(This blog has been and will be constantly updated, in order to keep all of this helpful information in one place) No Jab, No Pay/Play – implications for conscientious objecting families in Australia

Immunisation_baby2

Breaking News!!!

A family has been able to get a medical exemption letter from their appropriately qualified GP upheld by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal without needing to use a Medicare medical exemption form This enabled them to be able to reinstate their childcare payments/rebates and FTB A lump sum supplementary payment.

The main 2 points that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal has helpfully confirmed are that:
(1) the GP is NOT required to use the AIR’s “IM011” form to certify a medical contraindication (which results in a ME), and
(2) the GP is NOT restricted to what the Australian Immunisation Handbook states are “valid” medical contraindications, because the GP importantly retains clinical autonomy.
The legislation was already clear about these points but the Department of Human Services has up to now been blatantly disregarding it, assuming an illusory power to add its own restrictions.

So what this means is that you need an appropriately qualified general practitioner to write a letter that states that they have examined your child and their medical history and considered the Immunisation Handbook contraindications guidelines and have come to the decision that vaccinating is medically contraindicated for your child. You then qualify for a medical exemption and can still access your childcare payments/rebates and FTB A lump sum supplementary payment. Here is the AAT ruling re ‘No Jab, No Pay’, 15 Feb 2017 (redactions applied) for you to show your GP and for your own reading. This great result is important because it leaves the decision of whether a medical exemption is appropriate back in the hands of the GP and NOT in the hands of the Department of Human Services (which includes Centrelink, Australian Immunisation Register, Medicare etc)

Who is an appropriately qualified general practitioner?

They were considered by the tribunal as being:

  • a recognised Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and/or
  • registered as a general practitioner under the Vocational Register of General Practitioners, and/or
  • a medical practitioner who meets Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine fellowship standards.

You can look up your GP to see if they are eligible (please see compliance notes,section 2 on page 2 of the GP letter) to provide a medical exemption letter here.

This is letter was drawn up by the wonderful Bronwyn Hancock, for your GP to fill out to satisfy the medical exemption for your medically contraindicated child.Certification-of-medical-contraindication-by-GP-No-Jab-No-PayAlternative-to-AIRs-IM011-form(1)

Just get your GP to send it in to the Australian Immunisation Register and they will let Centrelink know that your child now meets all of the immunisation requirements. Please let me know how you go!

1) The “No Jab, No Pay” vs “No Jab, No Play” Federal legislation

• “No Jab, No PAY”
This is Commonwealth legislation which affects families nationwide, but only to receipt of some social security benefits from the Commonwealth Government (via Centrelink). It does not stop enrolment or attendance in childcare directly. Apart from the Child Care Rebate and all Child Care Benefits (including Grandparent Child Care Benefit, Special Child Care Benefit or Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance), the only affected benefit is the Family Tax Benefit A end-of-year annual supplement (presently $726 per child). The other FTB Part A and Part B benefits are NOT affected. For 2016 only, you will receive half of your FTB A supplement payment as the legislation did not come in to effect until 1 January 2016. So if you were eligible for the supplement payment on the 31 December 2015 then you are eligible for $363 per child this year only. The FTB supplement payments are being phased out for everyone regardless of vaccination status by 2018.

• “No Jab, No PLAY” Victoria
This is the state legislation that has been passed this year in Victoria, so it only applies in Victoria and relates only to access to child care and kindergarten in Victoria after 1 January 2016.

Victorian 16 week grace period for enrolment in to childcare:

If you live in Victoria and may be affected after 1 January 2016 by the Victorian legislation, enrolment of your child (confirmed in writing) before 1 January 2016 will protect you from being impacted by this legislation. There is also a grace period of 16 weeks for vulnerable children;

Children eligible to be enrolled under the grace period include:

  • children identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • children who hold a health care card, or whose parents hold a health care card, a pensioner concession card, a Veterans Affairs Gold or White card
  • children who are refugees or asylum seekers
  • children who are known to child protection (that is, children who have been the subject of a report under the Children Youth and Families Act 2005, or who are on a protection order under the Act, or whose families are receiving support from a registered community service, including through a referral to CHILDFIRST or through Services Connect)
  • children who are living in emergency or crisis accommodation, accommodation supported by the Department of Health and Human Services, or is of no fixed address due to family violence or the risks of family violence or due to homelessness
  • children evacuated from their place of residence due to an emergency such as a flood or bushfire
  • children in emergency care within the meaning of section 3(1) of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005
  • children in the care of an adult who are not the child’s parent due to exceptional circumstances such as illness or incapacity
  • children from a multiple birth of triplets or more
  • any other circumstance specified in guidelines made by the Secretary to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The legislation does NOT allow for the children’s enrolment to be cancelled after the grace period ends, it only specifies that the childcare centre continue to provide support and information to the family.

“No Jab No Play” Queensland

Similar legislation has also been passed this year in Queensland but it only allows child care centres to be able to deny child care access  if they choose to based on vaccination staus(in Queensland). Enrolment of your child in child care in Queensland before 1 January 2016 will not provide any protection against any impact of this legislation.

“No Jab No Play” New South Wales

There is an Interim Conscientious Objection Exemption for access to child care in NSW only, because there has been no change to the relevant NSW legislation since the 2013 NSW “No Jab, No Play” legislation came into effect on 1 Jan 2014. Preschools in NSW will accept children regardless of vaccination status if they provide a Interim Conscientious Objection Exemption form filled out by a GP to the childcare centre of their choice. Unfortunately there was a review of this legislation and they are suggesting the need to do away with the Interim Conscientious Objection exemption now, so it is only a matter of time till NSW brings in the same draconian childcare laws as Victoria.

For those of you who are able to qualify for a medical exemption you can find the form here.

