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