Hard-Hearted? No. Australia Doesn’t Need Welfare Parasites

WHILST INDIVIDUAL CASES may deserve a hearing and even sympathy, restrictions on the availability of welfare payments — especially for new arrivals and naturalised citizens — exist for good reasons; the sob story carried in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph today is unfortunate, even regrettable, but a naturalised sole parent demanding welfare without entitlement, who contributes by choice to her own hardship, is owed nothing by this country.

Before we get started, I should like to make it clear that I have spent some time considering whether or not to comment on the issue at the centre of today’s article; ultimately, the decision to do so came down to weighing the circumstances (as presented) of the parent involved against the reasonable community expectations embedded in regulations governing access to taxpayer-funded welfare payments, and viewed from such a perspective the decision was a straightforward one.

The fact the parent saw fit to participate in a feature carried in the second-most read newspaper in the country is relevant in this regard, too.

But after being struck mute with disbelief in reading the story of a recently naturalised single mother from Poland who is demanding a lump-sum back-payment of parenting payments to which she is not entitled, that speechless state quickly gave way to anger when I also noted this lady sends her child to a private school, refuses to vaccinate him, lives in a low socio-economic area near Nimbin in the NSW north coast hinterland, and recently purchased a car.

The woman — Agnieszka Swiatlowska, 38, from Poland — has the audacity and the nerve to claim she is being “discriminated against” by having to wait until September to receive parenting payments, despite a mandatory statutory 104-week waiting period for naturalised citizens to be given access to higher welfare payments that she would (or, if competent, should) have been fully aware of when she took the oath of citizenship.

I note that, by her own admission, taxpayers are already shelling out $530 per fortnight — presumably in unemployment benefits — and it does seem on the face of it that some kind of concession has been made in her case, for the Tele notes Swiatlowska became a citizen in March, but is eligible for increased access to welfare payouts in September this year, which is a quarter of the 104-week waiting period that typically applies.

Like anyone who thinks the world owes them a living, Swiatlowska’s case for preferential treatment appears to rest on little more than a defiant claim that she is “entitled” to more money from the Australian taxpayer, despite all evidence pointing to the opposite being the case.

And whilst lifestyle choices are a matter for individuals — such as living in hippy settlements in the hills behind Byron Bay — the question of just what Swiatlowska is doing (or has done) to improve her position or to find work is a pertinent one indeed.

It’s very nice that she spends two hours per week cleaning at her son’s school; on the face of it, this is the sort of thing you do without complaint when you find that life has backed you into a tight spot.

But the merits of even this are dubious when it is considered that by her own admission, the cleaning activities are not to generate income as such, but to offset some of the $600 per term she is spending to put her son through a private Steiner school, and I would make the point that whilst there is nothing wrong with private schools or aspiring to send your kids to one, they are hardly mandatory for a five-year-old child, and a dispensable option indeed when you literally don’t have the money to pay for them.

But this doesn’t seem to bother Swiatlowska, who says in the article that she recently purchased a car. What kind? How much did it cost? Where did the money come from? These are all things Centrelink and the Social Security Appeals Tribunal, at both of which she lost appeals over the refusal of the Department of Social Services to cave in to her demands for more money, would have taken into account.

Rather, she has the temerity to complain that because she doesn’t have a pension card, she had to pay the full rate of registration on the car: and this, in turn, raises the point that if she is ineligible, she would have known about that too, upfront, or that she has too much money in the bank for Centrelink to give her one.

Yet Swiatlowska seems to think Australia is indebted to her, and privileged by, her decision to take out citizenship; as the story in the Tele runs, because she has paid taxes in the past on employment she undertook as a permanent resident (just like every other permanent resident and Australian citizen who works) and because she voted in the NSW state election in March (a privilege of Australian citizenship) she has discharged “obligations” that somehow entitle her to what she is demanding — an entitlement that does not exist — and that she is being discriminated against because she lost a fight she picked with Centrelink over the matter.

To add insult to injury, she also has the nerve to complain that she will lose out when changes to family tax benefits come into force next year that strip payments from those who refuse to vaccinate their children, and I can only say that her jibe about “not (selling) her son’s health for the money” is so irresponsible, and so hopelessly misguided in its apparent guiding beliefs (pity the child!) as to be virtually beneath contempt.

Citizenship does not exist as some mechanism through which new arrivals to this country obtain some unquestionable automatic right to extract more money from hard-working taxpayers; there is understandable hostility to asylum seekers and other newcomers to Australia being put straight onto unemployment benefits and given taxpayer-funded “establishment” packages as it is without cases like this being given high-profile public platforms as the Tele has done to spruik mass appeals to the bleeding hearts and chardonnay drunks and others in our midst who think that government exists solely to shower socialist largesse on anyone who thinks they are entitled to it.

Paying $600 per term for a 5yo to go to a private school on the one hand, whilst crying poor on the other, is an idiotic contradiction that someone in Swiatlowska’s position shouldn’t have blundered into in the first place, and attempting to use this discretionary, arbitrary and unnecessary expenditure item as part of her “case” against the taxpayer is grotesque.

If she genuinely “(wants) to work, I’ve got skills to offer,” then perhaps instead of living in the middle of Bumblefuck, she ought to consider moving to one of the plethora of larger regional centres dotted along the NSW north coast where work might be easier to obtain than sitting in some pot-addled two-horse town complaining about her plight.

She could drive there in the car she bought in spite of her straitened circumstances.

And if voting at elections is such an onerous task, and one for which her fellow citizens ought to be thankful financially for the fact she deigned to even bother, then perhaps Australia isn’t the place for her at all: perhaps an Asian country that pre-selects “acceptable” candidates for citizens to rubber-stamp might be better suited. Or, better still, one of the multitude of dictatorships in the Middle East, Africa, South America or even North Korea, where they save people the trouble of having to vote at all.

There will be some who protest that I don’t know this woman’s full story but, I assure you, neither do they; as sympathetic as the Tele‘s article might appear, I will guarantee there are details of her fight with Centrelink and the ensuing appeals that are not included, either because they would detract from the argument or — more probably — because having been gifted with such a public soapbox from which to shout her claim, Swiatlowska isn’t silly enough to squander it by disclosing details that would harden public opinion against her.

The point is that when it comes to blatant and brazen parasites on Australia’s welfare system, where there is one, there are usually others, and whilst I have enormous sympathy for the poor kid stuck in the middle of this — after all, he’s been given no say in whether he catches whooping cough, measles, or any of the other easily preventable diseases sweeping the area he lives in as a direct consequence of the mentality of people like his mother — I have no sympathy or regard for the mother’s “plight” at all.

At the end of the day, rather than demanding others in society meet the cost of an unreasonable and unjustifiable lifestyle, judged on the factors she has now presented publicly, perhaps this upstanding member of Nimbin society should take ownership of her life, her own situation, and cut her cloth according to her means. And if that means leaving the literally dizzying environment of the hills behind Byron Bay to get a job, then so be it.

In closing, I simply make the point that I’m not singling Swiatlowska out: she’s done that all by herself by giving such a ridiculous and implausible account of herself to the Daily Telegraph.

Yet, perversely, she has indeed done the country a favour: she has shone the spotlight directly on the kind of mentality that has no place in modern Australia, and her demands to be treated differently and given more money than the law entitles her to should be dismissed with contempt by anyone tempted to feel pangs of pity for her.

This country does not need welfare addicts, leeches, or others similarly imbued with the entitlement mentality and the arrogant presumption that the country owes them something when they refuse to get off their arses and help themselves.

That sentiment applies to everyone, whether citizens, permanent residents, or new arrivals: with “rights” come responsibilities, and I’m sick of being expected to pick up the cheque as a taxpayer for people like this who refuse to take their responsibilities seriously.

This has been an unfortunate glimpse at a problem that I suspect is far more widespread than the welfare lobby and the political Left would have people believe. And it is the kind of warped world view that must be stamped out at all costs.

 

No Jab, No Play, No Pay: Denying Anti-Vaxers Welfare Is Right

MOVES BY THE ABBOTT GOVERNMENT to strip so-called “conscientious objectors” of childcare benefits and other welfare payments in response to the refusal to vaccinate their children is welcome, highly appropriate, and long overdue; vaccination is arguably the single greatest contributor to increases in human life expectancy over the past 200 years; it is a reasonable expectation of society, and should not be rewarded in the breach in any way.

At the outset, I should like to note that I have a former colleague and dearly valued friend who is one of the smartest and best-intentioned people I know — and if she is reading this, she knows who she is — who is nevertheless adamant that her child should not be vaccinated (and hasn’t been) and is vehemently opposed to any regime of compulsory childhood vaccinations, or indeed to any vaccinations at all, and whilst I respect her right to her opinion, I vehemently and utterly disagree with her (and have told her as much, for those who wonder about such things).

