RAPS began as a ‘physical group’ in December 2016. However, the movement that culminated in the formation of RAPS began long before that. It began when the introduction of a two-tier Medicare rebate system was mooted for psychological services in Australia. That two-tier system was introduced in November 2006. Even before it’s introduction the Australian Psychological Society (APS) began receiving communications of concerns from its members regarding the potential negative wide-ranging effects of such a system. What those members were unaware of then was that the APS had advocated to the Australian Government that only clinical psychologists be admitted to the Medicare register. If this had been known at the time then the concerned members would have realised that they were communicating with a body that wasn’t interested as they had a different agenda.
Over many years, since the introduction of the two-tier system, there has not been any affirmative action taken by the APS to redress this system. The harm done by this system to the general public and the psychology profession is an escalating mammoth.
On this backdrop a small group of psychologists had their first physical meeting in St. Kilda, Melbourne in late 2016 to channel the voice of many psychologists across Australia … and so the Reform APS (RAPS) group began.
Since that initial meeting, the RAPS cause has spread across the country and there are now supporters in all Australian states and territories. Many psychologists have left the APS and formed breakaway associations. Many of these disaffected psychologists still focus their collective pleas via the RAPS platform.
A well resourced and highly organised APS has responded to the formation of RAPS by multifarious strategies. These have included but aren’t limited to;
- Legal threats, warnings of complaints to the Ethics Committee, demands for resignations, and the like,
- Presidential emails containing inaccurate information to the entire membership mailing list warning them about RAPS,
- Pushing for a divisive governance model at an EGM for which only the YES case was presented to members,
- Offering RAPS, at a cost of $1000.00, a spreadsheet of members names and addresses only, so they could present the NO case. However, having to physically post information to members was estimated at a cost approaching $30,000.00 and therefore impossible,
- Conducting an unconstitutionally process driven EGM to cement the internally divisive governance model in place,
- Allowing, ‘apparent’ access to the college membership email lists for some colleges, including Clinical and Counselling. Those colleges then campaigned in support of the APS for the AGM in October 2017,
- Allowing the state branches to use their email lists to campaign in support of the APS agenda for the 2017 election.
Due to the lack of any meaningful response or actions on the part of the APS, RAPS were advised that spilling the board of the APS was the most effective, and perhaps only, option left to them.
The spill motion was placed on the agenda for the 2017 AGM held in Brisbane on Saturday, 7th October. RAPS did not have the time and resources needed to contact the vast majority of members negatively impacted by the two-tier system. The Clinical College members were well resourced and in an unfortunate outcome for broad membership representation on the board, the result of the motion was that all but one board member are now Clinical.
A RAPS supported candidate was successfully elected as a director representing the Division of General Practicing Psychologists.
The majority of affected psychologists in Australia still either do not know, or do not have unbiased information, about RAPS. Most psychologists have only been informed by the skewed media machine of the APS.
RAPS is organising further having learned much from the unsuccessful 2017 AGM spill campaign.
In a most unpresidential action the president of the APS, Anthony Cichello, wrote an inaccurate and one-sided version of the 2017 AGM spill motion and about RAPS in general in the October edition of InPsych.
RAPS has since developed new and broader strategies to assist all interested psychologists in uniting our profession, to lobby stakeholders, and to assist educational institutions to reclaim lost diversity.
Some Supportive Information (there is a lot more):
Freedom of Information Documents – The APS advocated for Clinicals only.
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