No Jab No Play comes into effect today in South Australia: What does this mean for your kids?

The South Australian Government’s No Jab No Play laws come into effect today, with children up to the age of six who have not been fully immunised now unable to attend early childcare services.

The law attempts to ensure children and the people they encounter are protected against preventable diseases.

“Families should be able to send their child to an early childhood service, confident that it’s as safe as it can be,” Health Minister Stephen Wade said.

In Australia, the vaccination schedule starts from the time a child is born and continues until they are four.

The director of the State Government’s Communicable Disease Control Branch said she was confident that in that time children could be immunised against most preventable diseases.

“The schedule includes vaccinations for whooping cough, measles, chicken pox, meningococcal, mumps, rubella … just to name a few,” Louise Flood said.

Adelaide parent Amy Clark said it was “common sense” to vaccinate children.

Adelaide mother Amy Clark with her son at St Philip’s Preschool Kindergarten in Broadview.(ABC News)

Ms Clark said the coronavirus pandemic had revealed how crucial vaccination was.

“We’re all waiting for that vaccination, and we’ve got vaccinations out there that prevent these awful diseases, so why wouldn’t we immunise our kids against them?” she said.

‘Completely irresponsible’ not to vaccinate

The fallout from the global pandemic has put into stark relief what can happen when there is a widespread outbreak of a disease for which there is no vaccine.

“When we’ve lost 700,000 people in the world this year in relation to one virus we don’t have a vaccine for, it’d be completely irresponsible not to use vaccinations we do have,” Mr Wade said.

Government data from February this year showed 95 per cent of South Australian five-year-olds were fully immunised, but the Government said there was still room for improvement.

A man gesticulates at two children
SA Health Minister Stephen Wade with children at the St Philip’s Preschool Kindergarten in Broadview.(ABC News)

The law will work in conjunction with the Federal Government’s No Jab No Pay scheme, which withholds childcare benefits from parents of children who are not immunised.

Adelaide preschool director Maggie Slattery said most parents were on board with the scheme.

“All of our kids are immunised except one,” she said.

“Her parents are choosing to put her on a catch-up program, because they really value their child’s enrolment at preschool.”

Children who are participating in vaccine catch-up programs can attend their early childhood service, but must provide documentation.

A middle-aged woman
sayLouise Flood, director of SA’s Communicable Disease Control Branch, says vaccinations can protect children against most preventable diseases.(ABC News)

Anti-vaxxers take legal action

There is loud opposition to the Government’s mandate to immunise, with anti-vaxxers launching legal action interstate and in SA.

“We appreciate that there are legal moves afoot, but we don’t believe they’ll get up.” Mr Wade said.

Yesterday, an anti-vaxxer group took to South Australia’s Supreme Court to get an injunction that would stop the law from passing, but Judge Katrina Bochner did not support the application.

The group has raised $53,000, which it said it would use to fund another legal challenge.

Exemptions will be available in rare cases, for example in children with severe allergies.

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Karens of Australia fear name has evolved from light-hearted jab to form of discrimination

While Karens around Australia can sometimes see the funny side of their name’s use in popular culture, they are worried by the moniker’s increasingly negative connotations.

It’s a view shared by one of the country’s top linguistics experts, who believes the term has evolved to become derogatory and offensive.

Karen was thrust back into the spotlight at the weekend amid the response to a viral video filmed by a woman who confronted Bunnings staff who had asked her to wear a mask in one of the hardware chain’s Melbourne stores.

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‘Bunnings Karen’ condemned online for refusing to wear mask

Roly Sussex, emeritus professor of applied language studies at the University of Queensland, said Karen had been a common term in the United States for more than a decade.

Some say it originated with the “Oh my God, Karen, you can’t ask someone why they’re white” internet meme from the 2004 movie Mean Girls.

Others say it came from a meme in 2014 that depicted a woman’s blonde-streaked haircut with the caption: “Can I speak to the manager?”


Nowadays, the term is commonly used to describe women who supposedly complain a lot, those considered to have a sense of entitlement, or commit public acts perceived as racist, such as unjustly calling the police on black people.

Professor Sussex said the use of Karen had evolved to be sexist, ageist and racist.

“It has become a way of pigeonholing certain sorts of behaviour — and the behaviour itself is not admirable — but on the other hand if you are already called Karen, why should you have to bear the weight of accumulated public disapproval?”

A picture of a woman with with an odd haircut, with the caption: 'This is Karen. She'd like to speak to the manager.'
Karen memes first appeared as light-hearted content on social media.(Supplied)

Real Karens and fake Karens

For Karen Andrews, the federal member for the Gold Coast-based seat of McPherson, Karen memes have been a source of amusement, however she said she was uneasy with the newer pejorative usage.

“We do laugh about it, and even at home if I’m not happy about it, my kids will say, ‘Uh, oh, Karen is going to call the manager’,” she said.

Karen Andrews speaks to the media with a pink banner behind her
Karen Andrews says there are two types of ‘Karen’ in Australia.(ABC News: Matt Roberts)

“A real Karen would have been wanting to see the manager at Bunnings and say, ‘No-one should be allowed in here if they are not wearing a mask’.

“But then there is the fake Karen who doesn’t want to play by the rules.

“The fake Karen is just appalling, not acceptable, and they should not be able to hide behind something that is pretty light-hearted and pretty much fun.”

What’s an Aussie alternative?

Karen Bishop from Mackay said she took no offence from the memes but believed Sharon would be a better fit for the stereotype in Australia.

A woman wearing red glasses poses with a blonde girl wearing a medal.
Mackay dance teacher Karen Bishop and student Aria Maddison-Stanton.(ABC Tropical North: Melissa Maddison)

“You have got to remember that it did start in America,” she said.

“It’s the photos that make me laugh the most, the haircut, because I actually had the haircut for a long time.”

What other Karens think

“It doesn’t feel great when you see your own name only ever used in a negative context now. I know the origins of the Karen meme was a pretty powerful challenge to racism, so I try not to take it personally.” — Karen Pickering, Wollongong

“The name Karen is supposed to mean versatile, humanitarian, protective … all these beautiful combinations, but I’ve never felt that. There were times [when I was younger] I wanted to change my name to Charlotte.” — Karen Phillips, Gold Coast

“I am 80 next week and I’m very, very happy that my mother gave me the name Karen. I’ve never had any trouble. My mother gave me Karen Mae, after Mae West.” — Karen Lafferty, Ingham

“I find the whole Karen thing quite upsetting. I go out of my way not to be a jerk and make sure it’s no harder for anyone to get from one end of the day to the other than it already is.” — Karen Hunkin, Canberra

“I think it’s funny, I love it. Where’s the Aussie spirit? Everyone used to take the micky out of everyone. It’s gone so politically correct, no-one is game enough to have fun anymore.” — Karen Moodie, Gold Coast

Are Karens an endangered species?

Karen dominated Australian lists of popular baby names in the early 1960s but has progressively slipped from favour.

There are fears the name could all but disappear because of its contemporary connotations.

“The term Karen is American and we imitate the Americans an awful lot.

“I am afraid that because of that, it would take someone almost super-human to nullify that negative overtone.”

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