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Monday, 3 March 2003
Page: 11963

Mr MOSSFIELD (1:45 PM) —I rise to speak about the Clarke review into veterans' entitlements and in particular about chapter 16 and recommendation No. 45. It was extremely pleasing to read the following:

The committee recommends that: participation by Australian Defence Force personnel in the British atomic tests be declared non-warlike hazardous and that the legislation be amended to ensure that this declaration can have effect in extending VEA coverage.

This is the eighth time I have raised in this place the issue of the victims of atomic tests and their search for just treatment. Finally it seems that somebody has listened. At present, each new illness suffered by an atomic test victim has to be linked to the tests with a new round of doctors visits, specialists visits, paperwork and stress and drama.

If this recommendation is adopted, these victims will be entitled to a gold card and will get the medical treatment they need when they need it without the anguish and stress induced by the former procedures. These soldiers, sailors and airmen were used as human guineapigs. Everybody knows that, just as everybody knows that the reason these men and women have medical problems is that they were needlessly exposed to radiation from the atomic blasts. The Clarke review has recommended that we acknowledge their service and treat them with dignity and justice. It is now imperative that the government act quickly on this recommendation. I call on the minister to provide the victims of this terrible chapter in Australia's history the justice they deserve. (Time expired)