Almost 300 veterans are seeking justice from the Australian Human Rights Commission for their exposure to radiation from British nuclear tests on Australian soil during the 1950s and 1960s.

Sydney legal firm Stacks/Goudkamp is taking a final appeal on behalf of 295 Australian servicemen to the commission arguing prime minister Robert Menzies' government breached three articles of the universal declaration of human rights.

These are the right to life, liberty and security, the right to not be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to a living standard adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family.

Stacks/Goudkamp human rights law specialist Joshua Dale said the commission could only make recommendations to the government.

"The government will then have to discuss these in parliament in a public forum," Mr Dale told ABC Television on Thursday.

"They (the government) either accept those recommendations and they can potentially legislate to allow the veterans to start claiming under the veterans' entitlements legislation.

Great Britain exploded 12 atomic bombs across Australia between October 1952 to September 1958.

There were also more than 500 minor and experimental tests using radioactive material from October 1953 to April 1963, with most of these tests done in the Maralinga area in South Australia.

Around 8000 Australian servicemen from the air force, army and navy were exposed to the blasts and radiation zones.

Geoff Gates, then 23 years old, drove trucks into ground zero following the blasts.

Mr Gates said the local servicemen had no protective clothing, unlike the British scientists.

"I had just a little cap, shorts and the boots," he said.

He said the veterans were not looking for compensation.

"We are looking for the recognition of what we were exposed to by the government of the day, and for those who suffer ill health, we are looking for some help there to overcome those problems," Mr Gates said.

An Australian Royal Commission in 1985 found prime minister Menzies sanctioned the British government's request for nuclear testing to be conducted in Australia without reference to cabinet or the scientific knowledge of the potential hazards involved.


Publishing Services International Limited (PSIL) is the publisher and operator of a worldwide network of online news sites dedicated to delivering fair, accurate and relevant reporting from a variety of the world’s most trusted sources – from the biggest cities to the smallest towns.

We deliver positive and powerful messages to our readers, providing up‑to‑the‑second news that matters to the individual.

Our promise is to serve communities and individuals worldwide, delivering information that hasn’t always been available to them. We will give them back a voice – a voice that’s empowering because it is theirs – and provide a platform to communicate between themselves and the world.

We believe people are not just generic demographics; they are individuals with their own preferences and curiosities. We are about understanding these individuals, listening to them, and serving them.

We are the new pioneering spirit of news – we’re not talking to everyone, we’re talking with every one.

If you want your news, your voice, your way, on your time – we’ve got news for you.




If you have any questions or concerns please email us on


  • Australia, Toll Free 1-800-983-421
  • Hong Kong, Toll Free 800-906-187
  • Singapore, Toll Free 800-852-3871
  • USA/Canada, Toll Free 1-800-830-4132

Advertise With Us

Interested in being awesome?
Contact us by email or phone.