Labor leader Kevin Rudd seemed less than enthusiastic about his health spokesperson Nicola Roxon’s war on fast food ads when he spoke to the meeja yesterday

“When it comes to the proposals which have been aired today, there is no silver bullet to fix the problem but you’ve got to be realistic about practical measures to deal with the obesity challenge,” he said.

“Ultimately these are decisions for parents. I accept that, but the role of government is to do what you can in getting in behind to make sure that the best decisions are being made for kids.”

Well, exactly. The fact remains that if you’re fat or if your kids are, it’s probably because you’re also lazy – too lazy to exercise, too lazy to cook and eat properly and too lazy to fight marketing.

And talking of lazy, you can’t get much more intellecutally lazy than Roxon.

I could not believe that Shrek is used to sell everything from yoghurt to chocolate eggs to cheese crackers,” she said.

Really, Nicola? I would have though that anyone who had ventured into a supermarket or fast food outlet sometime in the last quarter century would have seen something similar. Perhaps you should get out more. Or perhaps there’s more.

Roxon, you see, has form on the issues. Back in April, she warned the drought could worsen the epidemic of childhood obesity:

We saw what happened with bananas when there were problems up in our north, and this could affect a vast range of fruit and vegetables. Most people don’t (eat enough fruit and vegetables) and that’s a real problem for us. What it often is replaced with is high fat and high sugar and salt foods. We are not good enough as it is and if the prices go up it’s going to be a real problem for people trying to do the right thing.

She added “Unfortunately we don’t see the government looking at any action that will make a difference” but still went on to say “[Kevin Rudd] is obviously right, we know the prime minister can’t make it rain but there are a lot of things that should be done.

“If fruit and vegetables do go up and are priced out of range for working families, that’s going to be something we should seriously look at.”

Well, actually, short of adopting some of Robert Mugabe’s spectacularly successful price control strategies, it’s actually hard to see what governments might be able to do.

Still, there are some immediate steps that could be taken.

Rather than banning fast food ads, we could ban Emily’s List, if Roxon represents the standard of its product.

Peter Fray

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