New Office Opening



On Friday 28 July the new, additional, ASMOF office was formally opened by Mark Morey, Secretary of Unions NSW. Below is the speech delivered on the evening by ASMOF President Dr Tony Sara.

I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet today. I would also like to pay my respects to Elders past and present.

Distinguished guests, colleagues, and comrades,

On behalf of the ASMOF Council and members I extend a warm welcome and grateful thanks to you for attending this special event – the official opening of the new ASMOF office and Council room.

When we purchased this office the layout and design was drab and depressing. I think you will all agree that the refurbishment has turned it into a modern and impressive work space for our union.

The physical transformation of the office bears a strong resemblance to the transformation of ASMOF over the past few years - we have grown in size and importance.

We have gone from 1000 members, with 2 admin staff and 3 industrial staff, to nearly 5000 members with 11 industrial staff and we will soon add another admin position to our team.

I have always had high hopes for our union. But I am amazed at what we have been able to achieve in such a short amount of time.

We have proven that people will join a union if we take the high moral ground and advocate the issues that matter to members who are after all teaching hospital doctors – quality health care, patients’ interests, and the members welfare.

These achievements would not have been possible without the internal leadership (including our current Executive Director, Andrew Holland and that of our previous Executive Director Dennis Ravlich) and the hard work of all our wonderful staff and Councillors.

And we would not have this office had we not been given the privilege to represent junior doctors – who now make up the majority of our union.

So how did we get to this position, representing our junior doctor colleagues?

It started with a request by Fiona Davies of the AMA to the then opposition spokesperson for Health Jillian Skinner to change legislation to allow competitive unionism in health, but specifically targeted at medical officers, that is JMOs. I give my thanks to the efforts of the previous Minister for Health Jillian Skinner for introducing that change when she came to government, to the then (Labor) opposition spokesperson for health Dr Andrew McDonald, and to the then Secretary of Unions NSW Mark Lennon, for the back-room work required to get wording that would work and would pass the upper house. Accordingly ASMOF owes a great deal to the AMA, (and Fiona), Minister Skinner and Dr McDonald, who worked very hard to make this happen.

Representing junior doctors has also provided a wonderful opportunity for ASMOF and the AMA to build on that achievement by establishing a strong partnership referred to as the Alliance which has brought benefits to members and both organisations. We deeply hope that in the current circumstances of junior doctor welfare being front and centre, that we will be able to make a significant change to their onerous hours to improve their wellbeing.

We have a union that is now more active and more engaged with our membership than ever before.

And we have built strategic relationships which has raised our visibility and respect within our broader community and elsewhere.

We will always be a strong voice for doctors and quality public health services. I also am very proud that we are part of the union and community campaign to reject the NSW Government’s proposal to privatise public hospitals.

There is little doubt that the joint union campaign forced the Government to back down on Goulburn, Wyong and Bowral. These wins should be celebrated but we still need get this government to change its mind about Maitland and Shellharbour.

We need to get them to accept that the best way to train our junior doctors and to provide quality patient care is through supporting our public hospitals.

This campaign has shown that when unions work together in solidarity great outcomes are achieved.

I thank Mark Morey, Gerard Hayes and Brett Holmes for attending today and I am proud to say we will continue to stand together in the campaign against the privatisation of our public hospitals.

I am confident ASMOF is in good hands.

With the support of our members, our staff and our friends, we will continue to grow and further enhance our status as The Doctors' Union, advocating for patients, quality health care, and our members.

I would like to hand over to Mark Morey who will do the honours of officially opening the new ASMOF office and Council room.

- Dr Tony Sara, President of ASMOF (NSW)

ASMOF NSW Executives (L toR) Dr Choong-Siew Yong (Vice-President), Dr Tom Karplus (Secretary),
Dr Tony Sara (President) & Dr Cameron Korb-Wells (Assistant Secretary/Treasurer)