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Bereaved families forced to sue ADF

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The Australian

27 April 2004

MOST families of soldiers killed on duty sue the Australian Defence Force or go to the media in an attempt to discover the truth about their deaths, a report says.

The report, handed this month to service chiefs, including defence force chief Peter Cosgrove, paints a disturbing picture of the military’s treatment of some families when their loved ones are killed.

One widow says she and her husband’s military friends funded and erected their own memorial at the site where he was killed because the ADF failed to help.

Other widows say they have difficulty attending memorials for their dead husbands because they are usually on military bases.

The report includes the first survey of families of ADF personnel killed in accidents or as a result of suicides.

The report by Brisbane-based lawyer Kirstin Ferguson says families are concerned that military investigations into deaths of their loved ones are secret and lack independence.

The report recommends keeping families fully briefed about these investigations.

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