The government is quite right to draw attention to Julia Gillard’s alleged links with a student organisation that had ties with the Communist Party.

Quite clearly, she has kept the wrong company at a formative time in her life, and by virtue of this is quite unfit to hold public office. Ms Gillard should really do the right thing and bow out now.

Similarly, the government might decide it will accept no further editorial assistance from The Australian and the rest of the Murdoch press, nor will it spend a single advertising dollar there. After all, a young Rupert Murdoch flirted with the Communist Party in his Geelong Grammar schooldays. Clearly, not a person whose views can be trusted.

And then there is the vexed question of the Young Liberals, of which several senior Liberals, including the Prime Minister, were once members.

Now a certain Bill Hartley – known to his detractors as “Baghdad Bill”, and for many years left-wing secretary of the ALP in Victoria – was in his young days in Perth a Young Lib.

Again, what contagion did he spread to his fellow YLs, and can we be absolutely certain that they no longer carry it? No, we cannot. They are clearly all under suspicion.

We must be thankful that at last some common sense has entered this hitherto irrelevant campaign, and the government has to be congratulated for its courage in raising such a pertinent issue.