What can you do if your child is refused enrolment in to childcare?

For those parents whose children are banned from being enrolled in childcare based on their child’s vaccination status, you can also make a human rights complaint based on the fact that the state legislation breaches the federal  Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

Strange as it may seem, our children are recognised as having a disability because of their lack of vaccination so you can make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission. Here is a link that outlines how to place a complaint

http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/disabilities_antidiscrimination_law.html

UPDATE: A great new blog that spells out your rights under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, here is something that discriminated parents can do to fight back themselves.

https://tyrannicaltimes.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/your-rights-under-the-commonwealth-disability-discrimination-act/

Note however, in relation to all of these situations, the information in paragraph 4 below.

Which vaccines are linked to the benefits

The benefits to which “No Jab, No Pay” relates are not linked to the National Immunisation Program (NIP) schedule.

The benefits are instead linked to schedules that are set independently by the Minister.

The benefits-linked schedules include fewer vaccines than are on the NIP, especially in the case of older children, as seen in the schedules set out in these two legislative instruments:

Child Care Benefit (Vaccination Schedules) (Education) Determination 2015

Family Assistance (Vaccination Schedules) (DSS) Determination 2015

They do not include any of the vaccines that are on the NIP schedule for over 5 years of age (e.g. they do not include the HPV vaccine).

They also do not include all of the vaccines that are on the NIP schedule for under 5 years of age (e.g. they do not include any doses of the rotavirus vaccine, nor the hepatitis b vaccine birth dose, which is on the NIP for infants under 7 days old).

“Valid consent” restriction upon Immunisation Providers

Immunisation Providers (IPs) will continue to be prohibited at law from vaccinating without voluntary and informed consent.

Voluntary consent requirement

The Immunisation Provider (IP) will continue to have a legal duty of care, in relation to each vaccine before it is administered:

• to make a reasonable attempt to ensure that the parent’s consent is given “voluntarily in the absence of undue pressure, coercion or manipulation” (as explained in Section 2.1.3 Valid Consent of the Australian Immunisation Handbook)

Without voluntary consent, an IP cannot legally vaccinate the child and doing so may result in the IP being held liable for civil assault and any resultant injury, loss or damage.

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Law versus guidelines, and how that affects responsibility and liability

If the parent requests a GP/IP to assess their child in relation to:
• whether a medical exemption is appropriate (i.e. one or more vaccinations are “not in the best interests of the child’s health”), and/or
• determining the appropriate catch-up schedule (i.e. which, if any, vaccine doses are appropriate to include and when), the GP/IP ought to be informed or reminded of the following, before submitting to strictly follow the wording in any guide or form:

The Australian Immunisation Handbook is only a general guide

The “No Jab, No Pay” and related legislation directs the Immunisation Provider (IP) and/or general practitioner to the Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th edition (“the Handbook”) for guidance in relation to assessment for medical exemptions or catch-up schedules.

However, and contrary to the restrictive and definitive appearance of the medical exemption form, the Australian Government states in disclaimers that the Handbook “reflects the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of the Australian Government” and is only “a general guide”. It warns that “it is possible that errors have been missed” in relation to “dosage recommendations”, which “are continually being revised and new adverse events recognized.” The Handbook itself is also not definitive in a number of areas.

Because it has been “identified that the assessment of medical contraindication can be complex” (as stated in the Explanatory Notes to the “No Jab, No Pay” Bill), an amendment made to the relevant legislation is that “a general practitioner, not a recognised immunisation provider, would now be required to make the certification in relation to medical contraindication”.

The legislation does not refer to any medical exemption form, the only condition it imposes in relation to assessment of medical contraindications is that: The child meets the immunisation requirements if a general practitioner has certified in writing that the immunisation of the child would be medically contraindicated under the specifications set out in the Australian Immunisation Handbook. (new Subsection 6(3)(a) of the Act)

The Senate also passed a Notice of Motion on 23 November 2015 recognising “that it is of critical importance that general practitioners remain able to use their clinical judgement in assessing children who are eligible for medical exemption”.

Liability will still likely rest with IP/GP or parent

The Australian Government, having taken such steps to ensure that the responsibility for such decisions will be carried by entities other than itself – primarily general practitioners (for medical exemptions), Immunisation Providers (for catch-up schedules) and/or parents, continues to “not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information” in the Handbook.

For further information, please contact us and we will try our best to help you.

This information was compiled by Bronwyn Hancock.

There is a follow up post that you can find here:

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133 thoughts on “(This blog has been and will be constantly updated, in order to keep all of this helpful information in one place) No Jab, No Pay/Play – implications for conscientious objecting families in Australia

  1. Thanks, just after some clarity on the grace period stuff….
    So if I continue to have my little one in childcare, and don’t get her vaccinated, am I able to continue paying less for childcare during the grace period or will I have to pay full rates…. Thanks
    Lin

    • Hi Lin,
      You will continue to get those childcare payments you had before 1 Jan 2016 for the 63 days before they are stopped. There are also informal child minding arrangements being negotiated between families in our community, so you could even save money on childcare this way.

      • My daughter has five children, that means a $3,500 per year loss if she doesnt vaccinate. She already has three diagnosed with autism. Goverment is killing our children, on behalf of big pharma profits.

      • I know this doesn’t make soften the blow much for your daughter but the supplement payment will be taken away from everyone else by 2018 as well. It is really hard to see families like your daughter’s suffering unnecessarily because the government doesn’t want to believe that children are being hurt by vaccination, this really needs to change!

    • I have been told that the existing Medical exemption will be accepted up till the 1 Jan 2016, so it would seem to suggest that existing ME’s will stand. It would only be those who are new applicants after the 1 Jan that would need to change to the new one, but you can double check this information with Centrelink.

