Sunday, February 2, 2014


February 01, 2014

Emma, Emily and Sudays, all aged two, play at Kensington Community Children's Co-op. Picture: Josie Hayden
Emma, Emily and Sudays, all aged two, play at Kensington Community Children's Co-op. Picture: Josie Hayden Source: News Limited
EXCLUSIVE: CHILDCARE centres will be able to turn away parents who refuse to vaccinate their children if Labor wins the November state election. 

Under the "no jab, no play" policy, which is aimed at keeping kids safe from disease, families would have to prove their child has up-to-date vaccinations before they can be enrolled in childcare.

And conscientious objectors would only be eligible for exemptions if they consult a medical professional, in a bid to address falling immunisation rates in some Melbourne suburbs.

The State Opposition's tough stance comes as the Abbott Government considers whether to strip parents of family benefit payments or childcare rebates if they refuse to vaccinate their children.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Abbott said a policy audit was being conducted "with the intention of a review of childcare payments to conscientious objectors".

Last year Mr Abbott said parents receiving childcare payments should have "an obligation to have your child immunised so they can safely participate in childcare centres".

He also backed "no jab, no play" laws that came into effect in NSW this year.
Victorian Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews' promise for new state laws is modelled on the NSW approach, with parents who conscientiously object to vaccinations forced to get medical advice before being eligible for a signed exemption certificate.

Childcare centres that enrol children without exemptions would face penalties.

Mr Andrews told the Sunday Herald Sun that parents who refuse vaccinations "put your child and every other child at risk".

"My three young kids have had all their shots and I'm proud of that," he said.

Mr Andrews said Labor would also restore funding for whooping cough vaccines, and release a full immunisation policy closer to the election.

"No jab, no play, will form a part of it," he said.

Around Australia, the number of conscientious objectors has risen sixfold in two decades, to 36,320.

Labor is concerned about pockets of wealthy suburbs that have seen child immunisation rates fall well below 90 per cent, with Melbourne, Toorak, and South Yarra among the worst offenders.

The national schedule of immunisations for children includes measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines at 12 and 18 months, while a range of other vaccines - including to protect against whooping cough and hepatitis B - are provided within a few months of birth.

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