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:
- Reforms to the Aged Care sector to protect the rights of older people:
- Reforms to the mental health service system:
- AASW Submission Benefits of improving mental health.pdf
- AASW Submission MBS Review June 2019.pdf
- Submission into the Royal Commission into Victoria’ Mental Health system
- Submission to the Senate Standing committee on Community Affairs: Accessibility and quality of mental health services in rural and remote Australia.
- Reforms to the disability sector to ensure that the rights of service users are protected:
- Opposing the Automated Debt Scheme (Robodebt):
- An end to the Cashless Debit Cards:
- The end of Parents Next:
- Family and gendered violence
- Submission to the Inquiry into Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence
- Changes to the way that the family law system responds to women and children experiencing family violence, and identifies the best interests of children:
- Amendments to NDIS operations to better embed the principles of Choice and Control
- The creation and design of the Redress Scheme for victims of institutional child sexual abuse
- Reforms to the Family and Partner visas policy
- Protecting the rights of minorities from discrimination and hate speech:
- Reforms to services for Veterans and their families:
- Statement to the Australian Government and United Nations Conference of the Parties Climate Change conference