  2. Thank you. If i don’t have a CO form submitted and am not receiving any payment currently.. Is there any benefit to submit one before the end of the year ? I live in Victoria..

    • Does anyone know what qualifies as a Medical Exemption? Can it be as simple as stating the risk and acknowledging the dangers that are known, documented, on the packs etc & calling that a medical exemption based on the fact that your child is as likely as any to have one of the many adverse effects?

    • It depends where you are and whether you have preschool aged children, in NSW you still need a CO form to enrol your child in preschool. But if you don’t have preschool aged children then it would not seem worthwhile to get a CO right now.

      • My child is 2.5 years old. We live in Victoria. With the no jab no play policy, she will not be able to be enrolled in kinder. No chidcare is wiling to take her in although the policy mention that if they provide a confirm enrolment in writing she will be accepted before the end of the year. But the worse bit is she wont be able to enrol in kinder the following year. I feel so defeated.

      • I rang the immunisation nurse from the health.vic.gov to clarify the no jab no play policy that a written enrolment before end of 2015 will not be affected. However I was told that some childcare can choose to not enroll depending on their own policy..
        And unfortunately the ones that i have been dealing with mention that they are not accepting any enrolments for next year if child is not immunized..
        If only Human rights can stand up and fight for the CO to be reinstated again.
        Also why are the people in Victoria being discriminated from the rest of the states of Australia ?
        In NSW with CO form, enrolment can still be accepted in pre-school.
        In VIC even with CO form, no enrolment will be accepted. That means non-immunised pre-school kids in Victoria will be deprived kinder.
        Isn’t that discrimination from state to state ?

  3. What is an ‘approved schedule’ approved by an ‘immunisation provider’? Can that just simply be an agreement with the GP on a schedule that is agreed upon consulting parents also or is it a binding schedule in line with the bi-monthly schedule till they are up to date?
    In addition, if they are sick and miss the schedule do you have to complete a medical exemption form (temporary exclusion) form each time?

    • I would go to a doctor that you trust and who respects your views and ask them, because the wording is very vague on this. It says that if you enter in to a catch up schedule, your child will be recorded as having their immunisation requirements met. Please let us know what you find out too 🙂

      • Sadly as Gp s we are no longer able to fall back on our own knowledge and experience for opinion. A child that is considered medically exempt must be referred to a specialist paediatrician . In most cases they will administer at the dictate of government or AMA legislation based on the least likely result of litigation.Patient best interest outcome is least on their agenda.The criteria for exemption is well engineered toward almost zero exemption rate.Whilst many independent thinking well educated healthcare workers across the board are well aware of the shortfalls in the vaccination programme ( especially the blatant omission of a sensitivity testing schedule ) we are quite powerless in terms of the dictate of legislation. Keep making noise!!. There are ALOT of medical degree individuals totally opposed to the new policy on multiple grounds. You are more supported than you might realise!

      • Is the catch up schedule only as determined by the schedule outlined in the handbook as per age or can we negotiate? In addition, if my child is sick and I end up going on to a catch up schedule I have found many friends have immunised there kids due to pressure from gp even when they sick, which is a common theme. Although it states in the handbook that they don’t recommend giving vaccinations whilst kids are sick I am sure that they have already covered this expecting ppl to use it as a loop hole and will force us to complete a form and visit a gp each time they are sick which will be very frustrating dealing with Centrelink each time….I have had multiple visits due to loss of forms and many phone calls to Centrelink having cut funds due their own internal processing issues.

      • They don’t state when the catch up schedule must be completed by just that you enter in to one to qualify, so I believe negotiations would definitely be the way to go 🙂

      • Hello again,
        I am finding it very difficult to seek a GP that shares my views and also administers vaccines, we live in BNE.
        Any suggestions of websites/GP’s?
        Even though we have decided to vaccinate under this new pressure, I am really not happy with the schedule and splitting vaccines is not always available or appropriate considering they will end up having duplicate of those not needed due to some not being able to be split.
        I have spent a lot of money, time in travel and off work to try to resolve this only to end up back at y pro vaccine GP who was especially rude the last visit I can only assume due to the fact that she is pregnant and thinks I am affecting her own fetus by not vaccinating.
        Vaccinating does not sit well with me however my husband has never shared my view and sits mostly on the other side of the fence, although he is also not happy with the rigorous schedule set by the govt as advised by our GP.
        GP’s please help me.
        I am not comfortable vaccinating when my little one isn’t well but GP advises that only fevers can deter them vaccinating. I am sure that the previous handbook advised that it is not advisable to vaccinate when sick?
        Thank you
        Nicky

      • Hi Nicky,
        YOU decide if or when your child is vaccinated.
        Period.
        You keep searching, there are plenty of doctors that will work with you. It is mandatory that you are read the AMA required blurb. Dont be put off by that.A doctor that is not prepared to work with you is not a doctor you want managing you and your family in any case.

  4. Thankyou for this info. I am so glad I got my child thru his childhood with out having him injected with who knows what! So many brainwashed people around who relentlessly swallow the government/big pharma bs.

  5. Pingback: No Jab, No Pay/Play – implications for families presently holding a conscientious objection in Australia | thrivalinternational

  6. Mate, thanks for your untiring efforts. I have been trying to educate myself for several years, since having children. Your info has been a great help. A great shame that more people did not/do not stand up and be counted for this petition. But, like most people these days, they just follow the leader.
    Once again, thanks.

