Greens spokesperson for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, today called on the government to act on the recommendations of the recent Senate inquiry initiated by the Greens into veterans’ mental health in light of reports that another veteran who was administered mefloquine has committed suicide after a long history of mental illness.
Senator Whish-Wilson extended his condolences to the friends and family of Chris Stiles, a veteran of East Timor.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The government must immediately make contact with all ADF members and veterans who have been administered mefloquine to warn them of the potential dangers and to ascertain if they too are experiencing any mental health problems.
“Defence has recently admitted that it shouldn’t have administered mefloquine to another veteran of East Timor, Christopher Salter, because of a pre-existing condition. The government has a duty of care to understand just how many veterans who were administered mefloquine are also struggling with mental illness.
“The Senate committee report released in March clearly outlines the problems associated with the administration of mefloquine, particularly to veterans of East Timor.
“Defence has been negligently slow in acting on this issue. Veterans have not been given adequate help and recognition of the problems they are facing. This is incredibly serious. The government must do all it can now to prevent further loss of life.