A ‘no jab no baby bonus’ scheme would act as a ‘carrot’ to vaccinate children and inject much-needed stimulus into the national economy, an expert says.
A ‘no jab no baby bonus’ scheme would act as a ‘carrot’ to vaccinate children and inject much-needed stimulus into the national economy, an expert says.

‘No-jab no baby bonus’ coronavirus pitch

Parents should be subject to a 'no jab no baby bonus' scheme that would incentivise them to vaccinate their children and also inject much-needed stimulus into the national economy, an expert says.

The pitch comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a coronavirus vaccine should be "as mandatory as possible" but not compulsory.

Mr Morrison, who introduced 'no jab, no play' as social services minister, said a 95 per cent vaccination rate was needed across the population.

But international human rights law expert Professor Paula Gerber said the best way to increase vaccination rates among children was to incentivise parents.

"They (children) are already at a disadvantage by not being vaccinated," she warned.

"If the government were to start denying children access to services, or welfare payments to their parents, that would be very problematic from a human rights perspective.

"What we should be saying is you will get a bonus … if your child is vaccinated."

The Monash University academic said it should always be "carrot rather than stick" when it came to vaccinating children, adding the incentive could act as an economic stimulus payment as the nation recovers from lockdowns.

Australia has signed a letter of intent with drug maker AstraZeneca that will enable the nation to access, should the company be successful, a COVID-19 vaccine.
Australia has signed a letter of intent with drug maker AstraZeneca that will enable the nation to access, should the company be successful, a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Federal Government baby bonus scheme was abolished in 2014 and replaced with payments under the Family Tax Benefit system - which has immunisation requirements.

Prof Gerber warned that anti-vaxxers were going to advocate against a coronavirus vaccine as much as any other immunisation and said the messaging around it would have to be tailored for vulnerable communities.

Mr Morrison on Wednesday told anti-vaxxers: "You have to do it for yourself, your family and for your fellow Australians".

But Prof Gerber said the government should say "do it for your children".

She also said people had a right to freedom of movement and potentially prohibiting them from travelling if they were not vaccinated would be an infringement.

The Australian Human Rights Commission said under international law, governments were allowed to restrict many of our freedoms in response to a public health emergency.

"But each restriction must be reasonable, necessary and proportionate to the threat - and must not discriminate against anyone on the grounds of sex, gender, race, age or disability," it wrote in a statement.

"There also needs to be genuine independent oversight of the restrictions to make sure there are checks and balances."

COVID-19 restrictions put in place during the pandemic are being monitored by the Commission.

Originally published as 'No-jab no baby bonus' pitch



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