  7. I believe the following link
    http://immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/fact-sheet-no-jab-no-pay
    has a link to a
    PDF (see that link further below) which contains all the information in regards to what is required depending on age and a valid catch up schedule to qualify for Family Assistance benefits.
    It also talks about serology testing and has a link to new forms from 1 Jan 16 to be completed re medical exemption and natural immunity.
    http://immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/375B788BBCB7EC0FCA257F110017177E/$File/No-Jab-No-Pay.pdf
    From this PDF I also believe that there may be certain children who if have had some immunisations according to their age and catch up schedule may require few if any to qualify especially if through serology they can prove natural immunity.
    The PDF lists a table with the number of doses required, the GP subtracts the number of doses received and then devises a catch up plan.
    e.g. child aged between 10 -19 after 1 Jan 16 – DTP requires 3 peadiatric doses, the schedule has four in total, so if your child had all their vaccinations except the 4 year old ones then they would not have to have the another DTP to qualify because they already had 3
    View the document, hopefully for your particular situation the information is clear.

  8. Hi, does anyone know about ‘deferring the vaccinations’ as stated on the old exemption form? This was suggested to me but what happens post the deffered date?

    • Amanda, I would like to know that too. How much time would they deem be acceptable to defer eg 6 months, 3 years. Could you extend it if you still haven’t made your mind up.

      • This is something you will have to negotiate with your doctor, the catch up schedule is a bit of a grey area so if you have a trusted doctor that understands and supports you, you should be able to work together to find a schedule that you feel happy with.

  9. Would anybody know how we can find out if there are any child care centres that are willing to take unvaccinated children? We live near Beenleigh and the childcare centre my granddaughter is at is refusing to take unvaccinated children. Myself and the other grandma can take her one day a week each which means two days is affordable for my daughter but we need to find a place that will actually accept her! Any help would be so greatly appreciated, thank you.

    • Hi Gillian, they are not allowed to discriminate against your granddaughter based on her vaccination status. Not being vaccinated comes under the protection of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, please read this article which tells you how to make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission. http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/disabilities_antidiscrimination_law.html
      Also if you email me at tashamdavid@gmail.com I will help you with finding a support network in your area 🙂

      • I thought this was exempt if it’s ‘for public health’ reasons it can be considered not discrimination they have closed lots of loop holes. Also the legislation I have read has been geared recently to protect those providers that refuse to take kids that aren’t vaccinated. My child is in family day care, it is up to the individual licensee and would be within their interests to have their home full of kids no matter what. As far as I know the child care scheme doesn’t control this issue and may be more user friendly and you can search a lot easier by the interview process.

      • Yes it does have an exemption for public health reasons, but the NSW govt received legal advice that to ban children for vaccination status would breach the Disability Discrimination Act and this is why they did not remove the conscientious objection exemptions from childcare enrolment in NSW. This page from the VAIS has a screen shot of the NSW hansard that touches on this http://www.vaccinationawareness.com.au/Vaccine_Exemptions.html
        So there must be something to this avenue of complaint.

      • The Disability Discrimination Act is Commonwealth legislation and State law cannot supercede federal law, so it covers everybody in Australia.

      • This is very good news, thank you. Either myself or my daughter Sian will email you in regards to the support network. We so appreciate your help! 🙂
        I think Family Day Care is a good idea too, so we can investigate that option as well.

      • The state law in Victoria however state that they can reject applicants in child care and kinder who are not vaccinated..so my daughter is facing the same problem. Why is it different from state to state ? Isnt that discrimination?

      • State law cannot breach Commonwealth law so it doesn’t matter what each states law says about whether you can or cannot discriminate against our children, the Disability Discrimination Act says you can’t unless it breaches public health. So there would be the argument you would have to defend against.

      • Hi Tasha,
        I would like to email you if that is ok? I’m so glad I found this page, I haven’t been able to find anyone else that is not vaccinating and would like to find other mums in my area.

        I too have been looking into childcare options for my 21 month old son & there are quite a few that will not accept unvaccinated children, even in family day care, the scheme has no control over this, it is up to the individual educators. They for some reason seem to think that my child will make the other children sick. Apparently they can do that, and the government has given them “legal rights” to refuse children who are not vaccinated by implementing this law. The ones that are vaccinating want all the children in the centre to be vaccinated.
        It is not just in Victoria, it is in Queensland also. I am in Toowoomba. I am a single mother. I am horrified that I am being punished for making health choices for my child & cannot afford the cost of child care @ $80/day! and family day care is not even any cheaper as I thought it would be. I will be needing child care as I have to do my prac for uni! what really makes me angry is that I’m studying to complete a degree, which will eventually benefit them! yet they make it impossible to complete by punishing me!
        I havent told my family Im not immunising either, my mother keeps saying “why dont you put him into child care, you should get a rebate” my reply- I cannot afford it still and would rather put the money towards activities. I dont know what else to say as I do not want the arguments.
        I am also concerned about making noise about this, as they could get the docs involved. I believe it is becoming like America here. I have heard of mothers getting their children taken because they are accused of neglecting them and threatened by doctors to get it done.
        Anyway I will keep reading here and hopefully I’ll be able to find some support network, other mums who are in the same situation.
        thanks 🙂

      • I look forward to your email 🙂

        There are definitely options available Mazza, our support networks are getting bigger and reaching further, so hopefully we can help you out asap!

      • Hi Mazza, any doctor that conducts themselves in a manner to be above the law or the Hippocratic oath is walking on thin ice. We have no grounds what so ever to make threats or act on behalf of other family members with regard to vaccination status.The AMA is pretty quick to dictate what our stance should be and that we are obliged to ‘educate’ our patients to their recommendations.Any doctor that make threats or acts beyond that should be dealt with through the appropriate legal channels. Arm yourself with information and stand tall, don’t be afraid. You re at Uni, you can observe first hand the contemporary” parrot fashion” of teaching. It is usually the minority that think laterally and question current theories. I was asked on radio recently,”why is it with “you lot” that when the minority disagrees with the majority, its a conspiracy?”
        My answer was, “no conspiracy, its just that the majority are sheep and the harsh reality in that is that there is no safety in siding with the ignorant mass”.
        Strong words, but sometimes points need to be driven hard!
        As I ve said before, there are way more people not vaccinating through their own education and research than we are lead to believe.

