AS Australia's political and health leaders have wrestled with the challenge of rapidly ramping up the rate of COVID vaccination across the country, much of the messaging has focused on the common good.
For months now we have been told that reaching a critical mass of about 80 per cent of all eligible Australians being vaccinated was the most reliable path for all of us out of this pandemic and our best hope of returning to some sense of normality.
Getting vaccinated, we've been told, not only protects us from this insidious disease but also protects those nearest and dearest to us. Vaccinated people are far less likely to be hospitalised if they contract COVID-19 and far less likely to pass it on to others.
Simply, getting vaccinated was the right thing to do.
The message has had some success and, despite significant issues with the handling of the rollout and ongoing hesitancy for some when it comes to the AstraZeneca vaccine, millions of Australians have received either their first or second jab so far - but we remain well short of where we want to be.
And that's why we should not quickly discount opposition leader Anthony Albanese's plan to get more people vaccinated more quickly: a $300 handout to every Australian who is fully vaccinated by December.
Mr Albanese was doing the rounds of all major media outlets on Tuesday morning as he spruiked the plan, the first time in months that we have seen such a charm offensive from the Labor leader.
And why not? The pandemic has made it difficult for all opposition leaders across the country to find any time in the spotlight but here Mr Albanese had a plan that was simple, pragmatic (not always a term associated with the Labor Party) and, potentially, very effective.
At a cost of around $6 billion, the plan is a drop in the ocean compared to what the pandemic has cost us so far and what lockdowns are costing us every week, and local economies across the country would happily welcome such a boost.
It's not entirely new territory: while our country has not paid people to be vaccinated before the federal government has withheld childcare payments for unvaccinated children.
While Mr Albanese says the prime minister should put politics aside and embrace the plan, the truth is this is a very shrewd political play. The fact it might actually work makes it so much the better.
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