The Guardian August 8, 2001


Maralinga cloud remains

The trade union movement is backing the push for compensation for people 
involved in the British nuclear weapons tests at Maralinga in the 1950s and 
1960s. The United Trades and Labor Council of South Australia (UTLC) said 
it was time the issue was put firmly on the public agenda and that the 
Federal Government should deal with the issue of compensation. 

"South Australians paid a terrible price for their involvement in the 
Maralinga bomb tests with thousands suffering and many subsequently dying 
as a result of the exposure to nuclear fallout", said UTLC Secretary, Chris 
White. 

"The UTLC takes the Maralinga cover-up seriously and in the public interest 
we are joining with other groups to pressure all political parties for an 
answer. 

"It is simply not good enough to say sorry to the people who suffered, it 
is about justice and paying fair compensation." 

On Sunday August 5, the day before the 56th anniversary of the nuclear 
bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the UTLC 
organised with other concerned groups a special meeting  Hiroshima Day 
Public Forum on Nuclear Weapons Tests in South Australia  to hear first-
hand accounts from some of those involved in the Maralinga tests. 

Around 300 people heard Dr Roger Cross, the author of the best selling book 
"Fallout" that helped expose the secrecy surrounding the British tests, and 
other guest speakers, Maralinga survivor Avon Hudson and local Aboriginal 
identity Rebecca Bear-Wingfield. 

The public forum passed the following resolutions calling for: 

1) An apology from the Federal Government to those who were effected by the 
tests at Maralinga, Emu, Monte Bello Islands and Christmas Island. 

2) Compensation by the Federal Government of workers, Indigenous people and 
others who were affected by the tests. 

3) The Federal Government to retain responsibility for management of 
nuclear weapons test sites and plutonium nuclear waste dump. 

4) State and Federal Governments to fully disclose the results of the 
radioactivity tests on deceased children. 

5) An inquiry by the SA Government into the health of the people who were 
resident in Whyalla, Port Augusta, Port Pirie and Adelaide at the time of 
the Maralinga and Emu tests. 

6) The Australian Government to take steps to prevent a repetition of 
events such as those that occurred as a result of the nuclear weapons tests 
in Australia. In particular to: 

* Oppose the proposed US nuclear missile defence (NMD) system, also known 
as Star Wars; 

* Oppose the dumping of national and international nuclear wastes in South 
Australia; 

* Oppose the construction of a nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights in NSW.

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