Branch warfare

43403276 - female hand casting vote at election with ballot paper at box

NSW Guild election hots up as voting deadline approaches

Things are set to come to a head in the hotly contested elections for the branch committee of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s NSW branch.

The nation’s largest Guild branch has had a long history of contentious committee ballots, and the 2017 version has been no different, with rival tickets making a series of controversial claims about each other.

One team, called NSW Pharmacy 1st, is headed by incumbent state President Rick Samimi and Senior Vice-President Phil Dibben. It includes nine of the 20 candidates, including Catherine Bronger, daughter of former Guild national president John Bronger.

A rival Members Action Team is nominating Vice Presidents Feras Karem and John Black, among a list of other well-known candidates.   

Six candidates are being nominated by both teams.

The NSW Pharmacy 1st Team says it offers “real leaders & real policies”, and that it has “not swapped our names around from ticket to ticket to dilute votes.”

It offers an eight item agenda, including adequate 7CPA remuneration, full remuneration or services, scheduling of medicines (including codeine) must not take supply out of the control of pharmacies, and not allowing data mining of pharmacies without compensation.

The Members Action Team asks: “Are you happy with the last five years? Are you sick of being blindsided by band-aid solutions and malicious narratives?”  

It is putting a strong focus on “fixing the codeine issue for acute pain sufferers”.

“We will fight to do this and bring the public with us”, its leaflet says. “We need to change leadership to claw back a sustainable future”.

The NSW Guild has had a recent leadership shakeup with the retirements of former President Paul Sinclair and vice presidents Denis Leahy and Mark Douglass and long-time councillor Peter McBeath in late 2016. Mr Samimi was elected to the presidency at that time.

Ballot papers for the election, which will elect councillors for the 2017/20 period, have to be filed not later than 5pm AEST on Friday 23 June.

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