Public health experts have joined a chorus of condemnation against One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson, who on Sunday voiced anti-vaccination sentiments in an appearance on the ABC’s ‘Insiders’ program.
Senator Hanson urged parents to do their own research and accused the government of “blackmailing” parents by withholding welfare payments for un-vaccinated children.
“Don't do that to people. That's a dictatorship,” she said.
The Australian Medical Association voiced an incredulous reaction via Twitter.
“The AMA and doctors everywhere are happy to report that vaccines save lives, control, and eradicate disease,” the organisation said.
“Immunisation programs have achieved such great success, some people have become complacent. The stakes are too high for complacency.”
AMA President Dr Michael Gannon tweeted that thousands could be maimed if vaccination denial spreads.
Former AMA President Brian Owler accused Senator Hanson of embracing conspiracy theories and being “dangerous and ignorant”.
Grattan Institute Health Director Stephen Duckett said he was "disgusted" by the senator’s comments.
"This is a situation where you've got a popular politician with a significant following who's actually giving crazy, crazy medical advice," he told ABC radio on Monday.
"She has to apologise and retract that statement," the former head of the Department of Health said.
“Vaccines are safe,” he said. “I cannot stress how angry it makes one feel that she is putting lives at risk.
“If parents choose not to vaccinate their children, they are putting their children’s health at risk, and every other person’s children at risk too.
“It is a vital health objective to ensure that everybody is vaccinated.”
Labor leader Bill Shorten tweeted that vaccines save lives.
“One Nation's campaign of misinformation is plain dangerous,” he said.
- with AAP