90% of the population — based on a vote of the feet, or in other words the current overall rate of childhood immunisations nationally — agree with me, the medical community, and the overwhelming and irrefutable evidence that vaccinations save lives.

90%, however, is not enough: for “herd immunity” to be truly effective in eliminating dreadful diseases from our communities, that vaccination rate needs to be at least 94%.

I am very pleased, therefore, to see that in joining the so-called “No Jab, No Play” campaign that is seeing unvaccinated children excluded from day care centres, preschools and (ultimately) schools across the country, the Abbott government has announced it will terminate the entitlement to the childcare allowance, childcare rebate, Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement (and the “bonus” payable for vaccinating children) for parents refusing to complete a recommended schedule of immunisations for their children.

With “No Jab, No Play” increasingly excluding children from child care anyway, ending the entitlement of parents to the government subsidies that apply to it are the logical next step, and one with which I have no quibble whatsoever.

The impact of the measures could cost miscreant families who refuse to immunise their kids up to $15,000 per year, although it could hardly be said to constitute a budget saving — which is perhaps why, for once, Labor “leader” Bill Shorten has made supportive noises, although I will believe Labor’s support is forthcoming when and if it votes for the enabling legislation once it reaches the Senate.

A selection of additional articles from the mainstream press on this issue may be accessed here, here and here, and covers both the Murdoch and Fairfax perspectives on the matter.

And we have spoken about the vaccination issue in this column once before, about 18 months ago. I urge all readers with an interest in this issue to reread my original article on it.

I’m not going to labour the point this evening; I suspect readers will have guessed from my silence this weekend I have been otherwise occupied, but I want to make a few general — albeit deadly salient — points in the context of this change.

The single greatest hook the anti-vax crowd has ever had to hang its rubbish on — the “study” by disgraced British doctor Andrew Wakefield linking the MMR vaccine to childhood autism — was motivated, not that the deadbeat advocates of anti-vaccination “skepticism” would care to admit, by a desire by the good Dr Wakefield to promote sales of a rival, measles-only vaccine produced by a company in which he held considerable investment interests.

That reality is a microcosm of the entire hypocrisy of the blather of powerful anti-vaccination advocates; on the one level, they are happy to leap on the suggestion that vaccines — any vaccine, in fact — might cause autism, despite the “research” drawing that link being thoroughly discredited and the link comprehensively disproven beyond doubt.

Yet they are happy to keep quiet about Dr Wakefield’s real motives — to promote vaccine sales — in a classic case of refusing to let facts get in the way of a good story.

A story is all it is; in the same breath, the overwhelming majority of the allegedly conscientious objectors to vaccination (read: people who think they know better than the best medical practitioners in the world) are nonetheless happy to back up for the miracles of modern medicine when there’s something wrong with them.

If their kids come down with whooping cough, they have the temerity to demand that the medical fraternity cures them quickly, cheaply, and without complication or consequence, despite having thumbed their noses at the safest, best, and most effective treatment medical science can offer: immunity from the infection in the first place.

And whilst it’s a tangential path that I don’t intend to divert too far along, those of the “conscientious” objectors who also spurn orthodox medicine at other times ought to be having something of a wake-up call this year, as assorted frauds and charlatans are exposed for the callous, sooth-saying rent seekers they are.

Belle Gibson and her “miracle” recovery from “terminal” cancer. The so-called “wellness warrior” who secretly accepted chemotherapy treatment when it was too late and at the time her cancer had all but killed her. On and on it goes. Yet there are just enough simpletons and gullible fools prepared to eschew scientific reality to oxygenate the fairy stories and myths peddled by such cruel and cavalier snake oil merchants.

Vaccination is not perfect; no science is. But it is exponentially preferable to the alternatives, such as they are.

Like any medicine, there is a tiny risk of adverse reaction; from itches and runny noses to febrile convulsions and severe allergic reactions, any medicine can cause these (and other) side effects.

Yet the proposed changes to accessibility to child welfare payments will account for these; any kid who experiences such a response will be provided with a medical exemption from vaccination, and that is reasonable.

But “fear” that a child might experience such a response is not grounds for exemption, and nor should it be; if you follow such specious logic to its inevitable conclusion, you’d never get out of bed in the morning.

Ironically, vaccines today are safer than they have ever been; although the countless millions saved from smallpox by a scrape of pus from a cow suffering cowpox in the early 1800s, or those prevented from dying of tetanus through an infusion containing horse blood, would scarcely have complained in the way the anti-vaccination lobby does now.

