SUBJECT/S: Polls; vaccinations; the Abbott government’s budget chaos



KIERAN GILBERT: We’re joined now by Labor frontbencher Michelle Rowland. Michelle, your reaction to this Newspoll? I guess you’ll be focusing more on the Fairfax poll which has the Labor Party doing a fair bit better.

MICHELLE ROWLAND, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURALISM, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: I don’t know how useful it is to focus on either quite frankly, Kieran. I mean, we’re barely 18 months into a government, so not even halfway yet. I think the focus of Labor needs to continue to be ongoing consultation that we are doing with various aspects of the community, the business community, various cohorts, interest groups, to make sure that we develop the best policies so we’re best equipped to go to the next election with a good set of policies that have been founded in evidence.

GILBERT: On a few other issues just to get across quickly if we can, the vaccination movement by the Government yesterday to rein in welfare and spending for families that don’t vaccinate their children. Do you welcome that?

ROWLAND: I do welcome it. I think it also needs to be recognised that this is a bipartisan issue and it’s one that Bill Shorten was talking about some time ago as well. I’m not one to tell people how to raise their children but on the issue of vaccination I’ll make an exception and I actually take strong objection to people not vaccinating their children. I have a daughter in childcare and I know in that childcare centre, and I think in a lot of other centres, you have to show your vaccination evidence before you can be enrolled there. But there are a number of challenges with this too and I’ve heard some commentary from some of the health workers in this area. Some of the highest rates of non-vaccination are in fact some of the wealthier parts of Australia, for example some of the eastern suburbs of Sydney have some of the lowest vaccination rates and these are areas that are probably not very welfare dependant, at most they’re probably getting the childcare rebate - that’s if they’re in a childcare centre, if they’ve got a nanny they won’t. So it’s a big challenge.

GILBERT: It certainly is quite extraordinary the higher rates, well, lower rates of vaccination are in those areas when you’d think they would be better informed. Let’s finish off now with a look at the economy. The iron ore price, the slide continues. The Government really constrained by the economic reality of the declining mining boom.

ROWLAND: Well reality has hit home and Joe Hockey for all those years, the hypocrisy of saying for all those years it wasn’t a revenue problem it was a spending problem, and today he realises that where there comes boom it is followed by lower prices as well and they haven’t factored this in. I even look at the comments of Jeff Kennett who said for the last two terms of the Howard Government their rate of spending didn’t bank the savings there, so this is a mess of the Liberals’ own making.

GILBERT: Michelle Rowland, as always, thanks so much for your time.

ROWLAND: My pleasure.