A mother whose baby boy died of whooping cough when he was just 32 days old has slammed Pauline Hanson for “uneducated” comments she made about vaccination.
The Queensland politician likened the Federal Government’s ‘no jab, no pay’ policy to “blackmail” and the work of a “dictatorship”.
Catherine Hughes, who began charity Light For Riley in memory of her son after his death in 2015, labelled the comments disgraceful.
“My son died a horrible death from whooping cough. Your uneducated comments about vaccination are a disgrace to children,” she wrote on the Light for Riley Twitter page underneath a photo of her son.
Speaking to Mamamia about anti-immunisation advocate David Wolfe’s upcoming speaking tour, Hughes said messages like this could “potentially cause harm to Australians”.
“And with vaccination fear-mongering, unfortunately it is often the innocent – like little babies who are too young to be vaccinated – who suffer from lowered vaccination rates,” she said.
Hughes’ tweet came after the One Nation leader slammed the government’s policy to withhold payments from parents who fail to immunise their children when she appeared on ABC Insiders on Sunday.
“What I don’t like about it is the blackmailing that’s happening with the government,” Hanson told host Barrie Cassidy.
“Don’t do that to people. That’s a dictatorship and I think people have a right to investigate themselves.”
"I hear from so many parents, where are their rights?"
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull defended the policy while in Queensland town Barcaldine on Sunday.
"If parents choose not to vaccinate their children, they are putting their children's health at risk and every other person's children's health at risk too," he told reporters.
Listen: Even immunised children need protection.
"It is a vital health objective to ensure that everybody is vaccinated."
Last month, Health Minister Greg Hunt told AAP the 'no jab, no pay' welfare policy had led to an extra 200,000 children being vaccinated during the past year.
"The clear and categorical advice from experts including the chief medical officer, based on decades of research and evidence, is that vaccinations save lives," he said.