Crikey welcomes the Abbott government’s decision — based on irrefutable scientific evidence that vaccinations vastly improve the health of a society — to remove welfare benefits from people who refuse to vaccinate their children.

The government is not suggesting criminalising the anti-vaccination movement (thereby forcing the movement underground, as some have suggested), but merely removing incentives from those who refuse to accept the science on vaccination.

Vaccination is not simply a matter of individual choice because it affects us all. When herd immunity is compromised, those who can’t be vaccinated — because they are too young, sick, or immunosuppressed — are the victims.

We now look forward to the Abbott government’s next evidence-based policy proposal. Will it be tackling human-induced climate change (also proven with irrefutable scientific evidence — and arguably the biggest public health crisis of our time) by removing incentives from big polluters? Will it stop pandering to advocates of wind turbine syndrome, of which dozens of peer-reviewed studies have found no evidence, and stop pretending the “War on Drugs” is anything but a hugely expensive failure? Or will it finally accept the evidence that the Great Barrier Reef is in serious danger?

Exciting times ahead.

Peter Fray

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