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2 years later and Billson still keeping families waiting.



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Media Release

ALAN GRIFFIN MP Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Shadow Minister for Defence Science and Personnel Federal Member for Bruce 11 October 2007 2 YEARS LATER AND BILLSON STILL KEEPING FAMILIES WAITING Four families have been waiting for over two years for a determination from the Government on whether their applications for ex-gratia payments for the suicide of their children will be accepted. Nicholas Shiels, David Hayward, John Satatas and Jeremy Williams committed suicide while they were in the service of the Australian Defence Force. All were subject to alleged bullying and harassment. It is plainly obvious that the Government has been dragging its feet with these claims, two years to consider them is just ridiculous. It is well known that these payments can be authorised and made very quickly if required. I call on Minister Billson to ensure a decision about these claims is made before an election is called so the families finally get some closure. These families have been treated disgracefully by this Government and an immediate decision on their claims must be made to restore the community’s confidence in the Government’s handling of defence personnel issues. The Government’s head in the sand approach is just not good enough. Mr Billson should understand that recruitment and retention will continue to be a problem until these problems are solved. He can not continue to put these cases in the ‘too hard’ basket in the hope that they will disappear. The Minister owes these families both an answer and an explanation as to why it has taken so long for the Government to decide their claims. Media Contact: Rod Hilton 0403 831 179