About our National Advocates Program
A significant component of our advocacy work is delivered through our National Advocates Program under the stewardship of our National Advocates Program Coordinator.
The National Advocates Program links to the work of the State MS Societies, special interest groups and individuals through a network of volunteer Advocates, who lobby and advocate for the MS community, helping to raise awareness of multiple sclerosis and its impact. The Advocates support the work of MS Australia including adding to the lobbying of Federal Government through regular meetings with local members of Parliament.
The advocacy work of MS Australia exists on many levels including:
Individual advocacy: supporting people to understand and exercise their rights. Individual advocacy may be informal and undertaken by family and friends or structured advocacy provided at a local level by state based organisations. It focuses on changing the situation of one person: protecting their rights; facilitating control over their situation; improving access to services; assisting with negotiating the health and disability systems and to make services accountable ensuring there is transparency in their actions and decisions.
Systemic advocacy: to make systemic changes to improve the situation of a whole group of people who share a similar issue, such as people with MS. This is achieved by encouraging changes to the law, government and service provider policies and community attitudes.
Collaborative advocacy: people with MS share many of the same issues as others who may be affected by disability or other disease processes, such as a progressive motor neurological disease. MS Australia seeks opportunities to work collaboratively with other representative organisations to increase the voice and profile of advocacy for people with MS. For example, MS Australia is an active member of the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) and other peak bodies in Australia such as the Consumers Health Forum, the Australian Council of Social Services, National Disability Services and the Neurological Alliance Australia to advance the interests of people affected by MS.