Australia’s thalidomide survivors will share their stories of pain and struggle during the first hearing of a Labor-initiated Senate inquiry on Friday.
Labor asked the Senate to establish the inquiry to examine what support has been given to thalidomide survivors to date – and what more we could potentially do.
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 is giving them a chance to tell their stories and outline their needs.
A number of other 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. England has also delivered a Parliamentary apology – but Australia has not.
The inquiry will determine whether there is anything more the Commonwealth can do to make sure thalidomide survivors can live with security and dignity in the decades ahead.
FRIDAY, 2 NOVEMBER 2018