It’s true vaccines don’t protect everyone; some people’s immune systems simply don’t respond to them, or if they do, generate only partial immunity to the pathogen they are designed to protect against.

This is why the “herd immunity” conferred by 94% or higher being vaccinated is so critical; if the overwhelming majority of people experience efficacious immune responses to a vaccine, they won’t get the disease: and by not getting it themselves, it slashes the risk those who cannot be immunised for medical reasons (or in whom the vaccine doesn’t produce the response) can get infected too.

About the closest thing anti-vax advocates come to a meaningful argument against vaccines is the presence of thiomersal — a preservative containing of mercury — in the vaccines given to children.

Yes, mercury is a poison, that in the right circumstances can cause all manner of health problems in human beings, including mental retardation and death. But the mercury in thiomersal used in vaccines is present in trace amounts only, and reputable medical studies worldwide have been unable to prove it poses a health risk.

In any case, didn’t any of these parents ever get doused with mercurochrome in their own childhood, and live to tell the tale? There is more mercury present in mercurochrome solutions than there is in a vaccine, and that form of medicinal mercury is perfectly safe as well.

Seldom do I advocate what could in any way be construed as the “big hand of big brother” by those who would choose to regard it as such, and even rarer is my insistence that such an action is not only accceptable, but in the best interests of the public good.

But the expectation that parents vaccinate their children before they are then allowed to socialise and intermingle with their peers is perfectly reasonable, and I have no issue at all with a government withdrawing all forms of financial family aid from parents until such time as they do.

Here in Australia we have already seen waves of resurgent pertussis, or whooping cough, which is fast regaining a foothold in infant populations thanks to falling vaccination rates; pertussis has killed children in recent times in a series of high-profile cases, and in most of these the infection was passed from an unvaccinated adult or an adult whose immunity had lapsed.

This, in turn, is another argument of anti-vaxers that is easily shot to pieces: that with the protection offered by immunisation wearing off in time, the whole exercise is in fact a waste of time and money.

Solution? Get a booster shot. Simple. Cheap. And a damned side safer than bloody whooping cough, too.

The frightening thing is that as bad as whooping cough is — and has already killed Australian children, in an era when no child should die from an easily preventable disease — whooping cough is a relative cakewalk compared to some of the other nasties that might be the next cabs off the rank to make a reappearance in Australia.

We have already seen measles clusters appearing with more and more frequency; there are reports elsewhere in the world of the re-emergence of polio. And should diphtheria ever make a comeback, something like whooping cough would seem minor alongside such a dreadful and excruciatingly malevolent disease.

If you have children, it is a reasonable expectation you have those children vaccinated.

If you don’t — electing, therefore, not to allow your child to be a participant in Australian society — it is right and it is fair that payments for childcare, family based tax relief, and even the monetary bonus for completing child immunisation schedules (that, incredibly, continues to be paid to “conscientious” objectors) are all terminated.

There should be no provision for exemption based on religion: as Social Services minister Scott Morrison has said, there are no religions that have registered vaccination objections with the government, and anyone coming to this country must, as far as I am concerned, accept that the immunisation of children (and previously unvaccinated adults too, for that matter) is an expectation of Australian residents that is non-negotiable.

And insofar as any other objection is concerned, unless an individual child has a specific, life-threatening medical reason that is certified by an appropriately qualified medical practitioner, there should be none: “conscience” doesn’t cut it, when the consequences are in fact to aid and abet the spread of insidious diseases that ought to have been eradicated and which in fact only exist in the community at all because of falling vaccination rates.

There are those who will disagree, and to those people I say that they are entitled to their views.

They are also wrong, and nothing I have ever seen from so-called experts in the anti-vaxer lobby withstands even the most cursory scientific scrutiny.

It might be trendy — or “natural” — not to vaccinate your kid, and you might think you would never hurt him/her, or that your motives are the purest and best in the world.

You might also be one of those people who simply don’t care about the (infinitesimal) risk of side-effects other kids might experience from a vaccine so long as they don’t happen to your kid, and that other people’s kids can achieve the “herd immunity” on your behalf that will protect your own little Johnny/Dora, and if this summarises your outlook then frankly you don’t deserve to have children at all, let alone the money the government is about to terminate your access to.

