Union launches TV attack ads against Medicare outsourcing

A still from CPSU ad campaign ‘Stop Medicare Sell Off’. Image supplied.

Gruen Planet panellist Dee Madigan is behind the Community and Public Sector Union’s (CPSU) new TV advertising campaign where the union accuses Prime Minister Tony Abbott of the “backdoor privatisation of Medicare”.

The CPSU engaged Ms Madigan, who heads Madigan Communications, to come up with an advertisement and it resulted in an austere 30-second black and white YouTube video. The black and white short has a moody, atmospheric stormy background while in the foreground ‘medical staff’ and ordinary people talk to camera, before morphing into one other.

The new advertising campaign, which will be shown on television sets in Canberra from today, purports to show the impact of outsourcing $29 billion in Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and Veterans’ health payments, and raises concerns about job and data security.

“They’re selling off the services relied on by Aussies,” a doctor says to camera.

“They’re selling off my private health records,” says a woman, holding a baby.

National Secretary Nadine Flood accused the Abbott Government of ‘privatisation by stealth’ and warned the outsourcing of public services was a major threat to Australian jobs, public services and data privacy.

“Selling off the payments system for Medicare, Veterans and Pharmaceutical Benefits is the first step in this Government’s agenda to privatise key public services. It is the thin end of the wedge and signals the beginning of the end of Medicare as we know it,” Ms Flood said.

“There is widespread community support for Medicare and very tangible unease and anger about the Abbott Government’s relentless attacks on it.”   She said the government was downplaying outsourcing health payments to the private sector as “part of a computer systems upgrade” but this was a red herring.   “By sneakily putting the Medicare payments system on the block the Abbott Government has avoided any real public scrutiny,” Ms Flood said.

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