Radio-Chemistry and the Career Highlights of the Mamu

Senator ELSTOB – “My question is directed to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and may also bring some response from the Minister representing the Minister for Health. What plans has the Government for initiating inquiries into the deaths and illnesses of Aboriginals and white people who were exposed to the fall-out of the Maralinga atomic tests? According to reports received by Dr T. Cutter, who is heading an Alice Springs based Aboriginal health service team, many Aboriginals died immediately after the tests. Will the Minister consider holding a full inquiry into the short and long term effects on the health of the people living in the north of South Australia at the time of the atomic tests and check on the reports of mass burials of Aboriginals?”
Senator CHANEY – “Needless to say, this matter has been of concern to me. The concern predates the recent spate of publicity which related to Dr Cutter’s visit to northern South Australia and, of course, to a series of articles in, I think, the Advertiser in South Australia. At present the Commonwealth is seeking information on the matters which have been raised. Perhaps it is worth quoting Mr Toyne, one of the people who has been interviewed in this area and who is an employee of the Pitjantjatjara Council. I refer to his comment on radio the other morning.. When asked about possible deaths he said: all I can say is that it is quite speculative. We are still in the area of speculation. We are still seeking information. Over the past month or so l have written on a couple of occasions to the Minister of Health in South Australia seeking information from the South Australian Health Commission. I am not in a position to give a final response…..”
In July 1999 I wrote to the SA Health Commission, and asked for copies of the documents sent to it by Senator Chaney. I further asked for copies of the SA Health Commission response to Senator Chaney.
My request for this information was refused. After negotiation with the Freedom of Information Officer, Mr Dadds, I received the following letter. Note that the question of mass graves is side stepped, and that the Department suggests that I refer to atomic test era (1950’s) census data in order to obtain information on the numbers of Aboriginal people living in the test affected areas. Indigenous Australians were not considered as citizens at the time and so were not included in census collected. The truth is STILL being covered up.
Accompanying Mr Dadds’ two page letter was a 1980’s era health survey of Aboriginal health. This survey, promoted at the time by the South Australian Health Minister, Mrs Joy Adamson, as proving all was well, shows in fact the opposite. The McClelland Royal Commission found Mrs Adamson’s comments to be unfortunate.



The question the British Government won’t answer relates to the questions raised by Elstob and Chaney above.

“The deathbed confession of John Burke added to the furore. He claimed that he had found four dead Aborigines in a bomb crater in 1963. He also revealed de3tails of the hitherto unpublicized minor trials and claimed that he knew that Aborigines had already taken advantage of their salvage rights in the area. They had, according to Burke, dug up contaminated articles such as Land Rovers and heavy engineering equipment and had sold them in Coober Pedy. Within days of his death, South Australian senators were calling for a public inquiry. At its caucus meeting on 8 May, the Labor Party called for a full judicial inquiry into the tests. On the same day Adelaide’s Advertiser said that with all the new allegations, Britain should stop repeating its blanket, assurances that no one suffered during the tests. ‘It behoves Britain to give a much more detailed explanation than has been given so far.’ In its leader, entitled ‘Maralinga cover-up’, the Melbourne Age claimed that ‘what we are witnessing is a conspiracy of silence: a conspiracy to which the Australian Government is party, albeit a reluctant one’. The Australian government reacted with the establishment of the Kerr committee. Senator Walsh, Minister for Resources and Energy, gave Professor Kerr and his team just sixteen days to review all the published scientific literature on the tests, to assess any dangers that the tests might have caused the Australian people and to recommend to the Government any appropriate action. The government wanted to be seen to be tr5eating the matter with the highest priority and urgency. A week after announcing the Kerr committee, Senator Walsh accompanied premier Bannon on the flight to Maralinga. In prepared statements to coincide with the trip, Walsh announced: ‘Let me assure the Australian people that the government has no interest or intention of keeping facts relating to the nuclear tests in Australia secret.’ Premier Bannon said that the tests should never have taken place and ‘it’s now up to us to make amends’. “

One Response to “Radio-Chemistry and the Career Highlights of the Mamu”

  1. CaptD Says:

    RE: “The McClelland Royal Commission found Mrs Adamson’s comments to be unfortunate.”

    What a Nuclear Waste!

    Liked and Tweeted…

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