The first thing you need to know is that in Australia, vaccination is not compulsory. It doesn’t matter what your doctor, school principal, mother in law or neighbour say – no school is legally allowed to discriminate against a child because of their vaccination status, and if they do try, you can make a human rights complaint against them.
Unfortunately with the No Jab No Pay laws coming in to force on the 1st January 2016 the government can now withhold Child Care Rebate and all Child Care Benefits (including Grandparent Child Care Benefit, Special Child Care Benefit or Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance), the only affected family tax benefit is the Family Tax Benefit A end-of-year annual supplement (presently $726 per child). The other FTB Part A and Part B benefits are NOT affected.
You can still get a medical exemption but this has also been tightened to only accept anaphylactic reactions to individual vaccines or vaccine components, natural immunity, and temporary exemptions are also given to immunocompromised children. A 2017 Administrative Appeals Tribunal has upheld the right of an appropriately qualified doctor or specialist to certify in writing without using the extremely restrictive Human Services medical exemption form, which enabled a child to get their payments reinstalled see here
All Medicare and Centrelink offices as well as every GP and council vaccination clinic are required to have this form available, but they rarely do so feel free to click the link above and download and print the form yourself so you can bring it with you when you go to get it signed.
The significance of conscientious objection to vaccination and what it’s loss means to us all…
In the late 1990’s, the Australian government was considering making parents prove their knowledge of the vaccination debate prior to allowing them to not vaccinate their children. This was early days for the AVN, but we found out about this legislation after it had already passed through the House of Representatives and just days before the debate started in the Senate. We mobilised parents from the Gold Coast and Northern NSW, raised $2,000 for airfares and the help of a lobbyist and photocopied an information pack for every single Senator which we hand-delivered during our time in Canberra.
We met with dozens of Senators and Representatives and were helped greatly by Democrats Senators, the Greens party and several Labor MPs including 2 who were also doctors!
The outcome was that we were able to get 2 out of 3 amendments to the Childcare Payments Bill passed through parliament and as a result, parents who had chosen not to vaccinate would not be required to prove anything to anyone in order to access the same government entitlements as those parents who vaccinated fully.
This was a huge step forward for parental rights and as a result of the action of our small, membership and donation-driven organisation, a generation of Australians have been protected against draconian laws which would have subjected them to discrimination and financial penalties.
So when you feel that only large groups and rich people can change society for the better, remember the saying by Margaret Mead:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Who would have thought that we would be called on to fight the same battle yet again in 2015?
A small group of committed individuals answered the call, including the AVN President Tasha David. We went to Canberra several times during 2015 and successfully lobbied the Senators to give us a Senate inquiry in to the No Jab No Pay bill.
Unfortunately, with the passing of the No Jab No Pay law in November 2015 all of our hard work was undone and the government showed it’s contempt for the 99% of the 3000 submissions sent in to the Senate inquiry speaking against the bill, including our expert witness Dr Lucija Tomljenovic and submissions by Dr Tetyana Obukhanych PhD and Dr Suzanne Humphries.
They took away our conscientious objection exemption including the religious exemption and have given themselves the power to withhold childcare payments and the family tax benefit A supplement payment from families who do not fully vaccinate
The government has made it that only the rich have a true choice when it comes to vaccination in Australia, even though they are the ones who have the lowest vaccination rates. But then this was about making a political point at the expense of loving and well informed low income parents in Australia, not about improving the health of our children.
But if you thought that this is over you could not be more wrong, that is the thing with committed individuals they never give up. Please help us to help you and fight coercive and discriminatory vaccination laws in Australia, join the AVN or volunteer your skills, time and energy to help us become a social force who has the power to make change happen!