Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has today announced the imminent implementation of a new policy, aimed at boosting the immunisation programme.
It revolves around taking away benefits from people who refuse vaccines for their children.
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“If we want our children to be safe, if we want our families to be secure, it’s important that all our youngsters are immunised,” Mr Abbott said.
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The changes – which are due to come into effect in 2016 – mean that parents who don’t vaccinate their children will not be able to claim childcare benefit, childcare rebate or Family Tax Benefit. This could add up to $15,000 per year for some families.
Is this the first step towards mandatory vaccinations, or is Mr. Abbott really just a caring, sharing PM, concerned only for the welfare of the kids?
Australian website 9 News reports:
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has promised a “no jab, no pay” policy will help curb the rising rates of conscientious objection to immunisation.
“We are reducing the grounds on which people can object,” he said in Sydney today.
Under the reforms, which are expected to be supported by the Labor opposition, people who do not have their children vaccinated will only be able to receive benefits if they object on religious or medical grounds.
“This is a very important community objective to raise immunisation rates as high as they can possibly go.”
The changes are set to come into effect from next year.
It will mean parents who fail to immunise their children will no longer be paid the $200-a-week childcare benefit, the $7500-a-year childcare rebate or the $726 Family Tax Benefit A annual supplement.
Objectors often claim vaccinations can cause conditions such as autism in children.
However, medical professionals say there is no evidence vaccines have any negative affect.
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