    • Thank you.
      So does that mean that the no jab no play legislation in Victoria is in breach of the commonwealth law ? Can that be a valid ground to reinstate the Conscientious Objection in Victoria ?
      If only there are lawyers who can fight this argument..

  10. Thank you for your responses. We are catching up with our doctor next wk, however I am not sure how long to ask for, and not sure what the ramifications are if we chose not to vaccinate post the deferred time. Such limited information out there from the gov departments on this.

    • It states that if you enter in to a catch up schedule during the 63 day grace period your child’s immunisation requirements are considered met, so you choose the schedule that you are happy with and see what happens. If there is an issue you can then deal with it then, just don’t rush in to anything you are not comfortable with.

  11. Thank you.
    So does that mean that the no jab no play legislation in Victoria is in breach of the commonwealth law ?
    If only there are lawyers who can fight this argument..

      • Taken from the website from health.vic.gov.au..makes me feel so disheartened 😦

        Do the ‘No Jab, No Play’ laws breach human rights?

        The Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities is a law that protects the human rights of all people in Victoria. The rights in the charter may be subject to reasonable limitation. Reasonable limitation involves balancing the rights of the individual with the need for government to protect the broader public interest especially in relation to public safety, health and order.

        The benefits of immunisation are overwhelming, preventing death and disability, and protecting not only the individual but others in the community who cannot be vaccinated.

        The public health risks of failing to vaccinate are so great, which is why the Government is committed to implementing the ‘No Jab, No Play’ law to boost immunisation rates in the community.

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  14. Subbing the thread. Our family comes from non English speaking background, and we were counting kinder as a way to pick up English before school. We live in Victoria so “no jab no play” puts my kids into position where they have to start school with no English knowledge at all. This puts them into disadvantage – could you please advise whether this is discriminatory, and whom to complain?

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  16. Thank you for a very easy to read summary of the shitstorm that is this new legislation. I do have a question if like further clarification on though please. I ask center link about the grace period and was told it was in fact true, but I would however need to see my go to have a letter sent to the ACIR request ion the grace period. Is that correct or does the grace period become effective automatically/immediately on the 1st of Jan 2015?

    I appreciate you help with this.

    • Well, there seems to be NO END to the imaginative answers coming out of the mouths of Centrelink staff. GPs have nothing to do with the grace period. They come into the picture specifically ONLY with respect to the assessment of medical exemptions.

      Whether or not parents already have claims that have been processed is the critical factor in relation to the grace period. “No Jab, No Pay” abolishes the grace period but ONLY for new claims. Otherwise the grace period continues to be provided by the legislation, without any need for parents to apply for it.

      The wording of the legislation is here:
      A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 Section 42: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/antsaa1999357/s42.html

      It states that “(1) An individual is conditionally eligible for child care benefit by fee reduction for care provided by an approved child care service to a child if… (c) (ii) a pre-notice period is operating in respect of the individual and the child…, or (iiii) a 63 day notice period is operating in respect of the individual and the child”.

      “No Jab, No Pay” inserts paragraph (1AA) which states that: “Subparagraphs (1)(c)(ii) and (iii) do not apply in relation to an individual in connection with the Secretary DETERMINING A CLAIM by the individual for payment of child care benefit by fee reduction for care provided by an approved child care service.”

      This notice, from the Dept of Education and Training, explains to SOME extent the grace period circumstances, and better than the Centrelink letter does (the latter does not even mention the grace period at all!), but still not as clearly as it could do: https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/no_jab_no_pay_-_changes_to_immunisation_requirements.pdf

      The media release of 7 December by the Minister for Human Services, which is here: http://www.mhs.gov.au/media/media_releases/2015/12/07_12_2015_-_families_notified_of_new_immunisation_requirements also states this, correctly with respect to this aspect:

      “Parents do not need to do anything or call the department at this stage.
      “We… will provide specific instructions at the beginning of next year before any payments are affected.
      “Parents will have plenty of time to meet the new requirements.”

      • Thank you so much for that clarification. Yes it does appear that there is much misinformation being touted around the place. I appreciate concise info such as you have provided.

  17. Hi there! I found out from Centrelink today that if you don’t vaccinate your child within the 63 day grace period you’ll have to pay the money back. No my situation would be as a single parent that’s $2600! I haven’t got this info I’m writing funnily enough it wasn’t available. My thinking is though that they’d be taking money back of someone already in financial hardship for a medical procedure they refused to have. Surely that’s illegal??

    • Hi Aneala, once again the information everyone is getting from Centrelink changes depending on who you speak to. There is no mention of having to pay back any money given to you during the 63 day grace period. The new legislation just takes away the grace period from new applicants it doesn’t change it for those who already receive these benefits.

      • Although I have not accessed any child care for my son, I did make enquiries last year, they have in the system because I am on a pension, they are telling me that I am still in the ‘grace’ period until next month, and entitled to rebates & benefits, so if I did put my son into child care now, I could still access the benefits and rebate until that grace period finishes. But there’s really no point in me doing that, as it will only be a few weeks then I’ll have to pay full price!

  18. Hi polymumof8, currently I have son that is in grade one this year and my other younger son just managed to hit kinder 4 as we applied just before the Jan 1 2016 “mandatory” vaccine. How going forward, we received a letter from Centrelink in relations to Family Tax Benefit and child care assist payment. Now firstly, child care we don’t need to worry as my wife is a full time house wife. The Family Tax A will be abolished from us. However, money wise not really a problem. Main problem is getting our son’s education. I haven’t got around to read majority of the stuff in relations to this new law as there are so much things to read and understand as well as lot of different information broadcast from various sources. My question is, this so called mandatory vaccine for our children only applies to Child Care and Kindergarten kids and NOT primary age kids and high school students.

