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07 Jun 2019

This year’s National Conference was the last to have Associate Professor Beverley Rowbotham AO as its Chair.

Dr Rowbotham is stepping down as Chair of the AMA Federal Council after a five-year stint at the helm.

At the Federal Council meeting held in Brisbane immediately before National Conference, and throughout the conference itself, praise and thanks poured out in abundance.

Everybody – everybody – speaks incredibly highly of Dr Rowbotham and the manner in which she has professionally and personably led the AMA’s policy governing body.

AMA President Dr Tony Bartone thanked Dr Rowbotham for her “intelligence, her wit, and her sheer unflappability” in chairing the Federal Council.

Dr Rowbotham spoke to Australian Medicine at the National Conference venue.

“There is some sense of relief because I did a lot or work chairing Federal Council, but mainly I feel affection and sadness that that part of my career is over,” she said.

“I’ve loved it. It’s a great job. The Federal Council is great people and I really believe in the power of the group over any one person and what they can do for Australia’s doctors and health care.

“I guess the real challenge was that the Federal Council changed after the constitutional changes five years ago. So this was a new beast where Federal Council was responsible for policy only, instead of all the other responsibilities it once had – and just making the most of that opportunity.

“I will stay on Federal Council a while longer yet because I have another year of my term as a pathology representative.

“The AMA has never been in better shape. It’s a remarkable organisation. We are well supported. The policy people are outstanding. The can-do attitude that is part of any modern organisation – the AMA has it in bucketloads.

“What I wanted to bring to Federal Council was the whole concept of consensus decision making. 

“We do represent our entire membership. And beyond that, whether they like it or not, Australia’s doctors are represented by the AMA – all 110,000 of them.”


Published: 07 Jun 2019