Additional Comments - Australian Democrats

The Australian Democrats support the report of the Committee and make the following additional statement.

1. The Report of the Review of Veterans Entitlements (the Clarke Report) made a number of recommendations which have subsequently been rejected by Government. A number of these specifically relate to health of Veterans and their eligibility for feefree medical treatment.

2. Specifically at Recommendation 43, the Report recommended that Service with BCOF be declared warlike from 21 February 1946 to 30 June 1947. The Minister for Veterans Affairs rejection of this recommendation on the basis of an absence of a hostile enemy force, fails to acknowledge the incurred danger from exposure to radiation at or near Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

3. The 1991 Gulf war showed that Australian troops can return damaged in ways that are not immediately apparent One in five veterans of the 1991 Gulf war are on some form of disability compensation related to that war. We cannot dismiss the possibility of similar outcomes for veterans of the present war in Iraq.

4. Thirteen years after Australia stopped using depleted uranium in ammunitions, our troops are still at risk because it continues to be used by allied forces. The health impact of this and the long term effect of anthrax vaccinations on our forces serving in Iraq will not be fully evident for some time.

Senator Andrew Bartlett