Commonwealth

During the course of 2015, the federal parliament passed draconian legislation which gave effect to a paradigm shift in vaccine policy in Australia.  From 01 January 2016, and for the first time, those with a deeply held secular or religious belief against vaccination will no longer be eligible for certain family payments.

An information page for parents summarsing the impacts of this legislation is available here.

This page – which is divided into four sections – is intended to be a comprehensive resource containing all relevant documents pertaining to both ‘No Jab No Pay’ and the Australian Immunisation Register legislation, including explanatory memoranda, parliamentary digests, committee reports, and Hansard.

Section (1) provides downloads of all documents pertaining to Social Services Legislation Amendment (No Jab, No Pay) Bill 2015.

Section (2) provides downloads of all documents pertaining to Australian Immunisation Register Bill 2015 and Australian Immunisation Register (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2015.

Section (3) provides links to current legislation and associated legislative instruments.

Section (4) provides historical links to other relevant legislation.

Section (1) – Social Services Legislation Amendment (No Jab, No Pay) Bill 2015

The ‘No Jab No Pay’ Bill amended A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (Cth) and received Royal Assent on 26 November 2015.  Its operation commenced on 1 January 2016.

Summary of amendment

1) The immunisation requirement – for the purpose of eligibility to Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate and Family Tax Benefit A (FTB-A) supplement – was extended to all children under the age of 20 years, and as such, even applies to children who have legal capacity to decline vaccination independent of their parents, as well as children who are legal adults.

Specific to the FTB-A supplement, a child must meet the immunisation requirements each financial year up to the age of 20 years, not just in the year the child turns one, two or five.

Specific to the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate, all children up to the age of 20 years must meet the immunisation requirements, not just those children under seven years of age.  As such, even after-school care for older children is caught under the law.

2) The general right to an exemption from the immunisation requirement on the basis of conscientious objection (secular or religious) was abolished.

3) The Minister for Social Services’ power to exempt a class of persons from the immunisation requirement by legislative instrument was abolished.  Prior to the amendment, the Church of Christ Scientist, was exempt from the immunisation requirement under this Ministerial power (formerly section 7 of A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999).  See repealed legislative instruments below.

4) The only remaining exemptions from the immunisation requirement is when a general practitioner has certified that vaccination would be medically contraindicated or a child has a natural immunity; when the child is a participant in a registered vaccine study; when a vaccine is temporarily unavailable; when the child has been vaccinated overseas; or when the Secretary of the Department of Social Services (DSS) or the Department of Education and Training has determined that the child meets the immunisation requirement in accordance with decision-making principles set out in a legislative instrument.

‘No Jab No Pay’ Bill

Download the Bill as passed by both houses of parliament

Legislative instruments repealed by ‘No Jab No Pay’ as in force as at 31 December 2015

Child Care Benefit (Vaccination Schedules) (DEEWR) Determination 2013

Family Assistance (Meeting the Immunisation Requirements) (FaHCSIA) Determination 2012

Family Assistance (Exemption from Immunisation Requirements) (FaHCSIA) Determination 2012

Child Care Benefit (Immunisation Requirements) (DEEWR) Determination 2013

Explanatory Memorandum & Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

Download Explanatory Memorandum & Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

Parliamentary Digest

Download Parliamentary Digest

Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights

All Bills which come before the parliament are scrutinised by this committee for their compatibility with human rights instruments as required by the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

On 13 October 2015, the committee reported that it had identified significant human rights incompatibilities in the No Jab No Pay Bill, and was requesting a response from the Minister. When the Bill was finally passed by both houses on 23 November 2015, the Minister had not issued a response.  The section of the report covering this Bill commences on page 31.

Download official Human Rights Committee Report

Senate Inquiry

The ‘No Jab No Pay’ Bill was referred to the Senate Community Affairs Committee on 17 September 2015 as a direct result of successful lobbying by AVN representatives and other pro-choice advocates.

Download AVN’s submission to the Senate Inquiry into No Jab No Pay

Various medical groups, academics, medical practitioners, and a law body made submissions opposing the Bill.  A sample of these can be downloaded below.

Download The Public Health Association of Australia’s submission

Download The Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ submission

Download Associate Professor Julie Leask’s submission

Download Professor Paul Ward’s submission

Download Dr Mark Donohoe’s submission

Download Law Institute of Victoria’s submission

Only 550 – of the more than 2,500 submissions received by the Senate Inquiry – were published on the parliament website.  The vast majority opposed the bill.  These are available on the parliament website.

Public Hearing

The AVN was invited to give evidence at the public hearing held in Brisbane on 02 November 2015.   We were ably represented at the hearing by our founder, and former President Meryl Dorey, former President Greg Beattie, and Canadian vaccine expert and researcher Lucija Tomljenovic.

Download the official transcript of the public hearing

Senate Committee Report

Despite the Senate Inquiry having received over 2,500 submissions opposing the ‘No Jab No Pay’ Bill, the committee recommended the Bill be passed.  Its report was tabled in parliament on 11 November 2015.

