My AASW election statement: vote to put members first!

Background and Experience

I have 40 years of experience in the health sector, and in private practice, counselling individuals and families. I am currently a social work leader in NSW Health, with management, teaching, training and research responsibilities. I have had Board experience on a Local Health District Board, as Chair of a private school Board and on the AASW National Board.

I have had a blog for several years on social work and social policy. I also use my website as a platform for my social work and social policy podcast- Just Another Do Gooder.

My Vision for Social Work and the AASW

Inequality is getting worse. Our communities locally and globally are increasingly divided. Add to this: climate change denial, epidemics of loneliness and depression, a consumerist culture, record levels of debt, and a rising tide of workplace bullying.

It is crucial in this environment that social workers stand together and support each other, bound by our ethical commitments to our profession and our communities. We must speak truth to power. We must continue to build our knowledge and skills in the service of our communities.

The Power of the AASW is in the Relationships between Members

  • We must reach potential members early in their professional lives. This should include a mentoring scheme for students and new graduates. We have a richly experienced membership that would be delighted to contribute to building the next generation of social workers.
  • Only a small minority of our students are members. We need a student club on every campus to help build social work ways of thinking, doing and being.
  • We need an AASW members app that will allow any member to communicate with all other participating members.

Education and Professional Development need to be Integrated at all Levels

  • We should commission an independent review of all aspects of CPD, in order to build a comprehensive long term plan for less expensive and better integrated professional development.
  • We need to build the capacity of our own members to be CPD providers.
  • I believe that there may be a looming crisis in field education. We urgently need a national summit to find sustainable solutions. This must be evidence based, and include students, academics, employers and the AASW. It must help our capacity to supply quality placements, as well as constructing a shared vision of a signature social work pedagogy.

AASW Members can use our Collective Strength to Support Each Other

  • We need to consult with the relevant trade unions to build a joint strategy to combat short term contracts and the toxic effects of precarious employment. We must ensure that social workers always have access to good quality supervision and subsidised CPD.
  • We must commission and independent, transparent review of the needs and the challenges faced by our private practitioners.

We Must Continue to Stand for Social Justice in our Communities

  • We should continue to promote an ecologically mindful and sustainable approach to social work.
  • We should listen to the voices of the people of our first sovereign Nations and support the Uluru statement.
  • We must continue to advocate for the poor and the vulnerable, to reverse the rising tides of inequality and misery. This should include advocating for a universal basic income and cracking down on unfettered gambling and pay day lending.

 Lets put #Membersfirst

Please feel free to contact me on the AASW provided platform or my website or Facebook Page.

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8 Responses to My AASW election statement: vote to put members first!

  1. Hi

    We really need to get Social Work/ers on par to Clinical Psychologist especially in the medicare arena so private practitioners can reach as many people as they need to and receive the same rebate. At the moment we are losing community to Clinical Psychologist’s because of the large rebate they get regardless of whether they can work in the holistic and organic way that social workers are renowned for. If that’s an agenda item you have my vote!

    • vittorio1 says:

      Thanks Audrey
      Strongly agree with you.
      To be fair I suspect that every single candidate in this election probably does too!

  2. Caroline says:

    Could you explain further how the AASW with you as president would listen to the voices of our First Peoples? What would that look like? And, how would you support and promote the needs and interests of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander social workers?

    • vittorio1 says:

      I am no expert in this area and I think it is important to defer to First Nations AASW members in seeking policy advice in those areas. I recognise too the strong contribution that Linda Ford and many others have made over many years on these issues. They have my strong support.
      On a very personal level, I was deeply moved by the Uluru statement and believe that our First Nations peoples should have a significant voice in our Parliament.
      Being bilingual myself, I am also passionate about the fundamental role of language in culture, and will always support initiatives around language.

  3. Margaret Pestorius says:

    I think sovereignty and truth in history is key to our perspectives. It should be first in any platform.

    Second I’m interested in the role of nurses in management in the health system as problematic for holistic solutions in health. Interested in your tigress about how social workers organise in relation to this.

    • vittorio1 says:

      Thanks Margaret
      Not sure what you mean by sovereignty? Truth is fundamental to our ethics in my view.
      I hope and believe that all professions will become more holistic over time- and therefore closer to where social work already is. This is what the people we work with are entitled to.
      If you listen to my podcast interview with Danish nursing professor Niels Buus, it should give you some optimism about how nursing is thinking about mental health.

  4. Margaret Pestorius says:

    Sovereignty is the idea that First Nations people have a primary right and primary relationship with Land in this Land. Migrant peoples have set up a settler State designed to extract resources. This is the main truth that should be spoken by social workers. Our work glows from that truth. If we don’t speak and act this truth, if we are silent, then we are not acting within the aasw ethical framework.

    • vittorio1 says:

      For me the main truth of ethics is human dignity. This notion is sometimes hijacked as being about individual rights. But for me it is about the fundamentals of hospitality between communities and peoples. True hospitality does not know sovereignty or borders. It is created endlessly and intersubjectively. We are born into it. From each according to their abilities and to each according to their needs.

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