David, I'm not following your reasoning. How can a law, with which conscientious objectors (COs) cannot comply, be valid at law. COs cannot give valid consent to vaccination because of the presence of coercion. Professor Raina MacIntyre has stated that consent is not valid in the presence of coercion. 

"In addition, doctors must obtain valid consent to vaccinate children, and consent is not valid in the presence of any form of coercion."


Thanks for your question on the blog post on whether forced vaccination was legal.

As I mentioned in the original blog post, the legislation passed by the government enshrining their "no jab, no pay" policy into law is that it has absolutely nothing to do with forcing vaccination on anyone. It's a law of taxation and on the distribution of consolidated revenue.  The aim is to have more children vaccinated though, and that's where I think people are getting confused. 

The law states that if parents do not vaccinate their children then they cannot receive family benefits from government revenue.  

Parents can choose to not vaccinate their children and that is their choice but the government will also choose to not provide those parents welfare.

I think that you're making an assumption here that you can't object to vaccinating your children, you can, but the government will not reward or incentivise that in the interests of public health and safety.  

The premise by the government is that anyone who has a conscientious objection (firmly held religious belief notwithstanding), has an objection based on discredited faux science; and as a matter of public policy (or at the very least politics) having as many people vaccinated as possible benefits the greater sum of people.  

The government of course can't legislate for people to undergo medical procedures (well, it can and has and does, but the circumstances in which they can are not relevant here, so enough about that), so it provides incentives for people to do things as well as punishment for those who don't.

Finally, you're right that a law that can't reasonably be followed by people is not good law, it's still valid law but it's not good law because it may lead to absurd outcomes or might be unenforceable or just plainly can't be followed.

That's not the case in this situation because any group that the government thinks should be exempt has already been granted an exemption, anyone else either vaccinates or doesn't and also doesn't receive family benefit payments.  It's that simple.

I don't agree with the characterisation that conscientious objectors cannot comply with this legislation and therefore this legislation is invalid for two reasons:

  1. Most people with children follow the law without any issue so the law is very valid,
  2. Legislation that inconveniences a minority, or forces a minority to do or not do something doesn't make legislation invalid necessarily;

If you want to read more about the rationale of this law then by all means log on to the Australian Parliament House and read the Minister's introductory and second reading speeches and notes of the legislation.  Stay away from the anti-vax, pro-polio movement websites though and chat to your GP about what's right for you.

People may not agree that this law is good pubic policy, and I get that, it may or may not be.  I'm not an epidemiologist or an expert in public health policy so on that I won't comment.

I'm a lawyer though and Is this law valid? Certainly it is.

 

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