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Northern Territory Elections 2020

A message from Northern Territory Branch President, Emma Wooldridge

Next Saturday, 22 August, Territorians go to the polls to elect our next Northern Territory government. I encourage all Northern Territory AASW members to use this opportunity for change. It is critical that we hold our parliamentary representatives to account on the impacts of their policies and their words on the people and the communities we work with as social workers.

Please read our AASW Position Statement - Northern Territory Election 2020 that covers some of our professional practice areas, including Aboriginal Justice Agreement and Youth Justice Reform, Family Violence, Child Protection, Income Support and Cost of Living, Sustainability and Climate Change, Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, Mental Health, as well as the crucial question of Registration for our profession. I, and my colleagues on the Northern Territory Branch Management Committee, hope you will use this statement to contact local candidates in your electorate and ask them for their stances on these concerns and any others. Let's use our unique first-hand professional knowledge of social issues to create the changes we all need!

Emma Wooldridge

Our Position Statement

A Territory election is a pivotal opportunity for a government to create the conditions under which people will pursue healthy, meaningful and rewarding lives. As social workers, we measure the success of any government based on the social impact of their policies.

The Northern Territory Branch has developed a position statement outlining seven key areas of concern to social workers in the lead-up to the Northern Territory Election on 22 August 2020.

These broad areas are:

  • Aboriginal Justice Agreement and Youth Justice Reform
  • Mental health
  • Family Violence
  • Child Protection
  • Income Support & Cost of Living
  • Sustainability and Climate Change
  • Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse

The position statement includes brief commentary, a key question and links to relevant AASW statements, position papers, and submissions.

Download or View the AASW Position Statement - Northern Territory 2020

Action To Date

7 August

AASW Position Statement on the Northern Territory Election released.

10 August

We have sent out letters based on our position statement to the three key party leaders:

Any response will be posted here for the reference of members.

10 August

A Member Bulletin was shared with all Northern Territory AASW members via email asking members to advocate for Registration of Social Workers, and on the issues identified in the Position Statement, amongst their local elections candidates, party leaders and Ministers and Shadow Ministers.

A Template Letter is available for members to personalise and send to local candidates/leaders/ministers/shadow ministers.

17 August

Response from The Hon Michael Gunner, Chief Minister of Northern Territory

How Members Can Get Involved

We urge our members to write to your local candidates and bring to their attention the issues that social workers are most concerned about.

We ask you to raise the issue of Registration of Social Workers and highlight the need for urgent action to ensure systemic failures are addressed and vulnerable people and children are protected, and for the protection of title for social workers. A Private Members Bill has already been introduced into the South Australian Parliament and we’ve engaged with both sides of State and Federal Governments to support the registration of social workers in all States.

We have developed a Template Letter to enable you to write to your:

to urge them to act on these issues if they are elected.

The Template Letter is available via this website as a PDF. If you require a Word version, please do not hesitate to contact the Northern Territory Branch via email on and we will send the document to you.

We encourage our members to contact their local members and candidates to share your own perspectives and/or draw on our position statement to highlight the issues that are critical to ensuring that Northern Territory is a place in which people, including the most vulnerable, can pursue healthy, meaningful and productive lives.

We particularly urge members in marginal seats to take this action to influence new MPs to take up these issues with the next Government and Ministers of Health and Social Services.

We also encourage you view the excellent NTCOSS Election Scorecard - a dynamic repository for social policy pledges and promises.

For more information and tips about communicating with your local MP or candidates, take a look at our webpage entitled Guidance for Communicating with Your Local MP.

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AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers