National

TV campaign to save public service jobs

Australia's main public service union has launched a TV campaign in an attempt to stop the privatisation of Medicare.

The advertisement, which will be seen on Canberra television sets from Tuesday before being rolled out across regional areas, not only raises concerns about job security but also tries to broaden its audience by raising questions about data security. 

"They're selling off my job," one young woman says to the camera.

"They're selling off my private health records," says another woman holding a child. 

Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood said the Abbott Government had been privatising "by stealth" and warned the outsourcing of public services is a major threat to Australian jobs, services and data privacy.

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"It is the thin end of the wedge and signals the beginning of the end of Medicare as we know it," Ms Flood said. 

"By sneakily putting the Medicare payments system on the block the Abbott government has avoided any real public scrutiny.

"There is widespread community support for Medicare and very tangible unease and anger about the Abbott government's relentless attacks on it."

This latest phase escalates the CPSU campaign which will also include lobbying of MPs, workplace activities, local and community actions.

"The Government is trying to tell us that outsourcing the payments system is just part of a computer systems upgrade," Ms Flood said.

"But upgrading an IT system is hardly a reason for selling the whole thing off. Just because you need a new set of tyres doesn't mean that you have to sell off your car."

The CPSU's ad was created by communications consultant and Gruen Transfer regular Dee Madigan. 

In August the government started searching for private sector players to take over $29 billion in Medicare and pharmaceutical benefits currently undertaken by the Department of Human Services.

The union said 5600 public service jobs would be directly affected. 

Labor's Doug Cameron has said the privatisation could lead to public service jobs being sent to Asia

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