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AASW’s Policy Position on Health

Consistent with the values stated in our Code of Ethics the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals, the AASW supports a fully funded, comprehensive and inclusive Medicare system. Human rights and social justice cannot be achievable in a user-pays system, which results in further-entrenched inequality and disadvantage. Social workers bring a unique, non-medical perspective to health care, with a cultural, systems, person-in-environment focus. We endorse the growing acceptance of the principle that people can exercise informed choice over the services that they will receive. Empowering people to exercise control in their lives is consistent with a rights-based approach to human wellbeing and promotes the principle of self-determination that social work has long upheld. Nevertheless, we understand that ensuring that individuals can exercise choice will not automatically overcome the structural causes of injustice. Such long-term change relies on the work towards broader social goals that has been described above (AASW, 2017).

Position Statements



August 2016

Position statement: Allied Health Assistants

July 2011

Health Reform Position Paper

Policy Submissions



July 2020 Covid 19 Inquiry Submission

March 2017

Submission to the Australian Government Productivity Commission Introducing Competition and Informed User Choice into Human Services: Reforms to Human Services Draft Report

January 2016

Submission to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs: Dental and allied health arrangements review (Redacted for publication)

July 2015

June 2015

Electronic Health Records and Healthcare Identifiers: Legislation Discussion Paper

Media Releases



27 April, 2020

Australian social workers encourage everyone to download COVIDSafe app

23 March, 2020

Australian social workers respond to COVID-19 pandemic

16 January, 2020

Queensland’s move to end ‘conversion therapy’ a positive step, but falls short

25 October, 2018

AASW commends decriminalisation of abortion in Queensland

19 May, 2016

Medicare rebate freeze undermines scheme’s universality: AASW

10 December, 2014

Health care system at risk under new Medicare changes

24 November, 2014

Abandoned baby sparks call for more support

23 September, 2014

Changes in health system must protect vulnerable

4 June, 2014

Concerns for hospital patients after Centrelink community team services

reduced in hospitals

23 April, 2014

Important Community Health Services lost if Medicare Locals Close

Other relevant documents



March 2011

National Primary Health Care Partnership position on regional Primary Health Care


March 2016

AASW Submission to the Primary Health Care Advisory Group: Summary of main points

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers