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Costello opposed to pneumococcal vaccine.

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HON. SIMON CREAN MP 14th May 2004

Federal Labor Shadow Treasurer


Peter Costello has revealed himself as an opponent to Labor’s plan to fund all recommended childhood vaccines to protect Australian children against deadly diseases.

Under Labor’s plan, announced yesterday, every newborn Australian child will be protected against pneumococcal disease, be vaccinated against chickenpox, and will have their protection against polio increased.

Under pressure from Labor, John Howard’s Health Minister, Tony Abbott, took Labor’s plan to Peter Costello for announcement in this week’s Budget. Peter Costello said no.

Peter Costello set the benchmark for his budget through the Peter Principle:

Look, the principle tha we have is his, after we fund Australia’s defence and security and invest in Australia’s health and education and social system, if we can keep the Budget in surplus, then taxpayers should be entitled to a return.

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Peter Costello, 6 May 2004

Peter Costello’s decision to oppose the funding of vaccines for pneumococcal disease in the Budget is proof that he believes that this is unnecessary for Australian families.

Indeed, yesterday, Peter Costello described Labor’s policies to fund the pneumococcal vaccine and a youth guarantee to ensure that Australia’s young people either learn or earn were nothing but:

… waffle, … clique [sic], [and] … motherhood sta ements… Peter Costello, 13 May 2004

Australians can well do without Peter Costello’s values that oppose the funding of the pneumococcal vaccine and policies to train up our young people.

The only possible outcome now is that either Peter Costello will be rolled by Tony Abbott - just as he was with pollies superannuation - or that the Howard Government will adopt his position of opposing the funding of the pneumococcal vaccine.

Either way, it’s Peter Costello and John Howard’s priorities that remain under question.