Australian news, and some related international items

Unfair court ruling against atomic test veterans

VIDEO ,  Maralinga veterans shocked by ‘cruel’ ruling, ABC News, March 16, 2012 Veterans of the Maralinga nuclear tests in South Australia in the 1950s and ’60s have suffered a major setback in their bid to sue the British government.

The British supreme court has ruled that 1,000 British veterans involved with the tests are unable to file for compensation from the
UK ministry of defence because too much time has passed since the tests. A group of 320 Australian veterans had hoped to file their own class action based on the result. A Sydney solicitor handling the case, Michael Giles, says his firm
will explore their options. “I don’t see it as completely crippling the claim, but our options have been severely limited and we will have to look at it and just take it from there,” he said.

Mr Giles says the British experience might be a setback but it does not change that what happened to veterans was wrong.
“The fact that the government asks you to do this and then you became sick because your government asked you to do that but then your government rejects it and in fact has made laws that’s made it incredibly difficult for you to pursue that is unfair,” he said.

“The amount of money which has been spent by the British government just defending this case through three courts would have gone a long way to compensating British, Australian, New Zealand and Fijian veterans.”

Former RAAF member Avon Hudson says he feels used and abused by the UK court decision. Mr Hudson says he has overcome cancer but is still sick from the nuclear testing. “There is a higher incidence of cancers among the nuclear veterans, something like 40 per cent higher than the normal population that never went to the bomb tests,” he said. “I think that tells anyone with half a brain that we were affected more than the ordinary population.” Mr Hudson says he is shocked by the decision.  “My immediate thoughts is that they are callous, disrespectful, cruel and hard-hearted towards the nuclear veterans,” he said.

March 16, 2012 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal

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