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Government's Agent Orange Apology Not Enough

14 December 2004

Government's Agent Orange apology not enough

Green MP Sue Kedgley is delighted the Government has apologised to Vietnam veterans for the way in which successive governments downplayed and denied the effect that exposure to Agent Orange had on their health and that of their families.

"However the Government's response to the Health Select Committee inquiry into the effects of Agent Orange does not go far enough," said Ms Kedgley.

"The Government should offer full medical treatment for veterans' children suffering adverse health effects linked to dioxin exposure, plus a programme to monitor the effects of exposure to dioxin.

"At present children suffering from four illnesses only - spina bifida, cleft lip, adrenal gland cancer and leukaemia - are offered fully-funded medical care yet we heard evidence during the hearings that veterans' children suffer from a variety of conditions they believe can be attributed to their parents' exposure to dioxin.

"Even if there is only limited or suggestive evidence of an association between exposure to dioxin and a disorder, veterans and their children deserve the benefit of the doubt and should be offered full medical treatment."

Ms Kedgley said while she was pleased the Government had offered an apology on behalf of previous governments, she believed it should have included itself in the apology.

"It was after all Opposition MPs who pressed for the select committee inquiry and championed the cause of the veterans - not the Government."


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