    • Hi Joseph, first off, it is the family tax benefit A supplementary payment($726 per child per year) that is being taken away, not the full family tax benefit A payment. The childcare payments are also being taken away but it does not affect children being enrolled in to primary or secondary school, only the childcare payments. So I hope that helps put your mind at ease in regards to your son’s education 🙂

      • Hi Poly, thanks for the reply and sorry for not replying back for me to say thanks as you’ve done quite a lot with the community in regards to this issue that we have to face going forward. I have sad news today, received a call from my wife that she ha receievd a call from the class teacher of my 4 year old son that he cannot come to school tomorrow because they have found out he has not been vaccinated. Prior to this, last year he was enrolled successfully before the mandate 01/01/2016 and school accepted and we made payment all good. Today my wife took my son to school for interview with the teacher, all was good then several hours later just when school hours had finished she received the call. This has got both my wife and I frustrated and pissed off because 1. We enrolled our son to kinder 4 prior to the mandate, 2. School had full knowledge of the exemption form about the vaccine and they have accepted and happy 3. We ask the office as well and both were all positive and good 4. We paid $350 for term one payment. Now we are just devastated because of this last minute phone call. Instead of telling my wife, hey we have a situation regarding your son, can we please have have a missing to discuss. Instead the teacher advised my wife “we can’t let your son start tomorrow. He needs to be vaccinated”. What the flap? Quite disappointed right now, not sure what my stance is. I did contact the school and asked for the kinder coordinator as they make the decision and not the class teacher. She wasn’t available as she had left so tomorrow I’ll have to follow it up although they said (reception) they’ll leave a message for me to contact me back. Do the school have legal rights to reject students? This was all submitted pior to mandate and now they have changed their minds!!

      • Hi Joseph,

        That is disgraceful of that Centre to not follow the policy of the Victorian Government in regards to exemptions for the new legislation. Can you please email me at tashamdavid@gmail.com I have some information that may be helpful 🙂 On 28 Jan 2016 8:09 pm, “Poly Mum of eight” wrote:

        >

      • Hi Joseph, it s always concerning to hear that a teacher may be taking on administrative roles outside of their job requirement.The grey area here is as to weather it is considered that you are seeking for your child to attend school, pre school or Kindy. In a private school situation administration usually has the right to refuse any student on nearly any grounds.Public schools however must abide by the constitution where every student has the right to an education. To my knowledge, a public school has no authority to refuse a child on the grounds of vaccination status. A teacher most certainly does not hold the right to.Please don’t be too distressed by your experience as it is most likely a circumstance of ignorance.

  19. What does it mean to ‘enter into a catch up schedule’? Does it mean that the schedule is determined with GP & an injection administered for it to be formalised in the Centrelink system?

    • There is no real black and white guidelines on when the catch up schedule will begin, so it is really up to you and your GP to work out when that will be. It certainly doesn’t say that you have to have had a vaccine to have officially entered in to a catch up schedule.

  20. Hi i would be very interested to hear of outcome – response ( if any) you recieve in response to sending this form to centre link.
    Thanks for this great informative piece its clear and complete thank you.

  21. Hi!
    Thanks so much for all the info.
    I have 9 mth old twins and a 2 yr old but not vaccinated at the moment.
    We really want my 2 yr old to go into childcare, she loves playing with other kids and we can’t afford to pay it out of pocket.
    I got recommended a GP to talk about vaccines and I am hoping to get a med. exemption (however after reading how strict the legislation is, not sure if it will work).
    So if I take the form you provided about the involuntary consent, what benefits do Ihave from that? Do I submit that form to centrelink? And then?
    Sorry, I just can’t get it … 🙂
    Thanks for your response!
    Josi

    • You can take the form to Centrelink to show that you have done everything in your power to comply with the legislation but the doctors refuse to vaccinate your child, and if they still refuse to reinstate your benefits, then make a complaint. If this does not help, there are Facebook groups of parents who have come together to arrange child minding to enable them to be able to continue working and studying, so this might be another option. The legislation includes Child Care Rebate and all Child Care Benefits (including Grandparent Child Care Benefit, Special Child Care Benefit or Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance), the only affected benefit is the Family Tax Benefit A end-of-year annual supplement (presently $726 per child). The other FTB Part A and Part B benefits are NOT affected.

  22. Hello,
    I was asked if the 6 in 1 vaccine is a mixture of the six vaccines containing the six separate lots of preservatives and adjuvants all mixed together and I didn’t know the answer. It seemed to me to be a good question.
    Anyone here know the answer?

  23. Hello,
    My daughter is now in this situation, the child care rebate situation, and during our conversation I was asked if the 6 in 1 vaccine is a mixture of the six vaccines containing the six separate lots of preservatives and adjuvants all mixed together and I didn’t know the answer. It seemed to me to be a good question. Does anyone here know the answer?
    Thanks . . . . .
    I sent a similar reply a few minutes ago but don’t know if it was to be posted so sorry if I’ve messed up by sending this second one . . . . . .

    • Personally I would decline that 6 in one vaccine injection to your daughter. Regardless whether which type of vaccines has different ingredient than the other, having one shot of vaccine from 6 other is just asking for trouble. Now this is my opinion and its up to you to decide and choose what is best for your daughter. There’s plenty of information online, right now I don’t have the links with me, when I have time I’ll post it up.

