Public Health - Not Polemics - Should Guide Immunisation Debate

The SA Greens are dismayed that the Shadow Minister for Health, Chris Picton, continues to prioritise playing politics over public health and an evidence-based approach in the so-called ‘No Jab No Play’ debate.

The state Upper House today passed legislation (South Australian Public Health (Early Childhood Services and Immunisation) Amendment Bill 2019) that will require early childhood services to keep and provide immunisation records for all children attending their services. In the case of an outbreak, significant powers and penalties will apply for non-compliance, and children will be able to be excluded from attendance for non-compliance.

The SA Greens are dismayed that the Shadow Minister for Health, Chris Picton, continues to prioritise playing politics over public health and an evidence-based approach in the so-called ‘No Jab No Play’ debate.

The state Upper House today passed legislation (South Australian Public Health (Early Childhood Services and Immunisation) Amendment Bill 2019) that will require early childhood services to keep and provide immunisation records for all children attending their services. In the case of an outbreak, significant powers and penalties will apply for non-compliance, and children will be able to be excluded from attendance for non-compliance.

The following quotes are attributable to Tammy Franks: I am firmly pro-vaccination. I understand the public health outcomes, but I am also very cautious when it comes to punishing the children for the decisions of their parents and restricting rights to education as a supposed public health measure. I am even more cautious when an organisation such as the Royal Australasian College of Physicians raises concerns.

“The Bill today was supported by all parties, including Labor but the Shadow Minister Chris Picton then sulked on Twitter – complete with emojis- when he didn’t get everything his way.  A companion Bill will come before this Parliament after further public consultation. That consultation will inform future votes on these matters.”

“However, rather than consult and listen, Labor today has used the failure of their amendments to this Bill to yet again play politics with public health matters with scant regard to the impact they may have had on child protection or the rights of a child to education.”

“The SA Child Development Council recognizes the complexities of the issues around so-called ‘No Jab No Play’ legislation and the potential impacts on the human rights of a child’s right to both health and education. The Royal Australasian College of Physicians have also raised their concerns that by using too blunt an instrument in so-called ‘No Jab No Pay’ approach we may be violating the child’s human right to access education. Labor today attempted to weaponize the Bill like a sledgehammer to crack the nut of immunisation non-compliance.”

“Perhaps Labor should listen to the health professionals rather than launch into a dummy spit when their amendments didn’t pass today. Punishing children by restricting access to education for the choices their parents make is a bridge too far. The Greens also remain highly cognisant that the social determinants of health include that very access to education.”

“Vaccination works. Punitive measures made without proper consultation may well not.”

“However, when we are talking about public health measures, public health and cautious consultation guide The Greens on our votes in this matter and not the Shadow Minister’s dramatics, polemics and dummy spits.”

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