As adults in society, we have an obligation to those too young to decide for themselves, or take action in their own best interests: and in this case, making sure children have all the recommended vaccines for their various stages are development is one of the best ways we can do this, helping to ensure that when they reach adulthood they will have the opportunity to make similar decisions for their own kids themselves.

And as food for thought for the do-gooder types who don’t bother to vaccinate their kids, what will you say to them if — in their 20s — they go off to explore the world and pick up diphtheria, or polio, or God-knows-what in some far-flung third world outpost simply because you were derelict in your negligence of them as a child?

Hmmm?

I think what has been announced is long overdue. No jab, no play, and now no pay.

There will be those who will jib; there always is. But on this occasion — happily, and in the best interests of at least all the other kids, if not their own — the view of those people no longer carries any official weight at all, and will no longer be indulged with stipends of taxpayer money made dependent on courses of action they have no intention of undertaking.

Measles Scare: Time To Crack Down On Vaccine Refusers

THE LATEST THREAT of a massive public measles exposure — this time at Melbourne’s Chadstone Shopping Centre, for goodness’ sake — signals time to crack down once and for all on so-called “conscientious” objectors to vaccination; these people are a risk to the general population, and whilst new policy initiatives are welcome, they do not go anywhere near far enough. It is time to stop messing around with a dangerous public health menace.

It isn’t often that I advocate the total removal of choice for individuals, with an absolute zero-tolerance approach to enforcement; the growing problem of outright refusal by some people to vaccinate their children is an exception I am happy to make, however: the alternative is a resurgence in diseases that have been all but eradicated, and measles is simply the thin edge of the wedge.

I’m not going to make any apologies for being blunt about this, or for not mincing my words; the anti-vaccine lobby is an insidious public health menace, propped up and actively supported by so-called “conscientious objectors” whose actions (or in this case, lack of action) have the capacity to endanger thousands of others at a stroke.

And frankly — as a parent of two fully immunised children — to hell with the alleged special circumstances of their own dear brats by which they attempt to justify the unjustifiable.

To my mind, the news that a measles-infected man wandered around Chadstone Shopping Centre for three hours on Boxing Day — represents the point at which a line must be drawn, and for government in this country to decree that enough is enough: we’re not talking about a visit to the corner shop here, not that that would be acceptable in the circumstances, either: this is the largest shopping centre in Australia on the busiest retail trading day of the year.

This year, 100,000 people flocked to Chadstone on Boxing Day: almost certainly, a large number of these people will have been visiting from interstate or overseas; almost certainly, therefore, someone exposed to the man mentioned in news reports today will have spread the disease beyond Chadstone, beyond Melbourne, and beyond Victoria — where it can percolate and spread in another community altogether.

This is how mass epidemics of disease begin, and with Australia’s overall vaccination rates falling — largely thanks to the efforts of the so-called Australian Vaccination Network, and other enemies of the public good like them — diseases that should have been all but wiped out of existence in Australia are beginning to find fresh footholds in the broader population.

To some extent, it doesn’t really matter where this particular infection source originated; the report I’ve shared here talks about a dance competition in NSW about a month ago; sooner or later, the availability of a colossal population of prospective virus hosts  (which is what the 100,000 at Chadstone represents) is going to intersect with that infection as it spreads — and when that occurs, the illness may spread like wildfire.

It’s the same principle that people in Brisbane often describe, when they talk about the “Ekka” — Brisbane’s annual show — signalling the start of the `flu season every year. A highly contagious virus and a huge body of people for it to circulate among in a very short period of time.

And make no mistake, measles is infectious.

Whilst most people recover fully, complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis make this a vicious disease that must be stamped out at all costs, and a horrible way to die for a small number of the unfortunate people who experience them.

Fears over the safety of the MMR vaccine predominantly used in Australia and elsewhere in the world may — may — have justified reticence around that particular vaccine for a time. Even so, separate vaccines for measles and rubella have always been available, and in any case, the British scientist whose research established the “link” between MMR has long been discredited, his thesis that MMR causes Autism disproven, and his professional reputation deservedly ruined.

The MMR debacle, however, has had effects that have lingered well beyond the debunking of the myth surrounding it, and these will in all likelihood continue to do so: fodder nonetheless, if dubious, for the likes of the Australian Vaccination Network to scare the bejeesus out of anyone stupid or scared enough to listen to it.

I read recently that the vaccination rates for Australian children now sits at about 85%; the vaccination strategy in place within Australia’s health networks relies on a principle called herd immunity — which, to be effective, requires vaccination rates of about 94% or higher.

