If the Coalition government applied the same criteria used for its Direct Action on climate change to the problem of people not immunisating their children, it would pay the anti-vaccination crowd to have their children jabbed and not act to make their financial position worse off.

Indeed, the Coalition reckons that if they cut family payments and childcare rebates to parents who don’t vaccinate their children, immunisation rates will rise.

Maybe they will. Maybe they wont. I certainly don’t know enough about the reasons why some parents don’t vaccinate their children to know whether that financial incentive will work. After all, the anti-vaccination people seem adamant that they want to have their children exposed to illnesses that might kill them, with financial incentives seemingly not an issue. I suppose there are many different sorts of child neglect.

Just a reminder that the government’s Direct Action policy on climate change pays the worst polluters as it tries to provide an incentive to stop them polluting, rather than making polluters less well off financially via a price on carbon if they continue spew tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.

If the government was consistent on price signals, it could pay the anti-vaccinating parents cash for their children to be immunised in the same way it pays the worst polluters to comply with need to reduce emissions. Surely some of the loonies against vaccination could put aside their objections if, say, $100 cash was on offer to have their child jabbed?

But the problem with this is that some of the 92 per cent or so of parents who voluntarily have their children vaccinated because it is the right thing to do might raise objections of cash going to the lunatic fringe. Some may even refrain from immunisation for their children hoping to cash in on the government’s financial incentive. Which is why, I suppose, cash for jabbing will not work. 

Which begs the question about the incentives of polluters when it comes to the merits of a cash handout in Direct Action versus the punative nature of the carbon price.