      • monovalent vaccines are no longer available in this country, only hexa(poly)valent, this in itself effectively reduces our choice, again by companies that believe they know best. Preservatives vary and there would be cases where 1 hexavalent has the same amount of preservative as 1 monovalent, so having 6 monovalents potentially exposes one to 6 times the preservatives. This is a variable though and would need to be clarified by the vacc manufacturer, and then put it on your doctor, vacc nurse or pharmacist to give you a signed written form detailing EVERYTHING in the vaccine. If they wont, or can’t, you have reasonable and legal rights to not vaccinate and if push came to shove, that would stand as an exemption.

  24. Hi
    I lodged a CO form with centrelink back in Nov 2015 for my baby boy. As this was before the 1/1/2016 cut off, does that mean I can still get FTA/FTB? It’s all rather murky deoending on who you speak to =/

    • Hi Karen,

      Even with the new vaccine laws you still get your family tax benefit A and B payments, it is the childcare payments and family tax benefit A supplement payment (the $726 per child, per year)that is being taken away. It is hard to know what the truth is when you are told so much conflicting information, but that is one thing you can be sure of 🙂

      • hi polymumof8
        thanks for all your hard work. i have a question relating to the above. i have a CO for all 3 of my kids signed and dated previous to 1/1/16. while i understand that i won’t receive the supplement part – do you get back paid on this? I have never handed it in.

      • Hi, there do seem to be time frames for back payment of approved claims from Centrelink, here is a link https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/subjects/time-limits-claiming-family-payments
        Can I ask if you submitted your CO forms to Medicare yet, because if you haven’t then that would have to be done first. There is no harm in trying anyway especially if you were eligible for these payments in the first place, the worst that can happen is that they say no.

      • ok no i haven’t submitted them yet to medicare … i was just going to send them to the address on the CO form. How do i send them to Medicare. i have got copy and got these signed by a JP as Ive heard that sometimes they go ‘missing’

      • Just send the copies to the address on the form and hold on to the originals, as they can be lost in transit. It saves you having to go back to the doctor and doing it all over again.

  25. I have a 5yo who is unvaccinated & is now in school, I also have a 2yo who has a medical exemption (February 16) from all vaccinations & is in childcare. I received notice from Centrelink that because 5yo is unvaccinated they would be cutting Childcare benefits for the 2yo even though she has full medical exemption. Can they do that?

    • They absolutely cannot remove child care payments from your child with a medical exemption. You need to ring Centrelink and speak to someone about this, as it states quite clearly in the legislation that a child with a medical exemption satisfies the vaccination requirements for childcare payments. We are seeing a lot of mistakes coming from Centrelink in regards to the new vaccine laws, they are as confused as the rest of us!

    • I wish I shared your confidence in centrelink being confused. To my understanding, in an attempt to “streamline” the system, no vaccination defaults to no payment until an objection is made. It is financially convenient for them so we are seeing confusion between conc’ objections and medical exemptions, so they are all lumped into the same. The general staff are not educated in these matters so once an objection is made it goes to a specialised “resolution” team. It s frustrating and annoying, but keep giving them the information until they get it right.

      • Well that is even more disturbing Dr John, it shows just how important it is that we as a community share information and support each other, so that we are not taken advantage of. The more organised we become, the stronger we will be 🙂

    • Whoa im in the same boat then!
      It never occurred to me that Id be penalised for not having my 5.5 YO up to date. Bugger – I thought Id be able to keep him from getting involved in this.

      • Zoe, If you get childcare payments for your 5.5yr old as well family tax benefit A supplement payment then he will be affected by the laws, but if you don’t get childcare payments for him then it will only be the supplement payment that you lose out on for him.

  26. Thank you for this info. Our youngest daughter was enrolled in a daycare September 2015, to start 18 January 2016. She had one vaccination when she was 3mths old. Since she was 1 Medicare have had our CO form.
    When I applied for CCR and CCB Centrelink said I wasn’t eligible, I’m assuming it’s because of my daughters’ vaccination status. So we’ve been paying $90 a day 😦 We haven’t received any communication from Centrelink re having to vaccinate her.
    My question is, how do I get the 63 day grace period happening for us as we would dearly love a couple of months of paying $40 instead of $90 a day!! Thank you so much for any help 🙂

    • Hi, I am really sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the 63 day grace period was only for those who already received the CCR and CCB payments before the 1st January 2016. If you are interested in alternative childminding arrangements, there are groups of parents getting together to help each other out so if you are interested please email me at tashamdavid@gmail.com 🙂

  27. Thank you for posting all your knowledge. I was devastated to learn of the governments decision to make childcare so inaccessible for those of us who dare disagree with them. I notice in one of your comments you stated that the supplement payments will be taken away from everyone by 2018. I am just starting my child in daycare and am slowing working my way through all the red tape, do you mind going a bit more in depth regarding the eventual stopping of payments for everyone, not just for those of us that choose not to vaccinate? Thank you.

    • Hi Melissa, the family tax benefit A supplementary payment ($726 per child per year) is being reduced this year for anyone eligible for it and then again next year, till it is completely withdrawn in 2018. They are also phasing out the family tax benefit B supplement payment as well under the same timeline.

      “Phase out the family tax benefit Part A and Part B supplements

      The Bill will phase out the family tax benefit Part A supplement by reducing it to
      $602.25 a year from 1 July 2016, and to $302.95 a year from 1 July 2017. It will then
      be withdrawn from 1 July 2018.

