#1061 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 19 April 2015
A cartoon by Michael Leunig apparently supporting mothers who oppose child vaccination has drawn death threats against the artist and his children.
Mr Leunig says the Abbott government’s “punitive approach” toward anti-vaccination parents “is coercive and unjust, and sets an appalling example to society about how those opposed might be universally regarded and treated.”
Writing in The Age in 2011, Mr Leunig argued that
the cartoonist’s task is not so much to be balanced as to give balance, particularly in situations of disproportionate power relationships … to be the dissenting protesting voice that speaks when others cannot or will not.
In my view, the danger to public health from unvaccinated children should override individual choice, but dissenting voices have a right to be heard.
Church leaders have a similar social duty to speak “truth to power” on public issues. The health of a society depends on the degree to which personal freedom and social responsibility are held in balance.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.