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Thursday, 17 April 1980
Page: 1555

Senator MASON (NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. The Minister may be aware of publicity given in the Australian of 3 March and, I believe, in the television program 60 Minutes to research at Hanoi University which indicates a doubling in the rate of deformed children born to Vietnamese soldiers said to have been sprayed with agent orange, even though the mothers had not been exposed to it. Is it a fact that this research indicates that contact with agent orange can have a mutagenic effect? That is, if a man is affected, children born subsequently to his wife, who has not been exposed to agent orange, may still show a rate of deformity above average. In view of the concern of Australian Vietnam veterans about this mutagenic effect, will the Government consider sending a medical team to Hanoi urgently to check on this research and report back, and then apply the results of those findings?


I am not aware of the program or the statements made on it. I think it is understood that the Minister for Health and the Minister for Veterans' Affairs have been very concerned about these matters. I will need to refer the question to both those Ministers to obtain a response for Senator Mason.

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