Maralinga Survivor Wants Justice
Article courtesy of Port Lincoln Times
22 November 2011
Port Lincoln’s John Easton is among Maralinga veterans seeking compensation for illness caused by the 1950s bomb tests.
More than 1000 veterans of nuclear tests in Australia and the Pacific are seeking a compensation payout from the British government.
The Australian Nuclear Veterans Association has joined the British Veterans’ class action.
The British court system earlier this year acknowledged the veterans had a case for compensation, and the case will return to London’s High Court next month.
The claim is for compensation for the families of those who died and a gold health card for survivors to have their treatment paid for.
Mr Easton is one of the few surviving veterans. He is seeking compensation as a survivor of a terminal melanoma diagnosis, through Newcastle law firm Stacks and Goudkamp.
Mr Easton was seconded by the commonwealth government to run the Australian and British Forces Post Offices at the Maralinga bomb testing range as part of Operation Brumby, the first official cleanup by the British atomic program.
The men on the ground were not given protective clothing or told about the health risks, with many dying in later years as a result of the contamination.
“We were the Maralinga guinea pigs,” he said.
“People were forced to crawl through radioactive dust.
“The British knew what they were doing – they were covered from head to toe.
“And the question is, ‘why did the Australian government let them do it here’? BR>
“Why didn’t they do it in their own backyard?
“Because they knew better.”
Mr Easton organised the first Atomic Veterans Reunion held on the weekend of Remembrance Day. See Thursday’s paper for a story and photographs.