THE HON. CATHERINE KING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
LABOR SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND
LABOR MOVES FOR SENATE INQUIRY INTO SUPPORT FOR THALIDOMIDE SURVIVORS
Labor will ask the Senate to establish an inquiry into the ongoing pain and suffering endured by Australian survivors of the thalidomide tragedy.
Thalidomide was a drug used in the early 1960s to treat morning sickness that caused birth defects in thousands of children worldwide – including dozens in Australia who were left with life-long disabilities.
Thalidomide survivors are fiercely and proudly independent despite the damage done by this drug.
However many survivors say they have been under-compensated by the drug makers and need more support as they age and their needs become more complex.
Some say they feel as if their pleas for help have gone unheard in recent years. This Senate inquiry will give them a chance to tell their stories and outline their needs.
A number of governments around the world – including Canada, Germany, Japan and the UK – have established statutory support schemes for their thalidomide survivors but Australia has not done so.
The inquiry will examine whether there is anything more the Commonwealth can do to make sure thalidomide survivors can live with security and dignity in the decades ahead.
MONDAY, 20 AUGUST 2018