit associate members – which include many IMGs – to vote was defeated at the annual general meeting last week, 183 votes to 40.
The outcome ends a two-year campaign begun by Queensland GP Dr Diamond Hira. As associate members, IMGs will continue to have to either attain RACGP fellowship or gain five years’ experience in Australian general practice before being eligible to vote.
Dr Susan Douglas, vice-president of the Australian Doctors Trained Overseas Association, said the decision was unfair.
“How is it [the RACGP] can afford registrars, who are new to general practice, full voting rights while not giving the same rights to IMGs who fall under the associate member category?” she said.
IMG and former college president Dr Vasantha Preetham, who presented the motion at last year’s RACGP conference, said it was clear the “simmering concerns” of IMGs needed addressing.
However, IMG and last year’s RACGP GP of the year Dr Ayman Shenouda spoke against the motion at the AGM, saying the requirement for a minimum level of experience was appropriate.
He also raised concerns about the potential for groups of doctors to vote en masse.
“They may be voting for something for their own benefit rather than for the benefit of the college – [a vote] could be very easily manipulated,” he said.
RACGP president Professor Claire Jackson pledged to work toward greater supports and advocacy for IMG members following their failed bid.