The final round

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

Contenders state their case in hard-fought Guild office bearer election lead-up

The 2017 NSW Guild elections have again proven to be competitive, at times intensely so.

The first round of elections in June produced a Board almost evenly divided between the competing NSW Pharmacy First and Members Action teams, and apparently unaligned neutrals. 

Now, a head-to-head battle for the state branch presidency sees South Coast pharmacist David Heffernan (from Members Action) challenging incumbent branch president Rick Samimi.

In addition, a number of other Board members are actively campaigning for the state’s two elected national board representative positions.   

In a media release, Mr Heffernan said “after more than a decade as a zone leader, time on the Branch Committee and as a National Councillor, and his strong network of political and industry leaders, he feels it time to freshen up the face of the Guild, and along with his Leadership Team members to bring energy and a collegiate culture plus an outcome based focus to the role.

“The next three years are crucial, we need to position ourselves as the Policy Pioneers, the list of challenges will grow, we will need to work through them all,” Mr Heffernan said.

His team’s campaign has been previously critical of some aspects of the Guild’s response to codeine rescheduling, and his manifesto lists codeine upscheduling as one of the six challenges crucial to the profession.   

Standing as part of Mr Heffernan’s ballot team are candidates for two branch national council positions: Adele Tahan and Judy Plunkett (both of whom had been nominated by both teams for the Board elections).

Ms Tahan, a Sydney inner-city pharmacist, says of their team: “along with Judy and David Heffernan it will be a great new face of pharmacy,” adding that she “represents all pharmacists but brings with her the views and concerns of the younger generation of owners with many years of pharmacy ahead of them.”

Mr Samimi says he has met with NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard on three separate occasions in the past few weeks to discuss the codeine issue

“The Minister is acutely aware of all angles of the debate, including the Guild’s comprehensive proposal with PSA support, and is working with me to find the most practical way forward,” said Mr Samimi in an opinion piece (which will appear in full in AJP soon).

Catherine Bronger, elected to the NSW Guild board as part of Mr Samimi’s ticket, has been campaigning for a national council position.

“I have lived and breathed pharmacy my whole life and my whole life is invested in pharmacy. Like you, I stand to lose everything, if the industry is not protected, defended and grown,” she says, listing a nine-point “fighting policy”, including protecting ownership and keeping drugs in S2 and S3 categories.




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