Prominent paediatrician Peter Eastaugh has backed the latest anti-vaccination crackdown, but said it should go further and make it illegal to promote anti-vaccination views.
The Shepparton doctor said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had done the right thing when he announced a push for a nationwide ban to stop unvaccinated children from enrolling in childcare centres.
Although Victoria already has a law banning unvaccinated children from early childhood services, the Northern Territory, ACT, South Australia, Western Australian and Tasmania have no such laws.
Dr Eastaugh said it would take time to see the long-term benefits of the Victorian law, because it only came into effect last year, but that further laws should target those who spread anti-vaccination views.
‘‘For any so-called non-conventional medical practitioners who advocate non-vaccination, that should be a criminal offence,’’ Dr Eastaugh said.
He recognised his opinion could be unpopular but said there needed to be a tough approach to improve vaccination rates.
‘‘These people that don’t vaccinate their children aren’t just putting their kids at risk, they are putting other children at risk too,’’ he said.
The Federal Government’s push comes after controversial One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson labelled government policies blocking welfare payments for parents who did not vaccinate their children as a ‘‘dictatorship’’.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the latest push was part of an aim to lift the childhood vaccination rates to 100 per cent.
Currently the rate is at 93 per cent, and last month it was revealed that more than 140000 parents had childcare payments cut for failing to vaccinate their children.
Dr Eastaugh said he applied his tough anti-vaccination approach with his own grandchildren.
‘‘They are not allowed to have contact with any adult who does not have a current whooping cough vaccination,’’ he said.
‘‘That is how serious I am.
‘‘I have seen babies cough themselves to death with whooping cough back in the ’70s and ’80s.’’