Important news on vaccine exemptions under federal No Jab No Pay and state No Jab No Play laws

No Jab No Pay (childcare subsidies and family tax benefits)

We have updated our No Jab No Pay guide to reflect new information, and recent or imminent changes to the law.

AAT decision clarified scope and form of medical exemption

A favourable decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in early 2017 may make it easier for some parents to obtain a medical exemption for their children, and have it accepted by the Australian Immunisation Register.

The decision addressed two important questions:

(1) Is the certifying doctor restricted to the narrow range of contraindications to vaccination outlined in the Australian Immunisation Handbook?

No

(2) Is the certifying doctor required to certify medical contraindication only by way of the Australian Immunisation Register Immunisation Medical Exemption form IM011?

No

The Family Assistance Guide (FA Guide), an administrative guideline used by departmental staff to assist decision-making, was updated recently to reflect the AAT finding that a doctor’s letter also meets the evidentiary requirement for medical contraindication to vaccination.

Although the question of whether a doctor is required to disclose the specific reasons why vaccination is medically contraindicated was not considered by the AAT, it is our view that there is nothing in the wording of the legislation which would require a doctor to disclose this information in the certificate/letter.  The AVN is currently seeking legal advice to confirm this view.

For details about the AAT decision and how to apply for a medical exemption, in light of the decision, see:

New exemption for children who react with aggression when faced with vaccination

The Secretary’s decision-making principles, made under section 6 (7) of the Family Assistance Act, were quietly amended on 09 August 2017, with effect from 10 August 2017, to include an additional category of exemption for children who react with aggression when faced with a medical procedure.

This may assist parents of children with significant developmental or behavioural disorders to obtain an exemption from the vaccination requirement.  However, as the list of doctors who will be permitted to approve this exemption will be highly exclusive, we suspect it will be difficult to obtain an exemption under this provision.  Only time will tell in this regard.

For details about this new type of exemption and how to apply, see:

No Jab No Play (NSW)

A reminder that conscientious objection to vaccination, for the purpose of enrolment in childcare and early services, is permitted in New South Wales until the end of this year.

For details see:

No Jab No Play (Vic)

We have updated our Victorian No Jab No Play guide to reflect new information, and recent or imminent changes to the law.

Non-medical exemptions

A reminder that childcare and early education services in Victoria are permitted to enrol certain categories of unvaccinated children who are considered to be disadvantaged or vulnerable, or who are of Aboriginal &/or Torres Strait Islander descent.  The disadvantaged groups include, Health Care Card holders, and children of a multiple birth (triplets or greater).

If a child falls into one of these categories, the parent or guardian will be asked (but not compelled) to produce an immunisation status certificate within 16 weeks of commencing enrolment (the so-called grace period).  If the parent fails to provide the certificate, there is no provision in the legislation which would permit the childcare service to exclude the child once the 16 week grace period expires.

For an exhaustive list of these groups and information about the 16 week grace period see:

No Jab No Play (Qld)

A reminder that childcare and early education services in Queensland have the option – but are not compelled – to refuse to enrol an unvaccinated child, or cancel the existing enrolment of an unvaccinated child.  By all accounts, Queensland childcare service providers have not been exercising the option to exclude unvaccinated children, despite being lawfully able to since the law took effect on 01 January 2016.  See for example, this article.

No Jab No Play (SA)

This ‘No Jab No Play’ Bill is still before the South Australian parliament, which resumes sitting this week.  We will keep you updated on its status.  As advised in a recent media release, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) and the AVN supports a ‘No Form No Play’ law as an alternative to ‘No Jab No Play’.

The AVN continues to lobby for your rights

There is no question that our rights remain under attack in Australia (and many other countries around the world) but we will not give up this fight until the right to conscientiously object to vaccination is reinstated in Australia.

The AVN is run by unpaid volunteers who contribute countless hours of their own time to the cause of vaccine freedom, safety and transparency.  Your support of the AVN via membership is essential for our organisation to continue to help you and others like you in our community. Your membership will enable us to continue to lobby both Federal and State politicians to overturn draconian vaccine laws, forge networks with international pro-choice organisations and individuals, and bring international speakers to Australia.

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