Board communiqué: Investigation of the 2018 RACP Board elections

Dear Fellows and trainees,

The investigation in relation to the 2018 Royal Australasian College of Physicians (the ‘College’) Board elections has been completed and considered by the Board.

The Terms of the Investigation were:

A) make findings as to whether or not there has been, on the balance of probabilities, a breach of the College’s Constitution and Nomination and Election Process for the Board of the College and its College Bodies By-law, including if there has been direct or indirect access or utilisation of College resources and assets in breach of that By-law and, if so, by whom and whether it is possible to determine if that breach if found had an impact on the outcome of the election

B) conduct preliminary cyber checks on the College’s information technology systems and/or software to identify a potential breach by a computer virus or malware on the balance of probabilities and if so, to identify by whom

C) make findings on the balance of probabilities as to whether or not there has been a breach of the College’s Privacy Policy and applicable Australian and New Zealand privacy laws and, if so, by whom

D) make findings on the balance of probabilities as to whether or not there has been a breach of confidentiality of College and its Board’s confidential information and, if so, if possible to identify by whom

E) prepare and submit an investigation report for the Board’s consideration

F) provide a summary of the key findings from the investigation report to the Board which may be provided to the College’s members.

The Board advises its Fellows and trainees that no evidence of improper access or use of College databases, assets or property by any candidates during the 2018 Board elections was found. Nor did the investigation make any finding of wrongdoing against any Board candidate or any other person.

The Board also advises its Fellows and trainees that no evidence was found of any breach of the College’s Constitution and Nomination and Election Process for the Board of the College and its College Bodies By-Laws occurred.

Recent media reports have focused on the source of '21,000' email addresses reportedly used in the course of the recent College elections and have called for the release of the report in relation to the election investigation.

It is our view that that report contains material that, if publicly released, may legally expose the College, and cause distress to persons named in it and to staff. In addition, members should be made aware that the emails used in the Reform campaign were generated from personal databases collated over many years and their use, we consider, was legitimate and compliant with all relevant College election rules.

The database contains approximately 8,000 addresses, not 21,000 as has repeatedly been claimed. To our knowledge it is distinct from emails used in a survey of members’ attitudes published recently in the Internal Medicine Journal. At no time during the recent elections did the Reform team utilise the College’s member database.

The Reform Agenda is a positive and welcome change for the College that will re-engage the membership through opinion surveys, town hall meetings and new expressions of interest in College Fellowship, Policy and Education initiatives. We encourage you to join with us over the coming weeks and months as these opportunities arise.

Here is a link to a communique from the board outlining our immediate strategic priorities https://www.racp.edu.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/racp-board-statement-of-strategic-intent.pdf?sfvrsn=5ef3111a_0

The Board is unanimous in this resolution.

Associate Professor Mark Lane, President
Professor John Wilson, President-Elect
Dr Jeff Brown, President New Zealand
Professor Niki Ellis, Member Director
Professor Paul Komesaroff, Member Director
Dr Jacki Small, Member Director
Dr Alice Grey, Trainee Physician Director
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