Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph, Australia’s biggest-selling newspaper, has campaigned vigorously for stopping childcare rebates to parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids.
A report that Kevin Rudd planned to announce something very similar today gets a muted welcome on page 10 of the paper this morning, along with a note from editor Mick Carroll explaining:
Kevin Rudd’s support of our No Jab, No Play campaign is welcome but given he’s unlikely to win the election, it’s a little too late. We want the government to deny the 50 per cent childcare rebate to all parents who deny life-saving vaccines to their children.
Tony Abbott, it’s up to you – vaccine refusers must be penalised.
As the paper accurately sees it, given the direction of the polls and the momentum behind Tony Abbott and the Coalition, promises from the Rudd camp are now of limited value because they will, in all likelihood, never be implemented.
There’s a growing sense of doom surrounding the Rudd campaign. There are three weeks to go but he’s running out of time to take back momentum from Tony Abbott. In political circles the central talking point is increasingly around the scale of Labor’s likely loss rather than the overall outcome.
News Corp Australia’s papers have made no secret of their opposition to giving Labor another go, and voters, according to all the published polling in the past 10 days, including in key marginal electorates, agree.
So it’s reasonable to expect the coalition should start explaining its position on key areas of community concern like the vaccination rate.
After all, as things stand, a deadly measles outbreak next year would be on their watch.
Update: Right at time of publication, there’s a report that Tony Abbott says he agrees with the Rudd proposal “in principle”.
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