Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

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Determinations/Other as made
This determination provides exemptions from the immunisation requirements in the family assistance law and ensures that children of practicing members of the Church of Christ, Scientist are exempt from those immunisation requirements and also provides an exemption for exceptional circumstances.
Administered by: Social Services
Registered 29 Jun 2012
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR14-Aug-2012
Tabled Senate14-Aug-2012
Date of repeal 01 Jan 2016
Repealed by Family Assistance (Meeting the Immunisation Requirements) Principles 2015

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

 

Family Assistance (Exemption from Immunisation Requirements) (FaHCSIA) Determination 2012

 

 

Summary

 

The Family Assistance (Exemption from Immunisation Requirements) (FaHCSIA) Determination 2012 (the Determination) provides exemptions from the immunisation requirements in the family assistance law and ensures that children of practising members of the Church of Christ, Scientist are exempt from those immunisation requirements.  It also provides an exemption for exceptional circumstances.

 

Background

 

The Determination is made under subsection 7(1) of the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (the Act).  Subsection 7(1) provides that the Minister may, by legislative instrument, determine classes of children who are exempt from the requirement to be immunised.  These are children who would otherwise not meet the immunisation requirements as set out in the Act.

 

The Determination is a legislative instrument for the purposes of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003.

 

Section 1 sets out the name of the Determination.

 

Section 2 provides that the Determination commences on 1 July 2012.

 

Section 3 defines the terms that are used in the Determination.

 

Subsection 4(1) provides that the Determination only applies to FTB Part A supplement.  Subsection 4(2) provides that the Determination only applies to FTB Part A supplement claims made after 30 June 2012.

 

Section 5 provides that a child is exempt from the requirement to be immunised if a person in relation to whom the child is an FTB child, or the partner of the person, is a practising member of the Church of Christ, Scientist, as declared in writing by an officer of that Church. Members of the Church of Christ, Scientist are not able to consult a medical practitioner to obtain an exemption as a registered conscientious objector due to their religious beliefs.

 

Section 6 provides the Secretary with the power to exempt a child from the requirement to be immunised within the specified period if the Secretary is satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances. The specified period is the two year period after the financial year in which the child is required to be immunised,  in which people are able to vaccinate their children in order to qualify for the FTB Part A supplement. This will be assessed on a case by case basis but is designed to include very rare situations where a child is in a remote location overseas and could not reasonably be expected to meet the requirements, particularly where there is no safe or effective vaccine available. This is also designed to cover the situation where a child returns to Australia too close to the end of the relevant time period to arrange for the vaccinations to be provided. This exemption will only be available at the end of the specified period, once the time available for vaccinating has expired.

 

Consultation

 

The Department of Health and Ageing and the Department of Human Services were consulted in the preparation of this legislative instrument.

 

Regulatory Impact Statement

 

The Determination is not regulatory in nature, will not impact on business activity and will have no, or minimal, compliance costs or competition impact.

 

The measures in this legislative instrument affect entitlements to government payments and do not impose compliance costs on businesses, and do not require or encourage business to alter their behaviour.

 


 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Family Assistance (Exemption from Immunisation Requirements) (FaHCSIA) Determination 2012

 

This Legislative Instrument is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

 

 

Overview of the Legislative Instrument

 

The Family Assistance (Exemption from Immunisation Requirements) (FaHCSIA) Determination 2012 ensures that children of practising members of the Church of Christ, Scientist are exempt from those immunisation requirements.  It also provides an exemption for exceptional circumstances.

 

Human rights implications

 

Providing for exemptions from immunisation requirements is likely to engage the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief recognised in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

 

The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief in article 18 of the ICCPR requires that no one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice and undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.

 

By allowing a child to be exempt from immunisation requirements if a person in relation to whom the child is an FTB child is a practicing member of the Church of Christ, Scientist, this Legislative Instrument clearly advances this right as their religious beliefs mean they may be unwilling to access western medicine.

 

Conclusion

 

This Legislative Instrument is compatible with human rights because it advances the human right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief.

 

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform, the Honourable Jenny Macklin