The Australian College of Pharmacy’s Board will now hold a general meeting allowing members to debate in person on the controversial proposal for the College to be restructured
The meeting will be held in Brisbane on Monday, 20 January, according to a notification sent to College members recently. The meeting will supersede the previously announced postal vote.
The College’s Board announced the postal vote late last year, prompting a mixed response from some former College office bearers, who claimed the proposal would see the College taken over by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s Queensland branch.
A letter and ballot paper were sent to all College members on 3 December asking them to vote on the special resolution, which would see the College restructured as a proprietary company, with shares owned by the Queensland Guild branch.
The letter, signed by College president Chris Owen, said, “the College Board has resolved to undertake a postal ballot of its members to pass resolutions that the Board believes are required to ensure the future viability and success of the College”.
Mr Owen has now told AJP that the postal vote had been declared null and void, and the College Board had acted on feedback from a number of members asking for a face-to-face meeting on the proposal.
“After 40 years of operation, the Board made a decision to review some components of its governance and structure to ensure its future viability and success,” Mr Owen said.
“After careful consideration, the College Board unanimously decided to seek the views of members about the future direction of the College via a postal ballot of members. Upon receiving a postal ballot, a small number of members requested a Meeting of Members, rather than a postal ballot.
The Board considered these requests and has set aside the original ballot which was in line with the College’s Constitution. The Member General Meeting will allow members to cast their vote in person or by proxy and allow Members the opportunity to ask questions regarding the special resolution,” he said.
“Upon Members support of the special resolutions, the College’s corporate structure will be amended from a company limited by guarantee to a propriety limited company, allowing further support from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch”.
Commenting on the latest announcement, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia said: “Serious concerns have been raised with PSA by College members regarding a Special Resolution which is to be considered at a Members General Meeting. Members are being asked to vote on a very important matter, which essentially is a vote which has the effect of extinguishing member rights, it’s history as a College of Pharmacy, in what effectively amounts to a takeover bid.
“It is the view of the PSA that this takeover is not in the best interests of College members, nor in the best interests of the Pharmacy Profession,” the PSA statement said.
“The extinguishing of member rights, the concerns about conflicts of interest, and the ceding of control and ownership of the College to the Queensland Branch of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia should be rejected”.
PSA said it was “disappointed” that its proposal for the College’s future was rejected by the College Board and not presented to members.
“We have publicly stated that we remain committed to supporting the College and its members into the future. We urge College members to ignore the Board’s recommendation by voting against the Special Resolution”.