Page 913 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 22 March 2017
weeks. Maintaining consistent, accurate information in the face of misinformation is crucial to ensuring that parents know vaccination is the safest and best way to protect their children from preventable diseases.
To conclude, I would like to add my voice to those of the Australian Medical Association, the Public Health Association of Australia and health experts and professionals across the world in supporting immunisation as a crucial life-saving public health intervention. The discussion we are having today is not about the science of vaccination or immunisation—I think there is clear agreement that it works and that it is vital, and I think members have provided some important examples of that today—it is about how we maximise the number of people who access vaccination. This is a genuine matter of solid public policy development that should be founded on medical evidence and scientific rationale. I invite colleagues to reflect on the many possible and, indeed, likely unintended negative consequences that may arise if we as a society exclude and isolate children in our community.
My final comment is to those who may be unsure or hesitant about vaccines, the science and the evidence. These are absolutely clear. Do not let doubts stop you from giving yourself and your children potentially life-saving health care. Immunisations are safe and proven. Do not believe everything you read on the internet. Please see your GP or your health professional, whom you trust, for expert advice on why immunisations are so important. I now move the amendment circulated in my name:
Omit paragraph (2), substitute:
“(2) calls on the Government to:
(a) work collaboratively with the Commonwealth Government to develop and implement a proactive public education and communication strategy, especially in areas influenced by anti-vaccination groups and where coverage is low, to promote the benefits and encourage uptake of immunisations;
(b) continue to argue for a nationally-consistent approach to immunisation in concert with all jurisdictions and that this must be underpinned by a properly funded and universally accessible national immunisation program;
(c) ensure that any changes to national and state or territory policy and practice on immunisation does not result in entrenched disadvantage for children or families; and
(d) reaffirm its commitment to the right to education for every child as provided for in the ACT Human Rights Act 2004.”.
As I say, I believe that this offers a better pathway forward than a proposed no jab no play policy. In fact, alternatively it calls on the ACT government to work collaboratively with the commonwealth government to develop and implement a proactive public education and communication strategy, especially in areas influenced by anti-vaccination groups and where coverage is low, to promote the benefits and encourage uptake of immunisations. I commend my amendment to the Assembly.