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Free cancer treatment but no compensation for Maralinga victims.



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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Lyn Allison Parliamentary Leader and Democrats Senator for Victoria Australian Democrats spokesperson for Health and Ageing

Dated: 28 June 2006

Press Release Number: tgnqizbg Portfolio: Health and Ageing Related: Defence & Veterans

Free cancer treatment but no compensation for Maralinga victims

Free cancer treatment for the survivors of the British nuclear tests in Australia is finally an admission by the Government that Australian soldiers received deadly doses of radiation, the Democrats said.

Suddenly the Government finds its conscience on this matter, after it has fought off all claims in the courts, yet refuses to admit that there was a connection between Australian soldiers standing eight miles away from the atomic blast and an astonishingly high death and infertility rate due to cancers, Senator Allison said.

The study found large excesses in cancer rates of up to 300 percent over a wide range of cancers, suggesting a common causative effect, yet miraculously finds no link.

The study took seven years, and in that time half of the nuclear test participants have died. Death certificates have showed that most of the 6000 servicemen who have died, died from cancer, leukaemia, heart failures or brain tumours and almost half were in their 40s and 50s.

Years were spent wrangling over the design of the study, and in the end the Government decided to exclude those who died before 1982 (30 years after the first test) on the absurd basis that cancer takes many years to develop after exposure!

Were witnessing, like the James Hardie asbestos case, a deliberate strategy which fails to admit culpability and drags out investigations and court cases until the majority of the claimants are dead.

Nine claims for a total of $1,047,781 were paid to veterans for the effects of ionising radiation under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act. Only 8 percent of claims were successful under this law.

Free cancer treatment will not cover loss in income and loss of loved ones, the victims and families of the grossly mismanaged nuclear tests should be fully compensated. These servicemen and contractors should be recognised with all they have endured, said Senator Allison.

Senator Allison is in Tahiti for the Commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the first nuclear test in French Polynesia.