Pauline Hanson's views 'ignorant, dangerous' on vaccines

PAULINE Hanson must apologise and retract her "crazy" peddling of "ignorant" advice about vaccinating kids, a former federal health department head said today.

Stephen Duckett said he was "disgusted" when the senator questioned their effectiveness and encouraged parents to do their own research.

"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."

Senator Hanson also said parents should be allowed to have their children tested before booking vaccinations.

"Some of these parents are saying vaccinations have an effect on some children," she told ABC television on Sunday.

But Mr Duckett, who is now director of health at the Grattan Institute policy think tank, rejected this.

"Vaccines are safe," he said.

"I cannot stress how angry it makes one feel that she is putting lives at risk ... without any evidence whatsoever."

Ms Hanson's outspoken comments - in which she also appeared to liken the government's No Jab, No Pay policy to blackmail and the actions of a "dictatorship" - were also linked to previous remarks she has made that seem to connect vaccinations with autism.

"What I've heard from parents and their concerns about it ... and what I have said is I advise parents to go out and do their own research with regards to this," Ms Hanson said.

The right-wing senator went on to argue that parents needed to "make an informed decision".

"What I don't like about it is the blackmailing that's happening with the government," she told ABC TV. "Don't do that to people. That's a dictatorship. And I think people have a right to investigate themselves."

PAULINE Hanson's One Nation Party has a new Queensland leader, with the Senator promoting new recruit and Buderim MP Steve Dickson to the top job.
Pauline Hanson does not the support the government's "no jab, no play" policy which has increased the number of people vaccinating their children. Patrick Woods

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard slammed the One ­Nation leader's comments, saying: "Those who claim the right to represent and safeguard the community shouldn't apply hocus pocus pixieland critiques of otherwise extremely well-founded, evidence-based scientific immunisation programs."

Opposition health spokesman Walt Secord said he shook his head "in total disbelief" at Ms Hanson appearing "on ­national television linking arms with the anti-vaxxers".

The Australian Medical Association's NSW president, Brad Frankum, labelled Ms Hanson's remarks "very disappointing and really quite ignorant".

"The way she has framed it is that somehow a non-medical parent is going to make a more informed decision about the value of vaccination than the entire medical profession," Professor Frankum said.

"That's very dangerous, really. It is going to give people the idea that they can avoid vaccination (for their kids)."

Prof Frankum also took aim at Ms Hanson's apparent attack on the government's No Jab, No Play policy, which prevents parents from receiving childcare rebates and certain other welfare payments if they have not properly vaccinated their children.

"It is not forcing parents to vaccinate their children but it's sending the message that the government is trying to look after children," he said.

Some groups continue to link vaccinations to autism and claim they pose serious health risks, but the study that popularised the supposed link has since been discredited and debunked.

The No Jab, No Play policy was introduced to counter an alarming drop-off in the rate of vaccination, which was exposing children to a range of deadly diseases.

"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," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said yesterday.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described Ms Hanson's views as " plain dangerous".

Ms Hanson created another stir yesterday by revealing she is planning to create a special One Nation boutique beer to help her "connect with voters".

The VB-loving senator is aiming to capitalise on her brand name and said she was "interested in speaking to a range of craft brewers".