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Your campaign action is urgently needed

26 July 2012

Dear [FirstName]

Well done to all who have taken action in our campaign for registration. 390 MPs have been contacted by members to date. However, we need to really increase our action over the next two weeks as that is all the time remaining before our key campaign target - the Standing Council on Health (SCoH) meeting 10th August.

TAKE ACTION THIS WEEK

If you haven't written to your state and federal MP, please do so now and remember to cc registration@aasw.asn.au or drop me an email if you've sent hard copy letters, telling me who you have written to and what you've requested (eg. asked them to lobby a minister of health and provide feedback to you OR asked them to do that and that you've offered to meet with them).

Following the request by student members, the template letter has been edited to better suit student social worker campaigners engaging their MPs. So please use it to act now.

Ask your employer whether and how they might support the campaign to have social workers registered. See last week's e-bulletin or the campaign resources on the website to aid you in your approach.

Join a Facebook group (such as the one below), post a status update on your LinkedIn, Facebook or other social media forum, or a wall post saying for example, "I support the national registration of social workers, show that you do too".

Get non-AASW members involved - Consider organising a lunch time discussion with colleagues in your organisation and get them on board to support the Registration Campaign. It could be your social work colleagues or it could be broader. We want everyone to know why this is important.

Send me any examples you are aware of, of harmful social worker activity that would be stopped under registration.

WEEK HIGHLIGHTS

One of our Queensland members contacted 89 Queensland parliamentarians this week, one of our national board members contacted 25 senior labour MPs from her networks and one of our active WA members made excellent contact with the chair of Health Workforce Australia. Thank you for these great actions and thank all of you (social workers and students) who have taken the time to contact MPs, arrange forums and ask your employers to write in support of the campaign.

Two weeks ago I mentioned that one unintended consequence of social work not being registered is that the Mental Health Commission of WA recently released a tender requiring all clinicians to be AHPRA registered. Following active lobbying by WA member and Richmond Fellowship CEO, Joe, we are delighted to announce that the commission has amended its tender. The potential disenfranchising of social workers in WA was enormous and the Mental Health Commission is to be congratulated for rectifying this oversight so quickly.

Sylvia, a WA member drew this recent blog from the General Social Care Council UK to our attention during the week: http://www.gscc.org.uk/blog.php?id=28
As she commented, "Exploring the site further, their conduct hearing section is a sobering read, with publicised names and reasons for admonishment. It's accessed from the drop-down menu within the yellow banner at the top of their page. Although it looks like a lot of people, it's only a very small number of registered social workers, when you read Penny Thompson's blog."

Social media

An ACT member has set up a Facebook group page dedicated to support and discuss the Registration campaign and if you have a Facebook account you may want to consider joining the group. Click here to view the Facebook page, where you can join the group.

Please note this is not an official AASW Facebook group and if you have any questions or comments for the AASW about our campaign please email: registration@aasw.asn.au

Responses from MPs

Positive actions by MPs continue to flow through this week with many forwarding our concerns to the health minister in their state or federal minister or to their parliamentary colleague in the shadow cabinets. The highlight was this statement of support from ACT MLA John Hargreaves:
"I worked in ACT Health from 1978 to 1995 and know your profession particularly well.... I am absolutely committed to your cause. I see no reason why a health profession can or should be treated any differently than any other. The days of being almoners is long gone. Please add my name to any e-petition you may be thinking about and feel free to use my name and position in support of your cause.” John Hargreaves MLA, Member for Brindabella

AASW BRANCH & TASKFORCE ACTIONS THIS WEEK

Branch Forums

Fantastic forums have been held this week, with 20 social workers (and student social workers) gathering at Hobart hospital in their lunch break and another 10 (including three student social workers) at the Tasmania branch to discuss registration with Tony Howe and I. This is an excellent response from a small branch given they had short notice and I couldn't get to Launceston or the north west this trip.

Trudi Marchant facilitated a forum in Perth last night with e-conferencing to rural WA. I'll let you know about that next week.

I look forward to the forum with Queensland branch tonight and meeting with a few more members tomorrow morning.

Lobbying

Tony Howe and I met with Michelle O'Byrne, the Tasmanian Health Minister and chair of SCoH, and her advisors on Monday. Minister O'Byrne has a good understanding of social work and was empathic to our desire to have the profession registered. She provided us with excellent advice and confirmed that our actions to date were important ones. We await confirmation of inclusion in the next meeting agenda or the November one.

This week the office sent letters from the AASW National President, Karen Healy, to all Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC) members providing information and requesting meetings. As the director generals, secretaries and chief executives of state, territory and commonwealth health departments, they have considerable influence over the directions taken by the Health ministers.

REPRESENTATIVE ACTIONS COMING

Taskforce members are meeting with the ACT Health Minister and with Independent Andrew Wilkie this week.

Along with Northern Territory Branch President Jeanne Lorraine and NT Board member, Pamela Trotman, I am meeting with the NT health minister on Tuesday.

On Wednesday evening I'm meeting with the SA Allied Health advisor. South Australia Branch President Sue King will be joining me to meet with the SA shadow health minister on Thursday.

We are still awaiting a meeting with the SA health minister's office but are still hopeful about next Thursday.

FORUMS COMING UP

ACT branch - Monday 30/7
NT branch - Tuesday 31/7
SA Branch - Thursday 2/8
VIC Branch - Wednesday 8/8
NQ Branch - Friday 17/8 Townsville; Atherton 22/8; Cairns tbc (21/8-24/8)

Please continue to act or if you haven't yet joined the campaign, act now - time is running out for getting it on SCoH agenda.

Remember this is our profession and it is our actions that will make a difference.

Please email me with any campaign thoughts or queries.

Thank you all,

Kandie Allen-Kelly
BSocWk MPhil MAASW MAICD AIAMA
AASW Spokesperson on Registration
Email: registration@aasw.asn.au

Australian Association of Social Workers
PO Box 4956
KINGSTON ACT 2604
Phone: 02 6232 3900     
Membership: 1800 630 124
www.aasw.asn.au