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Wednesday, 6 December 2006
Page: 150

Ms BURKE (9:48 AM) —Given the closeness to Christmas, I want to wish a merry Christmas to all, particularly to those in my electorate of Chisholm; I also hope that they are safe on the roads over this busy period. I also want to express my thanks to all the staff in the parliament, who do such a terrific job all the time and go unnoticed.

Today I want to use this opportunity to say, ‘Congratulations and well done,’ to my previous employer, the Finance Sector Union. The Finance Sector Union has run a fantastic campaign recently that has ensured that 485 jobs will remain in Australia. The Prime Minister has recently been going on a lot about exporting jobs if we sign the Kyoto protocol. He has made much of how we would be just sending jobs overseas. He has not mentioned outsourcing once in any of these discussions.

Outsourcing is an issue facing workers within the finance and IT industries in Australia in a very significant way. It is an area which faces many jobs being exported out of our country. But recently the Finance Sector Union had a victory over Westpac, which announced that it will not be sending jobs offshore. This has been a campaign run by the workers at Westpac and by the union. Mr Paul Schroder, the national secretary of the Finance Sector Union, said:

This is a victory for workers, communities and customers across Australia who stood up for workers rights and have saved jobs and sensitive data from being sent off shore.

Paul Schroeder said:

... Westpac should now reject the offshoring model of cutting wages and conditions in all its operations and reap the reputation benefits of investing in Australian jobs and skills.

“Westpac’s decision to invest in Australian jobs and protect the privacy of their customers will prove good for their business, their workers and their customers.

I say ‘hear, hear’ to that, because one of the issues that is involved in this issue of offshoring finance jobs, particularly within the area that Westpac was looking at and which others have explored, is the issue of customer privacy. It is not just the jobs that are going offshore; it is your personal data information. It is your bank account details, it is your MasterCard and Visa card details, and they are being sent off to countries whose privacy legislation is not as rigorous as ours.

A report by Deloittes suggests that we could typically see up to 500,000 jobs being exported from Australia, and being taken with them is your vital information, your privacy. What we know is that typically the receiving countries of jobs sent offshore do not have the privacy and data protection laws that exist in Australia. The impact is frightening. The data of 120,000 Visa and MasterCard holders was stolen from a United States based outsourcing company and misused. In India, we have now seen that you can buy people’s data and that this can be sold to the highest bidder, and individuals can then use this information.

There are two issues at stake here: Australian jobs and Australian skills. They should be kept here. We should be protecting them. We should be congratulating Westpac on this decision not to send these jobs offshore. I ask all others in the finance area to follow the lead of Westpac. (Time expired)