Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is backing the Turnbull government’s plan to ban unvaccinated children from childcare centres and pre-schools but is urging the prime minister to undertake a national educational campaign on the issue.
Malcolm Turnbull has written to state and territory leaders in a move towards introducing consistent laws to protect children across Australia.
“If you don’t vaccinate your child you are not just putting their own life at risk, but you are putting everyone else’s children at risk,” the prime minister told News Corp on Sunday.
Mr Shorten applauded Mr Turnbull for standing up to the anti-vaccination brigade, saying he had already written to the prime minister calling for a national campaign.
“I think we need to start educating parents … as opposed to some of the crazier views they can read on the internet,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government’s tough “no jab, no pay” policy of withholding family payments to parents of unvaccinated children is being supplemented by an “equally tough” policy of “no jab, no play”.
“We want to work with all of the states and I’m very confident that they’ll come on board,” he told the Seven Network.
“Ultimately it’s about protecting kids against horrendous illnesses that are agonising and potentially in some cases tragic.”
Senior Labor MP Mark Butler said there had been some very damaging public commentary led by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and now the major parties had a responsibility to get the issue back on track.
“The AMA says that next to clean water, this is probably the most important public health measure that a country can have,” Mr Butler told ABC TV.