Social policy and advocacy

Social Policy and Advocacy Overview

Advocacy is a core skill of the social work profession and has been since the profession’s earliest beginnings.  Social workers operate at the interface between people and their social, cultural and physical environments.  In all contexts, social workers maintain a dual focus on assisting people to develop to their full potential and improve their well-being; and on identifying and addressing the systemic and structural factors that create and perpetuate inequality and injustice.  The core of social work is ensuring that the human rights of individuals and communities are fully realised and protected.   

The AASW Code of Ethics spells out our respect for persons, our dedication to social justice, and our commitment to professional excellence.  This means that we have an ethical responsibility as well as a professional responsibility to promote a just and fair society through our social policy work. 

Therefore, we take a strong role in advocacy for vulnerable and marginalised people.  We gather input from our members about social policy reforms which are needed across the entire service system and policy landscape.  These are based on their observations of the way that government policy, the structure of programs and features of our current model of service delivery all combine to exacerbate disadvantage and discrimination. 

Our policy advocacy has covered the full spectrum of policy at Federal and State level and in the community sector.  We call on the practice experience of members to demonstrate the benefits that would flow to vulnerable people if our recommendations for policy change were followed. 

We also help members develop and write policy submissions. For more information, members can login to MyAASW: 

Examples of our recent policy submissions: 

  • Promoting Reconciliation and Self Determination:  
    • AASW Submission Close the Gap Refresh.pdf  
    • AASW Submission to the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.pdf 
  • Aged Care Quality Standards Submission.pdf 
  • Reforms to the disability sector to ensure that the rights of service users are protected: 
    •  AASW Submission Royal Commission People With Disability.pdf 
  • Statement to the Australian Government and United Nations Conference of the Parties Climate Change conference