Download the official Senate committee report

Motion to Amend Bill by the Australian Greens

Senator Richard Di Natale submitted an amendment to the Bill which proposed to defer the commencement of ‘No Jab No Pay’ until 01 January 2018 to enable known reporting and recording errors by the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register to be corrected.  The motion was defeated in the Senate on 23 November 2015 on the same day the Bill passed that chamber.

Download the amendment

Hansard – Bill Timeline & Second Reading Speeches including amendment motion

For convenience, all relevant Hansard has been downloaded from the parliament website and saved to a single document.

Download Hansard

Section (2) – Australian Immunisation Register Bill 2015 & Australian Immunisation Register (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2015

These two Bills gave effect to changes to the immunisation gegister on which ‘No Jab No Pay’ is dependent as well as giving effect to various other changes to the scope of data collected and held by the immunisation register.

Summary of amendments

1) From 1 January 2016, the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) become the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR), and was expanded to collect and record vaccinations given to young individuals under the age of 20 years.  Prior to 1 January 2016, the ACIR recorded vaccines given only to children aged less than seven years.

2) From September 2016, the AIR will be expanded further to record vaccinations administered from birth to death.

3) From 01 January 2017, the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Register will be expanded to become the Australian School Vaccination Register (ASVR), which will capture all adolescent vaccinations given through school programs from the start of the 2017 school year.  The HPV Register currently only captures administration of the HPV vaccine.

Immunisation Register Bills

Download the Australian Immunisation Register Bill as passed by both houses of parliament

Download the Australian Immunisation Register (Consequential & Transitional Provisions) Bill as passed by both houses of parliament

Explanatory Memorandum & Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

Download Explanatory Memorandum & Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights – Australian Immunisation Register Bill

Download Explanatory Memorandum & Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights – Australian Immunisation Register (Consequential & Transitional Provisions) Bill

Parliamentary Digest

Download Parliamentary Digest

Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights

All Bills which come before the parliament are scrutinised by this committee for their compatibility with human rights instruments as required by the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

On 13 October 2015, the committee reported that it had identified significant human rights incompatibilities in the Immunisation Register Bills, and was requesting a response from the Minister.  The section of the report covering the Immunisation Register Bills commences on page 4.

Download official Human Rights Committee Report – 13 October 2015

The committee’s follow-up report on the Immunisation Register Bills, which includes the Minister’s response was tabled in parliament on 01 December 2015. The section of the report covering the Immunisation Register Bills commences on page 49.

Download official Human Rights Committee Report – 01 December 2015

Hansard – Bill Timeline and Second Reading Speeches

For convenience, all relevant Hansard has been downloaded from the parliament website and saved to a single document.

Download Hansard

Section (3) – Current Legislation

Legislation incorporating ‘No Jab No Pay’ amendments

A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999

A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999

Legislative instruments enacted under A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999

Family Assistance (Meeting the Immunisation Requirements) Principles 2015

Child Care Benefit (Vaccination Schedules) (Education) Determination 2015

Family Assistance (Vaccination Schedules) (DSS) Determination 2015

Legislation pertaining to the immunisation register

Australian Immunisation Register Act 2015

Australian Immunisation Register (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2015

Legislative Instrument enacted under the Australian Immunisation Act 2015

Australian Immunisation Register Rule 2015

Australian Immunisation Handbook

Medical Contraindication to vaccination

Catch-up schedule

Section (4) – Historical Legislation

The ACIR was constituted by regulation in 1995, and subsequently incorporated into legislation in 1996, by amendment to the Health Insurance Act 1973.  The parliamentary digest for this amendment provides an overview of the proposed, narrow uses of information collected by the register.  Importantly, from its inception up until commencement of the Child Care Payments Act 1997, vaccination status data collected by the register did not include non-vaccination, nor could it be used for the purpose of regulating eligibility to child care or family payments.

Secondly, between late 1997 and 2015 – whilst vaccination status data collected by the register was used to regulate eligibility to certain child care and family payments following enactment of the Child Care Payments Act, and subsequently A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act – the data was collected and used on the basis that belief exemptions were in force during this period.  No Jab No Pay proposes to use vaccination status data collected for this earlier purpose (inclusive of the right to belief exemptions), for a broader purpose, namely, enforcement of a vaccination requirement without belief exemptions.

The above is an excerpt of a blog written by a member of the AVN.

The following timeline includes links to key historical pieces of legislation, parliamentary digests and parliamentary committee reports from 1995 on.

1995 – Birth of the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register by regulation

1995 No. 375 Health Insurance Commission Regulations (Amendment) – Reg 3

1996 – Australian Childhood Immunisation Register incorporated into Health Insurance Act

Health Insurance Amendment Act 1996

Parliamentary Bills Digest no. 94 1995-96, Health Insurance Amendment Bill 1996

1998 – Birth of immunisation requirement with belief exemptions in child care subsidies law using immunisation register data

Child Care Payments Act 1997

Parliamentary Bills Digest no. 21 1997-98, Child Care Payments Bill 1997

Health Insurance Commission Regulations (Amendment) 1998 No. 67