The Guardian 5 September, 2007

ANF launches advertising campaign

The Australian Nursing Federation (ANF)* has launched a four-week TV advertising campaign outlining the negative impact of the Howard government’s industrial relations laws on nurses. The ads will be shown in all states and territories except West Australia.

Gerardine Kearney, Assistant Federal Secretary of the ANF said:

"If WorkChoices is endorsed at the federal election many of the vital rights and entitlements of nurses, including their overtime and shift penalty rates, will be up for grabs and at the whim of the employer.

"The ANF has embarked on this campaign in order to highlight the negative impact of the Howard Government’s IR Laws on the recruitment and retention of nurses and the inevitable effect on health care in Australia".

The union says there have been a number of recent attempts to impose non-union collective agreements on nurses in aged care and the private hospital sectors, despite the fact that the majority of nurses in those facilities want a union collective agreement.

Many nurses in the public sector already work in the federal system and are therefore exposed to WorkChoices.

Even those nurses protected under their State IR systems may have that protection stripped away as the Howard government has made it painfully clear it can override states and is now seeking advice on bringing those nurses into the federal IR system.

"The Mersey hospital debacle [in Tasmania] is clearly a test case for a Federal takeover of state hospitals. This action by the government has sent a cold chill through nurses who understand that such action threatens the very things that keep them nursing in an already strained environment."

The Howard Government has given the ANF no choice.

"If nurses are without power in their workplace; if their working conditions are such that they cannot deliver safe care; if nurses no longer find the nursing profession an attractive place to be; then it is the people who need nursing care, the Australian community, who will suffer the most."

The ANF is calling on the public to support nurses and "Vote to Save Nurses" from the Howard Government’s industrial relations laws.

*The ANF represents 150,000 members and is the professional and industrial voice for nurses and midwives in Australia.

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