||Issue No. 323||08 September 2006|
Interview: Australia’s Most Wanted
Industrial: The Fox and the Contractor
Unions: Industrial Wasteland
International: Two Bob's Worth
Economics: National Interest
Environment: The Real Dinosaur
History: Only In Spain?
Review: Clerk Off
Catch a Tube
Medibank Sale Looking Crook
This week staff in Centrelink were warned that they faced disciplinary action if they distributed information from the Save Medibank alliance.
According to a Centrelink management e-mail, staff who "...circulate comments of a political nature...such as sending comments criticising government policy...would be in breach of the Australian Public Service code of conduct."
The code, which carries a maximum penalty of termination, can also result in fines and demotions.
The heavy handed move to silence staff follows a parliamentary report last week that questioned the legal basis of the sale.
The report questioned whether the Government was legally entitled to sell Medibank at all, claiming a case could be made that the health insurer actually belonged its three million members.
Talkback host Alan Jones joined a growing chorus of media critics describing the treatment of policy holders as "financially unjust."
"Why are we privatising?" he asked.
Community opposition to the sale is growing, according to CPSU National Secretary and Save Medibank spokesperson Stephen Jones.
"More than a thousand people have completed our survey about the Medibank sale in the past week and the results indicate there is deep opposition to privatisation and real anger about the lack of consultation," Jones said.
"96% of people we have surveyed no not think the Government has not made an adequate case for the selling of Medibank," he said.
The final litmus test could come at the ballot box, Jones predicted. "So far 84% of respondents say that any sale of Medibank would affect their vote in a Federal election."
Find out more on the campaign to save Medibank by visiting http://www.savemedibank.net.au
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