Michael Leunig, who was declared a national living treasure in 1999, is a popular Melbourne cartoonist frequently published in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald newspapers.
But some of his fans have expressed disappointment after The Age published this cartoon in today’s paper.
Leunig, a known anti-vaxxer, took a stab at the Victoria government after Health Minister Jill Hennessy announced she would introduce legislation requiring children to be fully vaccinated before they attend childcare or kindergarten.
The proposed law also closes a loophole that makes an exemption for parents who choose not to vaccinate their children on the grounds they are conscientious objectors. Children who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will remain exempt.
Titled, “FACIST EPIPHANY,” the cartoon reappropriates Michelangelo’s ‘The Creation of Adam’ and depicts a hand pointing a needle at another hand. “The God of Science grants politicians the divine right to enforce mass medication among babies and small children,” it reads.
This isn’t the first time Mr Leunig has created a cartoon with an anti-vaccination message.
In April he created this cartoon criticising mothers who chose to vaccinate their children.
“Some mothers do ‘ave ’em,” he wrote above the image.
“They have maternal instincts that contradict what science thinks. They stand up to the state,” he continued.
“A mother’s love may be as great as any new vaccine that man has ever seen.”
When seeking comment from Mr Leunig, news.com.au was directed to an email response the 70-year-old gave to a woman who complained about the cartoon.
“My cartoon was not about the value of vaccines — it is about the punitive deprivation and coercive authoritarian force being increasingly and systematically applied by Federal and State governments to parents who want choice in the matter,” he wrote.
“There is a human rights issue here that is deeply disturbing and worth talking about in a clear-headed way that is free of hostility and insult.”
Social media users have expressed their disappointment at Mr Leunig’s position.
— Sean James Murphy (@SJMtweets) August 18, 2015
And Michael Leunig is an anti-vaxxer, aaaaaaaand faith in humanity lost (again).
— Covette (@SaraIsSkyBlue) August 19, 2015
Finding out Michael Leunig is anti-vacc is like that time Chris Evans was sexist. Yr favs are a big bummer.
— Ellie | 김주혜 (@irrellievant) August 19, 2015
The Age’s news director Mark Forbes told news.com.au the newspaper doesn’t rule out covering any issues, with the exception of offensive racist or sexist material. “Cartoons are similar to commentary, they represent the opinion of the cartoonist,” he wrote in an email.
Mr Forbes said The Age has a clear editorial position in favour of vaccination.
“As an institution we disagree with Leunig, but we will defend his right to hold those views.
“This is not unusual, The Age has run columns and cartoons denying the existence of global warming, although we believe the views expressed are profoundly misplaced.”
Children not vaccinated against illnesses such as measles and whooping cough put other children and the greater community at risk, health experts say.
“What we don’t accept is those who go around myth-making about the risks of vaccination,” Health Minister Jill Hennessy said on Sunday.
“The public health and wellbeing of the broader community has to take precedence against the anti-vaccination movement.”
Despite a vaccination rate of 92 per cent for whooping cough in Victoria, the number of reported cases has increased by more than 1000 since the previous year.
“Ultimately it is a parents call in terms of how they respond, but we cannot continue to see the alarming rise in diseases like whooping cough and measles, and not respond,” Ms Hennessy said. She is confident the “no jab, no play” policy will provide an incentive for parents to make sure their children are vaccinated.
- Thousands of cornavirus conspiracy theorists gather in London: Huge crowd of anti-vaxxers who say pandemic is a 'New World Order' HOAX join Jeremy Corbyn's brother and David Icke in Trafalgar Square
- Inside the Weird Pro-QAnon German Group Behind RFK Jr.’s Latest Anti-Vaxx Stunt
- Russia's Covid vaccine might actually WORK: Moscow scientists claim 'Sputnik V' jab that stunned scientists when Putin gave it world-first approval proved safe and effective in early clinical trials
- Russia Publishes First Evidence Coronavirus Vaccine Works, Weeks After Approving Sputnik V
- The battle to see a doctor: More than HALF of Britons have struggled to get a GP appointment since Covid hit UK - as NHS figures reveal 85% plunge in consultations compared to last year
- Backlog of cancer patients awaiting treatment should clear 'within a matter of months', says Health Secretary Matt Hancock as he claims U-turns are because of the 'unprecedented' crisis
- Matt Hancock warns a 'worst case scenario' could see the UK go back into nationwide lockdown or 'very extensive' local restrictions this winter
- 01.00 Coronavirus UK latest news – Up to 85,000 excess winter deaths, warns SAGE, as lockdown eased in Northwest – LIVE
- Trump paints Biden as would-be ‘destroyer of American greatness’
- NHS worker under investigation after claiming coronavirus is 'load of b******s'
- Key questions in final hours before Democratic debate deadline
- ‘One big lie:’ 38,000 people rally in Berlin against Covid-19 rules
Cartoonist Michael Leunig compares mandatory vaccination to fascism in anti-vax cartoon have 926 words, post on www.news.com.au at August 20, 2015. This is cached page on VietNam Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.