Australian parents who fail to get their kids vaccinated for diseases will stop receiving childcare benefits next year, according to a new law passed by Australia's parliament, the Australian Associated Press reported.
The so-called "no-jab-no-pay" bill sailed through the body with the backing of the country's main political coalition. Government statistics show the percentage of Australian children under 7 years old whose parents object to vaccinates has risen in recent years, from 0.23% in 1999 to 1.77% in 2014.
"The choice made by families not to immunise their children is not supported by public policy or medical research, nor should such action be supported by taxpayers in the form of childcare payments," then-prime minister Tony Abbott said, when the bill was first introduced earlier this year.
Debate in the U.S. continues over how to either accommodate or confront parents with conscientious objections to vaccinations, as outbreaks of preventable diseases like Measles have occurred. This summer, California passed a law banning such objections as reasons to avoid vaccines; similar bills, like one recently proposed in Oklahoma, are seeing pushback.
"After much thought and prayer…I believe vaccinations work best when parents and communities are educated by health professionals, not the government,” said the state's Senate Health and Human Services Committee chairman, Sen. Rob Standridge, (R-Norman), according to the Tulsa World-Herald.
"Standridge, a pharmacist, said he didn’t believe that the government had an overwhelming reason to mandate childhood vaccinations," the paper said.
Back in Australia, one libertarian senator went so far as to question whether parents should be receiving any child care benefits at all. Forcing Australians without children to subsidise those with them, Senator David Leyonhjelm said, is like making people in "wheelchairs pay for other people's running shoes," according to the Australian Broadcasting Company.
"The least they can do is immunise their bundles of dribble and sputum, so they don't make the rest of us sick," Leyonhjelm said.
The credits are worth up to $15,000.
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.