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Thursday, 2 September 1993
Page: 877


Senator PANIZZA (11.20 a.m.) —by leave—I move:

  That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister for Health (Senator Richardson), in response to a question without notice asked by Senator Panizza this day, relating to compensation for Vietnam veterans.

I was very surprised that Senator Richardson, even though he is filling in for Senator Faulkner, did not have a brief on this matter. According to an article in Time magazine, dated 9 August 1993, in the US a 16-member panel of experts assembled by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine found that:

. . . exposure to Agent Orange can be linked conclusively to three cancers, including Hodgkin's disease, and two other disorders. The committee also found enough evidence among the 230 studies they examined to suggest a connection with lung and prostate cancer.

  Jesse Brown, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, immediately added Hodgkin's disease to the short list of maladies for which Vietnam veterans are automatically compensated. And he has promised to decide, within 60 days, whether to include lung and prostate cancers and other diseases.

I ask the minister whether, considering this evidence, this government will soon treat Australian Vietnam veterans in the same way.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.