Advocacy in the Spotlight                          
Edition 5 - February 2023

Welcome to Advocacy in the Spotlight where we showcase contemporary advocacy across a diverse range of sectors. We hope these examples will show the importance of advocacy and inspire you to advocate on behalf of your cause or passion.

We invite you to share your experiences and innovations with us at

What is Advocacy?

Advocacy is the active support of a cause. and comes from the Latin word ‘advocare’ meaning ‘to be called to stand beside’. It involves persuasion, influences perceptions  and encourages people to care about an issue. Advocacy is about coalitions sharing and disseminating the same message. It’s about having a voice and standing beside those who do not. It's having a place at the table when policy decisions are being made, and recognising who and what your opposition is and overcoming resistance.

The Advocacy Toolkit

The toolkit is a practical resource that supports and encourages health professionals and interested organisations to engage in advocacy. The toolkit:
  • Demystifies advocacy
  • Includes examples and case studies demonstrating how advocacy strategies can be applied across different issues
  • Offers tips to effectively work with the media and
  • Provides practical tools to help you and your organisation advocate on your issue

To download the Toolkit click here.

TikTok responds to advocacy around tanning practices and products
Advertising the #sunburnchallenge on Instagram and Tik Tok targets young women, promoting dangerous tans and encouraging the use of sunbeds (which have been banned in Australia for commercial use since 2015, but are still legal to own for personal use).
Melanoma Institute Australia and partners issued a plea for social media to stop glamourising this harmful tanning.
Journalist Melissa Mason also started a petition to ban the advertising of sun tanning products in Australia. The petition calls for the Department of Health to investigate advertising and marketing of sun tanning products in Australia and act quickly to discourage young people from using them.
In direct response, Tik Tok removed content associated with the #sunburnchallenge and will add educational material and links from Melanoma Institute Australia to all searches across the platform around tanning, summer and sunburn.
Read more here.  
After a decade of advocacy for Medicare reform, Federal Government releases Medicare taskforce report
In 2013, The Abbot Government introduced the Medicare rebate freeze to save money. Since then, patients have been denied access to healthcare due to a decline in the rates of bulk-billing, gap fees going up, and difficulties getting to see a doctor. Advocacy groups called for an end the Medicare freeze and for major structural reform to Australia’s Medicare Insurance scheme.
A decade later, in 2023, The Federal Government released the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce final report recommending a path for significant reforms to strengthen Medicare and rebuild general practice (GP). It provides a roadmap to Medicare reform and a commitment to spend $750 million to “revamp primary care”. The report emphasises equity of access, person-centred models of care, digital innovation, and an overhaul of a GP-centric models in order to prioritise multi-disciplinary healthcare teams.
The full report can be found here.

NSW Greens lobby for Rural and Remote Health Commissioner

The NSW Greens are pledging to lobby for a Rural and Remote Health Commissioner to improve the state’s ailing regional and rural health system.
“The Greens' plan will repair the faltering regional and rural health system and ensure people living outside of our cities can expect fair and equitable healthcare services” says Cate Faehrmann, Greens Health Spokeswoman.
It comes after a Parliamentary Inquiry into health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional and remote New South Wales last year found patients had died on bathroom floors and cleaners had been working as nurses during staff shortages in the regional and remote areas. The government backed 41 of the 44 recommendations made by the Inquiry but rejected calls for an independent health watchdog. Under the Greens' plan, nurses, midwives and paramedics would be given a 15% pay rise in a bid to stop workers leaving the system; an issue that's exacerbating staff shortages.

Find our more about the Inquiry here.

Perth's first Aboriginal aged care hub has opened its doors in Mandurah
Advocates have described the lack of services to Indigenous Elders as 'appalling'. With the opening of the Perth's first ever Aboriginal aged care hub in Mandurah, The South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS) hopes to break down the significant barriers.

Read more here.

Youth mental health advocate named Fremantle's Citizen of the Year

A local who co-founded a youth mental health charity in his early twenties has been named Fremantle Citizen of the Year for 2023. Leighton Bradfield, the co-founder of 20talk, was presented with the honour by Fremantle Mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge at an awards ceremony held in the council chambers of the Walyalup Civic Centre. 
20talk is a mental health awareness charity for young people aged 18-30 years. The organisation provides daily content and training to its audience of over 20,000 young adults both face-to-face and online.

Read more here.

Latest Advocacy Campaigns

Cancer Council WA launches new campaign urging people to stop smoking
On Sunday 12 February 2023, Cancer Council WA’s Make Smoking History Program launched a new campaign, Sounds Like,  lobbying for people to listen to the sounds of their bodies associated with smoking.

This confronting new campaign emphasises the common consequences of smoking, ranging from smoker’s cough and breathlessness to bleeding gums.   'The aim of the campaign is to prompt people who smoke to stop and listen to the effects smoking is having on their bodies, so they can make the most of life.' said Melissa Ledger,  Cancer Council WA’s Cancer Prevention and Research Director.

The two new advertisements feature individuals of different ages, backgrounds and genders to appeal to a variety of West Australians.

Watch the videos here.

PHAA (NSW) launch their new campaign 'Vote for Public Health'
The NSW Branch of the Public Health Association of Australia has launched their new 'Vote for Public Health' campaign ahead of the March state election. Their political manifesto identifies five key priorities for NSW that will relieve pressure on the state’s health system by keeping people healthy and out of hospital beds:
  1. Protect young people from the harm of vaping
  2. Promote healthy weight among children by removing junk food advertising on state-owned assets, starting with public transport
  3. Minimise harms of gambling, including including blocking any pre-election agreements with the gaming industry
  4. Act boldly on climate change by banning new coal and gas mines, including expansions
  5. Make prevention a health system priority.
 Read more here.

Parliamentary Inquiries for public health advocacy

National Cultural Policy

On 30 January 2023, the Australian Government released a new National Cultural Policy, Revive: a place for every story, a story for every place. This policy is a five-year plan that seeks to revive Australia's arts, entertainment and cultural sectors.  On 8 February 2023, the Senate referred the National Cultural Policy for inquiry and report by 15 June 2023

The extent and nature of poverty in Australia

On 7 September 2022, the Senate referred an inquiry into the extent and nature of poverty in Australia to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 31 October 2023.  Further detail about the scope of the inquiry is provided in the Terms of Reference.

National trend of school refusal and related matters 

On 27 October 2022 the Senate referred the inquiry into the national trend of school refusal and related matters to the Education and Employment References Committee for inquiry and report by 22 March 2023. On 9 February 2023, the Senate agreed to extend the Committee’s reporting date to 21 June 2023. Submissions were requested by 9 December 2022. The Committee has re-opened submissions to the inquiry and invites submissions, or supplementary submissions, by 22 March 2023. here.

The issue of increasing disruption in Australian school classrooms

On 28 November 2022 the Senate referred “The issue of increasing disruption in Australian school classrooms” to the Education and Employment Reference Committee for inquiry and report by the first sitting day in July 2023.
Submissions are requested by 31 March 2023 here.

Reports & Resources
For advocacy tips and ideas, go to PHAI's Advocacy Toolkit:
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