Nurses and midwives are well-placed to provide informed, expert commentary and advocacy on health and social issues.
The ANMF campaigns for a just and democratic society in the workplace, nationally and globally. We support, develop and promote national policy approaches which reduce health inequalities, address social determinants of health and other issues that impact people’s ability to live well. We participate in activities which support social justice, equality and humanitarian treatment for all to promote a fair society and healthy communities. The ANMF does this by building strategic relationships nationally and internationally with nursing and midwifery organisations, unions and other partners to advance the interests of nursing and midwifery and the health of communities.
Thrive By Five Campaign
The ANMF joined the Thrive by Five (TB5) Campaign in February 2021 which is an initiative of the Mindaroo Foundation. The campaign aims to make Australia’s early learning childcare system high quality and universally accessible highlighting the importance of early childhood development for lifelong health and wellbeing, equality for women and the challenges for shift workers to access care for their children. ANMF involvement in the campaign has included promotion of campaign messages via social media, attendance at campaign events and meetings, and participation in media releases with a focus on where the issues align with nursing and midwifery practice and workforce participation. For further information about the TB5 Campaign visit their website.
Anti-Poverty Week Campaign
The ANMF supports the Anti-Poverty Week (APW) campaign, held in October each year, through the provision of campaign funding and promotion in our online and print-based publications and social media. Most recently this campaign has had a particular focus on the health and economic impact of COVID-19 on marginalised people. The annual APW campaign highlights the plight of people within our community who struggle with poverty. APW has partnered with both the Everybody’s Home campaign to ensure secure and affordable homes for all and the Raise the Rate for Good campaign to secure a permanent increase in unemployment payments well above the poverty line. These are the most effective solutions to reducing poverty in Australia. Unemployment has doubled as a result of the COVID-19 induced shut-downs, affecting many people who may never have needed support as well as those who were already out of work or didn’t have enough work before the bushfires and pandemic hit. The ANMF supports this campaign on behalf of nursing and midwifery members who through their daily practice engage directly with people experiencing the debilitating health effects of poverty. For further information about APW’s work on poverty visit their website.
International Council of Nurses
As a partner member with the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) of the International Council of Nurses (ICN), the ANMF contributes to global policy and advocacy work to improve socioeconomic welfare of nurses and the people for whom they provide care. ICN works to raise the standard of education and the conditions of nurses, particularly in developing countries, thereby improving the health and wellbeing of their communities. The education programs conducted by the ICN, empower nurses to advocate for social equity in their countries.
Examples of specific social justice activities include:
- Girl Child Education Fund (GCEF);
- ICN Humanitarian Fund;
- Lesotho Organisational Development Project (ODP);
- Tuberculosis/Multi-drug Resistant TB Project.
ICN acknowledges and promotes, through awards, nurses who work with vulnerable communities across the globe. For further information on the work of ICN visit their website.
South Pacific Nurses Forum
The South Pacific Nurses Forum (SPNF) was formed in 1982 by South Pacific Nurses who were attending the 1980 International Council of Nurses in Los Angeles, USA and has met in a different location in the South Pacific every two years since then. Clinical nurses, nurse managers, nurse educators and nurse leaders from across the South Pacific attend the Forum to discuss and debate key issues of importance to nurses and nursing. Members include nursing associations from sixteen South Pacific countries along with the Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation and the International Council of Nurses. The ANMF represents Australia on the SPNF. For further information on the work of the SPNF visit their website.
Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation
The Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation (CNMF), founded in 1973, is a federation of national nursing and midwifery associations in Commonwealth countries. The CNMF is managed by an elected Board, which consists of a President, a Vice-President, and a member from each of its six regions. The Federation has two appointed officers - an Executive Secretary and a Treasurer. Board Meetings and General Meetings are held every two years. The ANMF Federal Secretary represents Australia on the CNMF and currently holds the CNMF Board position for the Pacific Region. The CNMF exists to influence health policy throughout the Commonwealth, develop nursing networks, enhance nursing education, improve nursing standards and competence, and strengthen nursing leadership. For further information on the work of the CNMF visit their website.
South East Asian Treaty Organisation (SEATO) nurses were members of the civilian surgical and medical teams sent to Vietnam as part of Australia’s strategic and military commitment to the Vietnam War between 1964 and 1972. Many of the 210 nurses have suffered similar war related illnesses and medical conditions as the Vietnam veterans. The ANMF has, over a number of years, campaigned to enable the SEATO nurses who served in Vietnam the right to claim benefits under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986. Successive federal governments have failed to redress this anomaly on the basis that the teams were not under the command of the Australian Defence Force. The ANMF has continued to represent the interests of these nurses in lobbying the Australian Government for a just outcome on their claims.
In July 2019, the Australian Government finally acknowledged that SEATO nurses and doctors were exposed to hazards and dangers as a result of working in a conflict zone for the Australian Government. They have now recognised that these health care teams provided invaluable aid to Vietnamese civilians, often in difficult and traumatic circumstances. Now these nurses and doctors are able to gain access to treatment for all injuries or illnesses delivered through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Care. Services available through this card include general practitioners, psychiatrists, psychologists, medication, public or private hospital treatment and counselling.