Australian Greens Co-deputy Leader and nuclear spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam has thanked Veterans Affairs Minister Dan Tehan for extending the veterans ‘Gold Card’ to service personnel exposed to nuclear radiation at Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the British nuclear test sites in South Australia, but says there is still more to do.
“It’s been a long fight. I’ve been advocating for this support for nuclear veterans for my 9 years here, but these veterans have been fighting for this recognition for more than 50 years.
“It’s been something that successive governments, both Liberal and Labor, have neglected for decades, but it’s wonderful to see that these service personnel are receiving the support they deserve. I’ve written to Minister Tehan to pass on my appreciation for the announcement.
“It’s wonderful news for these veterans, but at the same time we must never forget that military personnel were not the only people impacted at Emu Field, the Montebello Islands and Maralinga.
“For some aboriginal people, the nuclear explosions were their first exposure to the British invasion of their lands. They too deserve justice.
“Civilian contractors that worked nearby aren’t covered yet either.
“We’re very happy to see progress on this, and we’re looking forward to seeing the rest of the victims receive the support they need and deserve as well,” Senator Ludlam said.