Australia mulls ‘No Jab, No Pay’ law to punish parents who refuse to vaccinate their children

By @diplomatist10 on
Measles Vaccination
A measles vaccine is seen at Venice Family Clinic in Los Angeles, California February 5, 2015. Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

The Australian government will soon take a strong stand against parents who do not vaccinate their children. This is because many of the issues involved in erratic child immunisation are the result of parents shirking their responsibility. On Wednesday, the government said it will pass a law to withhold child care payments from families that do not immunise their children.

The “No Jab, No Pay” bill in Parliament seeks to take away the “conscientious objector” provision that allowed parents to draw full government benefits despite refusing to immunise the children, the Associated Press reported.  

Spurting numbers

In Australia, parental objection has been causing a spurt in the number of unvaccinated children below the age of seven. The numbers have increased by more than 24,000 over the past decade to touch 39,000 in 2015, reveals government data.

“The choice made by some families not to vaccinate their children is not supported by public policy or medical research, nor should such action be supported by taxpayers in the form of family payments,” social services minister Scott Morrison told Parliament.

When the law takes effect from Jan.1, 2016, there will be substantial loss for the affected families. They will end up losing AU$15,000 per child per year in tax and child care benefits if the children are not yet vaccinated.

Anti-vaccination child care

Meanwhile, a New South Wales mother is in protest against the proposed law. She has announced the starting of a childcare centre to take care of unvaccinated children. Juanita “Wanda” Halden said the desire to open Australia’s first anti-vaccination childcare centre at Northern Rivers in rural New South Wales was triggered by the government’s "human rights violations" under the garb of accelerating immunisation rate among children.

According to Halden, the centre will be the answer to the "No Jab, No Play and No Pay" policy, which also disallows unvaccinated children from attending a day-care or school along with children who have been vaccinated.

In a Facebook manifesto about her project, Haden said the following.  

“I am a woman who answers to the creator — not corporation, Therefore I am the highest authority when it comes to making the decisions concerned with my body or that of my property 'my child'. I also value my ability to discern, research and understand the risks associated with my choices. Do not try to sway me; or my rights. You will fail,” Haden wrote.

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