Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has written to state and territory leaders in a move towards introducing consistent laws to protect children across the country.
Unvaccinated children could be banned from attending childcare centres and preschools across Australia as part of a renewed push by the federal government.
“If you don’t vaccinate your child you are not just putting their own life at risk, but you are putting everyone else’s children at risk,” Mr Turnbull wrote (via 9 News).
Under the national crackdown, childcare centres would also have to make their vaccination rates publicly available, and a loophole allowing parents to formally object will be closed.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government’s tough policy of withholding family payments to parents of unvaccinated children was being supplemented by an “equally tough” policy of “no jab, no play“.
Only children with official medical exemptions would be able to attend centres without being vaccinated, Mr Hunt said. “We have a national duty to strive for 100 percent vaccination,” he said.
“We have a 93 percent national vaccination rate, we have a 94.5 percent vaccination rate for those on family benefits and childcare benefit, so it’s a really critical step forward. There should be no barrier to any parent adopting this measure.”
Last month, it was revealed more than 140,000 parents had been cut off from receiving childcare payments for failing to vaccinate their children under the “no jab, no pay” policy.
Via Fox News: Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has thrown his support behind the plan and on Sunday applauded Mr Turnbull for standing up to the anti-vaccination brigade. But he wants more to be done educating people on the issue. “I think we need to start educating parents … as opposed to some of the crazier views they can read on the internet,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne.
Mr Turnbull’s proposed legislation will be discussed at the next COAG leader’s meeting in June.
A reader poll on the 9 News Website, 7:55pm Sunday 12 March 2017 showed overwhelming support of this initiative.
Further Statistics via ABC News pertaining to existing legislation and adoption:
The Australian Child Health Poll survey of almost 2,000 parents found among the 5 per cent of children who were not up to date with their vaccinations, one in six had been refused care.
The survey also found that 74 per cent of parents believe they should be told how many children are not up to date with vaccines at schools or childcare centres.
Further, seven out of 10 parents said that knowing the number of under-vaccinated children would influence their decision in choosing childcare centres and schools.
While 95 per cent of Australian children are fully vaccinated, the survey said one in three parents held concerns about vaccination.
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