Australian parents who refuse to vaccinate their children will surrender thousands of dollars in benefits, following an announcement by the Federal Government on Sunday, April 12, 2015.

Dubbed the ‘no jab, no pay’ policy, parents who regard themselves as ‘conscientious objectors’ to vaccination will be refused access to annual childcare rebates and other benefits of up to $15,000.

Under the new contentious policy, set to commence January, 2016, religious and medical exemptions will be made.

Speaking with the ABC, Social Services Minister, The Hon. Scott Morrison MP said he only expected a very small number of families to be exempt from the Government’s new policy, stating parents seeking a religious exception would need to be registered with their church or similar organisation.

“That’s the only basis upon which you can have a religious exception, and there are no mainstream religions that have such objections registered, so this would apply to a very, very small proportion of people,” he said.

When issuing the announcement, Prime Minister, The Hon. Tony Abbott MP said, “It’s a very important health announcement. It’s a very important measure to keep our children and families as safe as possible.”

Further to this announcement, Mr Abbott and Mr Morrison released a joint statement citing “The choice made by families not to immunise their children is not supported by public policy or medical research, nor should such action be supported by taxpayers in the form of childcare payments.”

Mr Abbott’s ‘no jab, no pay’ policy has received support from his own party, as well as the Labor Government, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and Planned Parenthood, and various other groups.

In a rare move reported by the ABC, Federal Opposition leader, The Hon. Bill Shorten MP agreed with Mr Abbott, calling the policy “a sensible step.”

“We believe fundamentally in the science of vaccinations, and we fundamentally believe that policy should be made by the best evidence and the best science.

“And we would say to the Liberal Government, we’re pleased that you’re agreeing with our position and yes, we will cooperate to make sure that the safety of our children is what is paramount in public policy,” said Mr Abbott.

In an interview with Australian Associated Press (AAP), AMA President, Mr Brian Owler said, “vaccination remains one of the most effective public health measures that we have. Whatever we can do to increase vaccination rates is important.”

Tony Abbott speaks about ‘no jab, no pay’

The announcement follows a NSW Government initiative to ensure children are being properly protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.

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