Should social work become a registered profession? An examination of the views of 15 Australian social workers

Meghan Tangney, Philip Mendes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In contrast to most Western jurisdictions, social work in Australia is not currently a registered profession. However, in late 2021, the South Australian Parliament passed a Bill to register social workers in that state. This follows a long-standing but previously unsuccessful campaign by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) to attain social work registration at a national level. Yet, to date, there has been no empirical research on the views of social workers—whether members or the AASW or not—concerning the merits of registration. This paper presents the findings of a qualitative study of the views of 15 social workers regarding registration. The findings suggest that the profession holds diverse views concerning the potential benefits or harms emanating from registration. Some conclusions are drawn regarding priorities for future research including particularly the impact of registration on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social workers and service users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-359
Number of pages17
JournalAustralian Journal of Social Issues
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW)
  • registration
  • social workers
  • South Australian Bill

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