'No jab, no pay' for anti-vax parents in Australia

Australia is cracking down on the anti-vaccination movement, stripping tax credits for parents who don't keep their kids' jabs up to date.

"Immunisation is the safest way to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases," said Social Services Minister Dan Tehan.

"Parents who don't immunise their children are putting their own kids at risk, as well as the children of other people."

From Monday, the penalty will be a $28 fortnightly reduction in family tax benefits given to parents with a taxable income of AU$80,000 or less.

Children who aren't immunised not only risk catching preventable diseases, but passing it on to those who can't get immunised for medical and age reasons.

The Australian Government spent AU$14 million last year on free immunisations, giving everyone the chance to get up to date.

Anti-vaxxers go it alone

With daycares allowed to reject children who aren't immunised, anti-vaxxers in Queensland are reportedly setting up their own services.

"We organise group childcare arrangements and we're now devising our own combined homeschooling system," Allona Lahn of the Natural Immunity Community told ABC News.

"We use health practitioners within the anti-vaccine networks around Australia and 'anti-vaccination-friendly' doctors in the community."

She said homeschooling was necessary because their children are "being bullied" by their immunised peers.

The group has even set up a dating group.

"Many relationships have broken down based on vaccination because there's been a severe disagreement," said Ms Lahn.

Ironically, people with a genuine natural immunity to a disease are exempt from having to be immunised against it, under the new rules. So are children at serious risk of harm from a vaccine.

Here in New Zealand, the previous National Government ruled out a similar move. Then-Prime Minister John Key said it was up to parents.

"If the state forced a child to be vaccinated and the child had a significant medical reaction and potentially died as a result of that, that would be a huge burden that the state would've put on those parents," he said in 2015.

"So I think in New Zealand we're just lucky enough that the vast bulk of parents actually take the right steps and that the bulk of them are vaccinated."

Newshub has contacted Health Minister David Clark to ask if any changes are being considered.