You have just over 2 weeks to protect your family’s rights

by Meryl Dorey

Family FreedomThe Federal Government is planning to introduce an amendment to current legislation that will remove a parent’s right to register as a conscientious objector to vaccination. As a result, in order to receive approximately $14,000 per year per child in entitlements, children will have to receive the full regimen of vaccines and any new vaccines that are introduced to the schedule – a virtually unlimited number since there are over 270 new vaccines currently being ‘tested’.

Thanks to the hard work of the AVN – the same group that successfully lobbied for the introduction of a Conscientious Objector clause nearly 18 years ago – the Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs has agreed to hold a public inquiry into the legality of passing this legislation.

This is an opportunity that can help convince our legislators not to discriminate against the unvaccinated – but the opportunity comes with a very tight deadline.

The Committee has required that all submissions be received no later than the 16th of October – just over 2 weeks from now!

I am asking – begging – each and every one of you to please send in a submission prior to the deadline.

You don’t need to write War and Peace. Your submissions need be no more than a couple of paragraphs (though if you are so moved, feel free to make it longer and to include supporting documents and references) but whatever you do, please do it in a timely manner and share this information with everyone you know who believes that parents must always be allowed to make health choices for their minor children without fear of coercion, financial penalties, bullying or discrimination.

On social media, I have seen several groups of people getting together to write group submissions. This is a great idea if you feel uncomfortable with the data or simply want to support and be supported by other like-minded people.

Whatever you do, once you have completed your submission, please follow the instructions below (provided by the AVN) to submit them. Do not share your submissions online, but if you would like to send me a copy by clicking this link, I would love to have that information to keep track of the reasons people are providing to the Committee for why this law should never be passed.

Tomorrow, I will be posting some more details that have been compiled by Joe Guy that will hopefully give you some great ideas for your submissions. In the meantime, please read the details below.

I contacted the Secretariat of the Committee for general information about your submissions. Please read below for further details:

Q – What are the terms of reference of this Inquiry?

A – Because this is an inquiry about a Bill, anything contained within the Bill will be in the terms of reference so submissions should be focusing on what is in the Bill itself. You can download a copy of the Bill by clicking this link.

Q – Can people publish their submissions in advance of the hearing?

A- They can, but they will no longer be covered by Parliamentary Privilege. Once the committee publishes them, we are free to do whatever we want, but until then – your submissions should not be shared publicly.

Q- what about templates for people to sign or use as their own letter?

A- Templates are like petitions – the committee will not take them seriously and in fact, they may choose one representative template letter to publish and just publish the names of the other people who sent in the same or similar templates. Instead, people should read through the information provided below and choose from a list of topics to cover – in their own words.

Q- If you want to keep your submission – or a section of your submission private – how do you go about that?

A- You must inform the committee at the time of sending in your submission of your wishes in that regard. They will do their best to abide by your wishes.

Q- What is the best way to send your submission?

A- The committee MUCH prefers submissions using their online form by clicking this link. Next is emailing your submission to this link, and last and not preferred at all is hard copy to the following address:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3515
Fax: +61 2 6277 5829

I asked about large submissions and was told that it would probably be best for me – or anyone – not to put too much information in my submission. I was told that the  Senators are often on several different committees and their time to read is very limited. The Secretariat will read every word and summarise the submissions for the Senators, but if we want the Senators themselves to read these submissions, we need to keep them short. If we do make them longer (and mine will be a bit on the long side – I can’t help it!) including our own summaries will probably be best.

Remember that submissions must be received no later than October 16th so if you are mailing your submission, send it at least 2 or 3 days earlier. Emailed submissions can be sent by the close of business on the 16th.

The AVN makes the following suggestions:

Everyone is invited to make a submission to this Inquiry. The more submissions the Inquiry receives, the greater impact it will have.

To make a submission, all you need to do is write a letter listing the reasons why the Bill should not be passed. Your letter will be more powerful if you base this on your own personal experiences and circumstances, or those of people you know.

You may find that using headings is a useful way to structure and organise your thoughts and reasons/arguments.

Your submission may be as short or as long as you like. It may contain facts, opinions, arguments or recommendations.

Supporting documents may be attached.

The most important thing is to present your reasons in a consistent and clear way that can be easily understood. You don’t need to make legal arguments.

What to include at the start of your submission

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3515
Fax: +61 2 6277 5829

community.affairs.sen@aph.gov.au

Date

Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: Social Services Legislation Amendment (No Jab, No Pay) Bill 2015

What to include at the end of your submission

Yours sincerely

(you do not need to sign your submission)

Your full name

Your phone number

Your postal address

How to send your submission

 

The following links may assist you in learning more.

1) The Bill

http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/legislation/bills/r5540_first-reps/toc_pdf/15160b01.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf#search=%22legislation/bills/r5540_first-reps/0000%22

2) The Explanatory Memorandum, which includes the Statement of Compatibility With Human Rights

http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/legislation/ems/r5540_ems_78b7b14d-fa5d-469e-a038-2840207a8f3e/upload_pdf/503827.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf

3) Minister’s Second Reading Speech

http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/genpdf/chamber/hansardr/842ee7d9-89d4-4e4f-bc93-045b018bbeb2/0023/hansard_frag.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf

Of most relevance is the Explanatory Memorandum because it purports to present why the Bill is justified. In particular, the Statement of Compatibility at the end of the Explanatory memorandum aims to account for why human rights breaches are justified.

Australia has agreed to be bound by 7 key Human Rights treaties, listed here:
http://www.lawcouncil.asn.au/lawcouncil/index.php/australia-s-international-human-rights-obligations

The most relevant Human Rights treaties in relation to this Bill are numbers
1 to 3, all of which are referenced in the Statement of Compatibility in the Explanatory Memorandum

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CESCR.aspx

Convention on the Rights of the Child
http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx