The AMSANT Constitution outlines its aims and objectives as follows:
- To alleviate the sickness, suffering and disadvantage, and to promote the health and well-being of Aboriginal people of the NT through the delivery of health services and the promotion of research into causes and remedies for illness and ailment found within the Aboriginal population of the NT.
- To promote ‘Primary Health Care’ which means essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technologies which address the main health problems in the community through preventive, curative and rehabilitative services. It involves the treatment and prevention of disease and injury and the creation of the circumstances for personal and social wellbeing. Such services shall be universally accessible to individuals and families in the community who, through properly–elected representatives, control decision-making and service delivery in the spirit of self-reliance and self-determination. In the absence of control, the community should exercise maximum participation in decision-making and service delivery.
- To serve as a peak body and a forum for the Aboriginal Medical Services in the Northern Territory.
- To lobby for positive changes to the status of the health of Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory and Australia generally.
- To advocate for Aboriginal self-determination and Community Control.
- To represent its Members and Associate Members at any committees, forums, conferences, meetings, inquiries, commissions, seminars, or negotiations directly or indirectly relating to Aboriginal health, and to report back to its Members and Associate Members in respect of such representation.
- To assist Aboriginal groups, including Associate Members, wishing to establish Aboriginal Medical Services to incorporate and to obtain direct funding as Aboriginal Medical Services in their own right, either in areas of the Northern Territory currently without health services, or those with health services which are not Aboriginal Medical Services.
- To assist Aboriginal communities which do not control their health services to expand their participation in determining the policies and priorities of the health services that they do receive.
- To provide a voice on any issue which affects the health and well-being of Aboriginal people represented through the Alliance, including health services, land issues, self-determination, economic development and environmental health.
Each Member, Associate and Affiliate Member specifies one person (usually the Director or Administrator) to officially represent them at AMSANT meetings. Each Member or Associate Member can specify up to three proxies, any one of whom may represent the organisation if the designated representative is unable to attend. Note that while the designated representative (or their proxy) officially represents the Member, Associate or Affiliate Member, each organisation may usually send as many representatives as they need to AMSANT meetings.
General meetings are meetings of all AMSANT Members, Associate and Affiliate Members. They must take place at least once every four months, with an Annual General Meeting held once a year. General Meetings are generally held either in Darwin or in Alice Springs because they are the easiest places for members to get to, though other places may host meetings from time to time. General Meetings are usually held to discuss the current issues facing AMSANT and its members and to determine what action AMSANT needs to take to advance community control and Aboriginal health. At least five members must be present at a General Meeting. Members’ designated representatives may attend, speak and vote at AMSANT. General Meetings; Associate and Affiliate Members’ designated representatives may attend and speak, but not vote. Note that AMSANT ordinarily works on consensus decision making, attempting to get agreement from all representatives on a particular policy or course of action. It is very rare for issues to come down to the vote. Members, (or Associate and Affiliate Members) are free to contact the AMSANT Secretariat if they would like any item placed on the agenda for an AMSANT General Meeting.
No Member or Associate Member may make a public statement on behalf of AMSANT without the permission of the AMSANT Board or the direction of an AMSANT General Meeting.
The AMSANT Board is made up of full AMSANT members who make decisions for AMSANT between the General Meetings.