Health Care

Australian Prime Minister: Withhold Childcare, Family Tax Payments To Anti-Vaxxer Parents

| by Michael Allen
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants to strip parents of their childcare and family tax payments if they don't get their children vaccinated, beginning Jan. 1, 2016.

Childcare payments and the Family Tax Benefit Part A are worth up to $15,000 (A.U.), equivalent to about $11,400 (U.S.), per child.

The "No Jab, No Play" campaign still has to be approved by the Australian Parliament but has bipartisan support, according to The Sunday Telegraph via The Daily Telegraph.

"Parents who vaccinate their children should have confidence that they can take their children to child care without the fear that their children will be at risk of contracting a serious or potentially life-threatening illness because of the conscientious objections of others," Abbott said. "This means that the vaccine objectors will not be able to ­access these government payments."

According to the Canberra Times, Australia has a high vaccination rate of 97 percent, but the number of parents who are registered as "conscientious objectors" has gone up over the past decade.

Australian law currently allows parents to cite a "personal philosophical [or] religious" reason not to vaccinate their children.

Thanks to the current law, the number of unvaccinated children under the age of 7 has risen by 24,000 over the past 10 years to 39,000, per the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register, notes the Canberra Times.

Children who have medical reasons for not being vaccinated will be exempt from the new law.

Parents who object to vaccinations for their kids for religious reasons will have to belong to a religious group that has officially registered its opposition with the Australian government to get the child payments and tax credit.

Sources: Canberra Times, The Daily Telegraph / Image Credit: U.S. Department of State