Controversial government legislation to cut childcare benefits from parents who do not immunise children has passed the lower house.
Under the legislation passed on Tuesday, only those who have a valid medical reason will be exempt from the $500 million budget-saving “No jab, no pay” plan.
However, anti-vaccination activist Stephanie Messenger says the legislation gives parents with limited means no choice.
“It’s coercion, there’s no other word for it,”
“The thing is, it’s going to affect poor people the most, because a lot of wealthier people aren’t dependent on childcare rebates,” she said.
With the “No Jab No Pay No Way – Freedom of Choice” Facebook page amassing more than 2,000 likes, it is clear that many in the community have concerns about the legislation.
Nevertheless, MPs from both parties stated support for vaccinations, with MP Natasha Griggs expressing concerns for children who die from preventable diseases.
“No one wants to see a child die from whooping cough,” she said.
Ms Messenger says the legislation means parents are unable to decide what is best for their own children.
“We encourage people to make fully informed decision based on fact and not on government propaganda,” she said.
The bill will now proceed to Senate for debate.