INDEPENDENT NEWS

Govt. Must Act Over Agent Orange

Published: Wed 8 Nov 2000 04:54 PM
Green MP Sue Kedgley is calling on the Government to take Vietnam war veterans seriously in their concerns about exposure to the defoliant Agent Orange.
This call comes in the wake of the Government's announcement that it may pay compensation to a Vietnam veteran who was not treated for serious psychological scars arising from his involvement in the war.
"The Vietnam war continues for many veterans not only psychologically, but because they are battling the effects of poisoning they believe they received in the line of duty. They braved the bombs and bullets only to die of cancer from dioxins they were exposed to thirty years ago," Ms Kedgley said.
"They find themselves ignored by successive governments as they succumb, they believe, to the effects of deadly poisons designed to defoliate forests and kill the enemy. These are slow deaths from friendly fire," she said.
Ms Kedgley is asking the Government to ensure that all Vietnam veterans subjected to Agent Orange have access to free health care and cancer treatments, as is the case with Australian veterans.
She said they should also have mandatory access to treatment for post traumatic stress disorder as was the case for WWII veterans.
"Currently, our Vietnam veterans have to fight the Office of Veterans Affairs to qualify for therapy. "They are being treated like second class citizens," Ms Kedgley said.
Ends

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