Ending Vaccination Mandate Exemptions in Australia and the US

by | Apr 14, 2015


Under a new government policy announced by Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott, many Australian families are respectively facing the denial of thousands of dollars in welfare and tax benefits over a year’s time because their children have not received all the vaccinations listed on a government schedule. Meanwhile, in America, recently developed pro-mandate momentum threatens to end the most commonly used exemptions families claim to exempt children from mandatory vaccinations.

The new Australian policy cuts welfare and tax benefits if parents rely on a conscientious objection — often referred to as a philosophical objection in America — to deviate from the government’s vaccination schedule. While the conscientious objection option has been available to parents generally, the religious and medical exemptions that may still be asserted under the new policy are only available to a subset of families. Indeed, CBC News quotes the Australia social services minister predicting that very few families will be able to obtain an exemption under the new policy:

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison said he only expected a very small number of families to be exempted from the new policy.

Morrison said parents seeking a religious exception would need to be registered with their church or similar organization.

‘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.

‘It’d be lucky to be in the thousands, if that.’

The new Australia policy is an example of the danger of “do-good” government programs, such as welfare, morphing into a means for punishing and prohibiting the exercise of individual rights. John Odermatt passionately addresses this concern about the new Australia policy at the Lions of Liberty, stating:

The law blatantly targets the poorest in society and gives the rich a pass. I don’t see how any rational person could see this as anything else than an attack on the poor. The law is immoral because it uses coercion to influence behavior. Lawmakers and the people who support this travesty believe that individuals do not own their bodies. To endorse this law is to endorse outright tyranny.

Once the new policy has been implemented for a while to limit some families’ welfare and tax benefits, the concerns Odermatt expresses about the disparity of the program’s impact will likely be used by mandate advocates to argue that mandatory vaccinations be made the policy for everyone.

In America that would be termed “closing a loophole” or “expanding a successful pilot program.”

A requirement to comply with a government vaccination schedule for families to receive welfare and tax benefits is not the policy in America. But, state governments do impose vaccination requirements on children attending institutions such as public and private schools, and even day care centers and camps, with available exemptions varying state to state. Some sates even impose vaccination mandates on homeschooled children. Considering the combined effect of mandates with states’ compulsory school attendance laws, vaccine mandates reach the vast majority of American children.

The New York Times reported in February how extremely restricting vaccination mandate exemptions causes a significant increase in vaccination rates, pointing to Mississippi as an example. Mississippi has among the strictest vaccination requirements in America — barring philosophical and religious exemptions and allowing only a medical exemption for students in both public and private schools. In the 2013-14 school year the Times reports that only 17 out of 45,179 kindergarten students in the state were exempt from the state’s vaccination mandate.

Residents of California, which is home to over ten percent of American residents, may soon be subject to vaccination mandates like those imposed in Mississippi. Last week, the California Senate Health Committee passed SB 277 that would, if it makes its way through the entire legislative process, eliminate the state’s personal beliefs exemption for vaccinations, leaving Californians with only the usually unavailable medical exemption option. In California, the vaccination mandate is imposed on children in any public or private elementary or secondary schools, as well as, child care centers, day nurseries, nursery schools, family day care homes, and development centers.

Whether in Australia or America, expanding vaccination mandates is part of a march toward tyranny.

Image: Alt-Market.


  • Adam Dick

    Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.

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