PARENTS who philosophically object to giving their children lifesaving vaccines could be prevented from accessing welfare payments and childcare subsidies.
Social Services Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed the Abbott Government is reviewing a loophole which continues to allow mums and dads who refuse to immunise their children against deadly diseases on personal or philosophical grounds the right to claim family tax benefits and childcare rebates.
Under the national immunisation program, the government requires all parents to vaccinate their children in order to claim generous family payments and childcare benefits, but there are exemptions available.
The proposed polcy is about to change this. The move was designed to prevent some parents from opting against vaccinating their children, which compromises the overall immunity of the population and puts other youngsters at risk.
This is the proposal announced today, to “encourage” more parents to immunise their children.
I strongly object to the stance proposed by the Australian Federal Governmennt, whereby they intended refuse welfare payments and childcare subsidies to parents who object to immunising their children.
These people who are likely to belong to a lower socio-economic group, are already “doing it tough”, and stand to be further penalised by the punitive action suggested by the Federal government.
Those persons in upper classes or more financially well-off will be least affected by this decision, as they will have the financial wherewithal to seek alternative arrangements, and of course they are less dependent on government hand-outs of child support.
Australia enjoys one of the highest vaccination rates in the world with rates of over 90% compliance.
If the fedral government wants to increase this already high compliance rate then perhaps increased public health education explaining the benefits of vaccination is a better vehicle to drive this change, rather than financially penalising those families who can least afford it.
I am advised today (16/04/2015) that members of the Church of Scientology in Australia will be exempt from the new vaccination legislation! Why is that? It should then follow that members of the Catholic or Anglican Churches in Australia should be afforded the same exemption. If it’s good enough for the members of one church to be exempt, then surely it’s good for another! Will this happen? Not likely!