A publicly funded union campaign has begun in Tasmania against privatisation of Medicare and Centrelink services.
Community and Public Sector Union Tasmanian secretary Madeline Northam said the public had contributed $6000 towards the three week radio advertising campaign.
“We know that Tasmanians hugely value their local Medicare and Centrelink services, and the decent, quality jobs that exist to provide those essential services,” Mr Northam said.
“That’s why these ads are so important, to ensure voters are aware that these services and jobs are under threat.
“We’ve raised thousands of dollars and expect to raise thousands more, because ordinary Australians care deeply about Medicare and Centrelink services.”
Liberal Senator Eric Abetz said the advertisements were “about doing Labor’s bidding for the election and nothing to do with informing the public.”
“This is Mediscare Mark II. The public are now awake to the dishonesty of such campaigns.
“Tasmania has been the beneficiary of sound economic management from Canberra which has seen unemployment fall by over 2 per cent and our economy bounce out of recession.”
Ms Northam said the advertising campaign came at a critical time.
She said voters were willing to “put their money where their mouth was” to save Medicare and Centrelink.
“Tasmanians need to know why vulnerable older people are waiting six months to have their pension applications processed, and why 48 million calls to Centrelink went unanswered last financial year,” she said.
“Centrelink services in Tasmania have been under pressure for some time as critical work is hived off to profit-hungry corporations, and those tentacles have recently reached Medicare for the first time with corporate labour hire in Hobart.”
Senator Abetz said it was right and proper that departmental heads delivered value for taxpayers.
“Services are being enhanced and new jobs created,” he said.