The Australian Greens today called on the Federal Government to commit to revealing the actual numbers of wounded and injured Australian soldiers in Afghanistan, successfully securing the promise of a review in the way in which casualties are reported.
Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam said the Australian people are entitled to know the full cost of the war without needing to use Freedom of Information laws to secure the truth.
"Documents released under FOI revealed that the government's publicly stated figure of 184 wounded Australians in Afghanistan does not tell even half the story. More than 920 wounded and injured Australian soldiers in Afghanistan have received compensation for amputated limbs, severe burns, bullets still lodged in flesh and major depression.
"The public has the right to form an informed view of this nation's role in the Afghanistan war - and can't do that without a clear picture of the cost of the war."
Senator Ludlam asked the government in the Senate chamber if they would commit to regular reporting of the numbers of wounded and injured troops in Afghanistan, and to releasing more information about the nature of the wounds and injuries, and the types of treatment and support offered to soldiers returning from Afghanistan.
Following the recent revelation that two female ADF personnel were wounded by a rocket attack in Kandahar in March 2007, Senator Ludlam also asked if the Government would continue the practice of concealing the gender of the wounded and injured soldiers.
In response Senator Chris Evans, representing Minister for Defence Stephen Smith, said the government has a policy of concealing the gender of reported casualties but committed to reviewing the reporting of wounds and injuries and associated treatment and compensation.
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