Registration campaign: it's time to act
4 July 2012
A fortnight ago it was announced that the AASW was about to commence a dedicated campaign for the registration of social workers under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS). I am delighted the AASW Board has invited me to manage the campaign and to act as spokesperson when necessary on your behalf. Today the campaign begins in earnest and I invite you to get involved - it’s time for us all to play our parts. Together we will make a difference.
Over the past two weeks we’ve been pretty busy in the background. A small taskforce has formed made up of some members of the previous National Registration Committee, a member invited for their expertise around registration, our national president, Professor Karen Healy, the board director with liaison responsibilities for registration and our new CEO, Glenys Wilkinson. The taskforce will be the reference group for the campaign.
We’ve written to and followed up the States and Territories Health Ministers as well as to commonwealth Ministers Plibersek, Snowdon and Butler and parliamentary secretary King requesting meetings. We’ve written to the Chair of the Standing Committee on Health (SCoH) which is made up of all Australia’s health ministers, requesting that registration of social workers be placed on the August meeting agenda. We have formally requested that Minister Plibersek either move or support the motion to have it put on the August agenda. I am meeting with the chair to discuss this next week in Canberra.
On Monday Glenys Wilkinson, Stephen Brand and I had a follow up meeting with the Hon Tanya Plibersek’s senior advisor Bronwyn Taylor to discuss our campaign plan and to garner support. Previously Minister Plibersek’s office requested and held a meeting in late May with our National President Karen Healy, board director Anita Phillips and ACSW Executive Officer Stephen Brand with Ms Taylor and the Parliamentary Secretary, the Hon Catherine King. Both meetings have been extremely positive and supportive with the commonwealth recognising the vulnerabilities created by the lack of registration of social workers in the areas they are responsible for.
On Monday we also released a statement to the media acknowledging the four new professions included in the NRAS scheme and announcing the beginning of our campaign to ensure that vulnerable members of the community are protected by registration of social workers. We will be following this up over the next few weeks.
What to do now
From today, AASW members and other supporters should contact your local members of Parliament (State / Territory as well as Federal) to ask for their support in our campaign. We need to get as many MPs as possible contacted in the next month. The Standing Committee on Health meets on the 10th August. Remember you are constituents and you have a right to make your case to your local members. We need your local members to lobby their ministers of health to get this on the agenda.
On the AASW website you’ll find all the resources you need to take action in the registration campaign:
• A template letter to your State / Territory and Federal MP
• FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on registration (above all, remember that registration is primarily about better protection for the public)
• Contact details for MPs
• A guide to meetings with MPs (just for you, not to give away)
• A briefing to give to your MP when you meet with him / her.
• A meeting report template to make it easy for you to capture your meetings and send them to us
Some of our branches have begun to arrange meetings of members and I encourage all to do so. I’ll be attending a meeting of the NSW branch to discuss the campaign next Thursday (12th evening) and look forward to meeting as many members who can get there as possible.
On Thursday this week I will be meeting by teleconference with the Chair of the Health Workforce Principles Committee and the Chair of the Practitioner Regulation Sub-committee. These are committees of the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC) and pivotal to our strategy.
I will be writing a regular e-bulletin over the next two months to update you and share information that we have received from our meetings and yours. We have a discussion group operating within the AASW website to share information and discuss issues. Help us to spread the word to your non-member social work colleagues and others to get more voices in support of the campaign.
Questions or comments
The AASW website has a lot more information about the registration campaign. If you have any questions, suggestions or comments about the campaign please email the campaign address: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office on 02 6232 3900 or 1800 630 124.
An AASW survey found that 89% of AASW members strongly support registration for the profession. We’re going to work hard to make it happen, but we can’t do it without members’ help. The Better Access campaign in 2010 demonstrated that social workers, pushing in the same direction, can achieve incredible political victories. AASW members, staff and office holders are going to have to work just as hard to achieve registration. Please get involved and help make registration real in 2012.
AASW Registration Campaign Manager & Spokesperson on Registration
Australian Association of Social Workers
PO Box 4956
KINGSTON ACT 2604
Phone: 02 6232 3900
Membership: 1800 630 124