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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Agent Orange: the new controversy (Brian Martin 1986)

Published/Released on November 11, 1986 | Posted by Admin on January 13, 2016 / , ,

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“A year after the final report of the Agent Orange Royal Commission, the federal government has responded to the concern of Vietnam veterans by reopening the issue that the commission considered closed. Conflicting scientific evidence and interpretation are back in the melting pot. But in this case there is an added factor – the conduct of the commission itself.

When the report of a royal commission contains hundreds of pages copied without acknowledgement straight from the submission of one of the interested parties, what are the implications? This problem will quickly become pressing in any reevaluation of the Report of the Royal Commission on the Use and Effects of Chemical Agents on Australian Personnel in Vietnam.

Claims by Vietnam veterans that some of their health problems have been caused by exposure to the multitude of chemical agents used in the war are politically explosive. A judgement in favour of the veterans would provide support to the Vietnamese government in pursuing claims against the United States government for the effects of chemical warfare. The chemical industry has most to lose from a decision in favour of the veterans. For example, the ingredients of Agent Orange itself, 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T with some admixture of TCDD or ‘dioxin’, have long been used as herbicides in agriculture and elsewhere. A decision against the chemicals would be a body blow to the chemical industry both financially and ideologically.”

Brian Martin. Agent Orange: the new controversy. Australian Society, Vol. 5, No. 11, November 1986, pp. 25-26. On the Agent Orange Royal Commission’s plagiarism of Monsanto’s submission.

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