      The family tax benefit Part B supplement will also be phased out. It will be reduced
      to $302.95 a year from 1 July 2016, and to $153.30 a year from 1 July 2017. It will
      then be withdrawn completely from 1 July 2018.”
      http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/bill_em/sslapsrapmb2015992/memo_0.html

  28. Thanks Natalie,

    If your daughter was already enrolled and attending childcare before the 1st January 2016 then your daughter is still entitled to attend childcare and they cannot ask her to leave. As for the old medical exemption form that was discontinued from the 1st January as well unfortunately, but it may be worth your while to still try and get a medical exemption signed even if it is only temporary. I wish I could suggest more options but it is harder for families of special needs children than it is for anyone with these new laws, which makes me so angry! They are hurting the most vulnerable families in Australia and in their ignorance they actually think that they are protecting families, it is so frustrating! The sooner these laws are repealed the better.
    Please let me know how you go as I really wish the best for you and your little girl, I just wish I could have done something to help xxx

  29. Here is the link to the Victorian Health Dept on No Jab No Play, I would suggest printing it out and showing them or emailing it to them.

    “When does the ‘No Jab, No Play’ law come into effect?

    The law came into effect on 1 January 2016.

    Enrolments for a place at an early childhood service commencing at the beginning of 2016 that are confirmed in writing by the service before the legislation came into effect will not be impacted by the legislation.

    Being registered on a waiting list for a place at an early childhood service is not a confirmed enrolment.”

    https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/immunisation/vaccination-children
    /no-jab-no-play/frequently-asked-questions

    You can definitely email me at tashamdavid@gmail.com 🙂

  30. How do I make my voice louder? What action can I take or who can I talk to as we have been passed from pilar to post and that is after we have started vaccines through gp. ACIR will not confirm or deny anything to us, Centrelink is pot luck who you talk to and no one person has all the I formation and our GP is unwilling/unable to call ACIR and in addition are mis informed and willing to let someone else decide when my child should have a medical procedure. There is a massive amount of people in the same boat as us, But I feel silent as no one knows the answers or how to make it change. Please help

  31. Pingback: The Family Tax Benefit Fiasco | Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.

  32. Hi, I’m the father of an eleven year old boy with High Functioning Autism (Aspergers). He has had no immunisations. We recently got our GP to fill out an exemption form for us due to our son’s extreme anxiety, (his anxiety is considered extreme even for those on the spectrum, where anxiety is the norm) and acute sensitivity to pain. The authorities got back to us saying that as our son was not known to be anaphylactic to immunisation ingredients that he could not claim an exemption. Is this correct? Is there a way our doctor could have worded things differently for a better outcome. I’d like to fight this if I can. Thanks so much for your site and support.

    • Hi Paul,
      Unfortunately they tightened the medical exemption to make it extremely hard to get so they could force as many children as possible to be vaccinated or get penalised. If you do not need childcare payments then you are only missing out on the family tax benefit A supplement payment (which is $726 per child per year) this payment is being scrapped for everyone anyway so you may not need to get a medical exemption for him. All of the other payments are not tied to vaccination so you still receive family tax benefit A and B etc. Also the AVN is in the process of taking the government to the High Court to repeal the No Jab No Pay laws too, so hopefully we will see the end of the need for our children to be vaccinated against our will.
      I hope this helps 🙂

  33. Hi, thank you for your greatly inspiring blog. Because our son was born in February 2016 as opposed to 2015 and before) and we do not support vaccinations, am I right in gathering that we are unable to claim either FTB A or B?
    Your response is appreciated:-)

    • Hi Guy, Family Tax benefit A and B are not affected by No Jab No Pay, so are not tied to vaccination status. It is only the Family Tax Benefit A SUPPLEMENT payment ($726 per child per year) but this is being phased out for all eligible families by 2018 anyway. The other payments affected are all related to childcare payments so if your child is not in childcare then this does not affect you.
      I hope this helps 🙂

      • Yes the whole event was conveniently timed to black mail the public, with a payment that the governing powers fully intended to phase out in any case. Read into that what you will, but it proves a situation of control through misinformation and lack of all the information making “informed” choices near impossible. Not conducive to trust in the system !

      • Most definitely Patricia, it was all about scoring brownie points to save a sinking political party, how despicable is it to use the lives and bodies of our children to help prop up their popularity? But it unfortunately to be expected in politics…

      • Hi, So if we are looking after our son at home, not accessing childcare, can we access FTB B? We are confused as some of our friends who have slightly older children (born in 2015) are collecting FTB B.
        Centrelink staff have been dismissive and confused and given us different answers which makes us wonder…

  34. Guy, you can access Family tax benefit A and B if you are eligible, vaccination status does not apply to these fortnightly payments. Only the Family Tax Benefit A “supplement” payment and childcare payments are affected by No Jab No Pay legislation. If any Centrelink employees try to say otherwise, ask to speak to a supervisor. Sometimes I find ringing the Call Centre can be better, because you can get their name and it is on record 🙂

    • Sincere thanks for listening and advice. It is such a relief to talk to someone who understands what is going on! We are waiting on the phone now to talk to Centrelink.

      • You are more than welcome! There are so many families that are being told incorrect information about the legislation, which is why I wanted this blog here for people to refer to. Good luck and I hope you don’t have to wait too long 🙂

  35. Hi, I got a CO form signed in 2015 when my daughter was born. Is it correct that I can not use this for for preschool in NSW? I have only recently tried to enroll. I had to travel to a major city to get the original CO form and now it’s looking like it’s worthless.

  36. How do I apply for a 16 grace period ?? Am currently being harassed for a meeting with my sons kinder in relation to him not not being immunized . Just need some time to get this form signed .

  37. Hi,
    Is the information in this blog still accurate? In particular the medical exemption form for the GP to fill out attached at the top – instead of having to use the Medicare medical exemption form. THANKs in advance

    • Please read the AAT ruling from this year “AAT ruling re ‘No Jab, No Pay’, 15 Feb 2017 (redactions applied)” that outlines the tribunal’s decision and why. But to answer your question yes it is still accurate 🙂

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