Vaccination rates are as low as 43% in some areas on the northern NSW coast; and before anyone suggests Byron Bay/Nimbin etc can be excused on the basis they’re full of hippies, druggies, alternative lifestyles and so forth, I would simply point out these people don’t have any trouble putting their hand out when they want something — and so they should be prepared to accept the responsibility along with the benefits.

Part of the problem derives from so-called conscientious objectors, whose selfish arguments boil down to the fact that whilst all medicines — including vaccines — carry risks, their cavalier position is that these risks should be taken by everyone else except for them and their own children.

I have no time for this mentality, the eventual consequences of which are a breakdown in herd immunity and outbreaks of diseases such as measles.

Aside from anything else, “conscientious” objectors are making decisions on behalf of their children they have no right to make, putting as they do the lives of those children at risk.

Indeed, there is ample evidence that many of these unvaccinated children aren’t even told of their status, and only find out in later life when they come down with something they should never have been put at risk of exposure to in the first place.

But all this pales into insignificance compared to the so-called Australian Vaccination Network, an organisation so named as to be deliberately misleading, and masquerading as a public health awareness service to boot.

Or rather, it was; the NSW Department of Fair Trading last year ordered this odious entity to find a new name, and its first “attempt” to do so — Australian Vaccination – Sceptics Network — isn’t much better. Happily, that was knocked back too. The attitude of some of its office bearers is quite telling, reeking of contempt for efforts to stop them peddling misinformation and risking public safety.

This organisation — call itself whatever it eventually will — promotes the “health benefits” of measles, when there are no known health benefits of measles.

One of the news reports I’ve linked to here notes they promote a product called black salve as a cancer cure — to which I would respond that if it were anything of the kind, the medical and pharmaceutical professions would be all over it like a fly on a turd. They’re not.

Next it will be recommendations to hang wreaths off doors to ward off the plague…

And whilst measles and whooping cough — in most cases — might not be fatal to the bulk of unfortunate people who suffer them, if the next “nasty” to make a comeback was something like diphtheria or polio, it will make suffering measles or pertussis seem like a walk in the park: even if, of course, they are anything but.

I wonder how many fines of $500,000 per offence for deliberately false and misleading conduct it might take, theoretically, for the Australian Vaccination Network — or whatever it ends up calling itself (noting “Flat Earth Society” is already taken, but “Knuckledraggers Inc” might not be) — to come to its senses. Not many, I’d wager.

But back to where we began.

With measles having now verifiably been circulated at Chadstone on Boxing Day, it mandates a get-tough approach to a problem that will only worsen without it.

Already, whooping cough (pertussis) is at epidemic proportions in some parts of the country, and for largely the same reason measles is now becoming such a problem for public health officials.

I do make the point that some of these vaccinations wear off over time; and in any case, their efficacy is such that not every person vaccinated will receive the same immunological response.

These are simply more compelling reasons for vaccination to be universal in the first place; perhaps a public campaign for a program of booster vaccinations for young adults would represent judicious expenditure of government health monies.

But the real problem, to be sure, is with childhood vaccination — and ensuring it is universal.

I note the NSW government has introduced a “no jab, no play” law which came into effect on Wednesday, stipulating that children who have not been properly vaccinated cannot be allowed to attend kindergartens, preschools and the like.

The only exemptions are on religious or medical grounds. There is no tolerance for “conscientious” objectors. Those who have simply fallen behind on their vaccine schedule are excused only if they can show medical evidence they have commenced an immunisation schedule to bring their children up to date.

I don’t think this goes far enough.

I think — in addition to kindergarten — that school, too, should be banned for non-immunised parents; access to passports withdrawn; welfare payments to families with non-immunised children cancelled; and access to Medicare rebates suspended until vaccinations have been satisfactorily completed.

Any migrant or asylum seeker coming to Australia should be barred from doing so until they either produce evidence of a vaccination history, or undergo a full vaccination schedule prior to being permitted entry to this country.

And to be completely honest, given what’s at stake, I don’t really have much truck with “religious exemptions” either: with no disrespect intended to those whose faith might preclude them from vaccination, their kids are just as much a target for lethal diseases as anyone else, and are every bit as likely, in probability, to contract them.

Zero tolerance, I say. Time to crack down on the scourge of anti-immunisation idiots, for their own good as much as for the protection of those with a little more sense. And without a genuine, valid medical pretext for abstention, that should include everybody: no ifs, no buts.