Try Not To Breathe

Bernie Banton spent his last few agonizing breaths fighting for their rights, this week the NSW Coalition kicked them and their families in the guts. Damn hard too.

They are the workers suffering and dying from the effects of asbestos, which leads to some particularly nasty and painful conditions.

Those who are unlucky enough to have this condition have a long, undignified, and agonizing death to look forward to. Their families will have to deal with watching their loved ones suffer excruciating pain with each breath, and know that there is nothing that can be done for them. This truly is a disease you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy, it is beyond horrific.

The company who gave us this deadly product was James Hardie, and the government at the time of the legal battles for compensation was the Howard Liberal Government.

As I mentioned, Bernie Banton was the man James Hardie hadn’t counted on. Bernie spent what were his final years fighting those whom he saw as the bastards who refused to help those suffering. Those bastards were the Directors of James Hardie, and Tony Abbott, who was then Health Minister. Tony Abbott did not want sufferers to have access to medication that was subsidised, and James Hardie didn’t want to be held liable for the serious problems that they had caused.

In a true David and Goliath battle, Bernie won on both counts, gaining compensation guarantees and access to subsidised medication.

The Face Of Courage, Bernie Banton

Then, like a war criminal fleeing for Switzerland, James Hardie moved its headquarters overseas in a bid to avoid the compensation payments, under the Coalitions watch.

Here in NSW, victims of this awful condition have received yet another awful blow, at the hands of a heartless Coalition government.

Some of you may remember I mentioned NSW Attorney General Greg Smith in a previous post, well, it seems Greg’s priorities are a little more than back the front.

Unlike the state governments in Western Australia, South Australia, and Victoria, Greg Smith has decided that these poor victims and families should receive no compensation at all if the sufferer dies before the compensation case is finalised in court. Nothing, nada, nil, not a brass razoo….

This is an unprecedented heartless act of total bastardry.

This virtually forces the victims to spend their final months, not with their loved ones, but in court fighting for what no reasonable person would say they don’t deserve. Mr Smith is also encouraging the legal team opposing compensation payments to drag the proceedings out and delay an outcome as long as possible as they will be financially rewarded if the victim dies before his claim is finalised.

The compensation claims the government would be liable for are estimated at $23Million over 40 years. Just over half a million a year, not really expensive at all….

More than this has probably been spent in the last year on marketing and spin regarding the North West Rail Link, which hasn’t even been started yet….

Apparently, according to Greg Smith, to pay this compensation would leave the NSW Government open to legal damages from James Hardie that could cost the govt anywhere between $23Million and $140Million over 40 years.

So, at the absolute worst, the govt would be faced with a cost of $3.5Million in a year. This is based on the assumption that James Hardie would not only take on the NSW govt legally, but win. It assumes that a company like James Hardie would be seeking to gain more publicity for short-changing their victims. It also assumes that a judge would find in the favor of a company that has caused the deaths of thousands over a government trying to compensate victims families.

Greg Smith Looks For Direction

According to Greg Smith, this is not a battle worth fighting. What a gutless display of apathy… Barry O’Farrell should show some guts and sack Mr Smith now, as he should have done last fortnight after the pedophile fiasco.

It is interesting to note that the Coalitions Greg Smith won’t fight for asbestos victims and their families, but is happy to fight for his mate the pedophile… Great priorities…

Greg Smith you are a disgrace to the parliament, and Mr O’Farrell, you are a gutless man of no principles for allowing Mr Smith to keep his job.

The Face Of Cowardice, NSW Attorney General Greg Smith

Assuming that Barry O’Farrell will do nothing, and that contacting his office will serve no purpose… Greg is the Liberal member for Epping, below are the contact details for the local press in his electorate. I encourage you to voice your anger towards him regarding this, and his support of a pedophile, to this paper. Maybe then he will get the message….

The Northern District Times

Colin Kerr
Phone: (02) 9024 8722

For those wishing to write to the press but don’t know what to write, feel free to copy & paste my below letter…

Dear Sir,

I am writing to complain that the local state member for Epping, Greg Smith, is becoming an embarrassment to common decency.

In the last month he has insulted the victim of a paedophile, supported that paedophile, and is now denying the victims of asbestos poisoning compensation if they have the nerve to die.

If the Liberal Party had any decency left in them they would sack him, and I hope the local branches have the common sense to preselect someone else next time around.

In fact, if this is the type of behaviour we can expect from the Liberal Party, I hope people will vote Labor next time.

This is nothing short of a disgrace.

Thank you for your time.

31 comments on “Try Not To Breathe

  1. wixxy, it takes your breath away. This bloke is beyond disgusting and should be sacked immediately and denied preselection for the next NSW election. What a gutless wonder.

    I will certainly be shooting off an email.

  2. Thanks Jane, I am just about to edit the post and add my email to it so people can copy & paste if they like….
    He is a disgrace…

  3. Emails sent, wixxy. I have also sent one to the OO and the Adelaide Sunday Mail.

    He is a complete disgrace. I didn’t fail to mention that Liealot had done his level best to deny them subsidised medications.

    It willbe interesting to see if they get published. I shouldn’t think the Liars Press wants this act of bastardry to get too much publicity, particularly as it puts Liealot in the frame as an utter bastard and maggot of the first water.

  4. wixxy, this is what I wrote:

    Dear Sir

    I have recently read that the Attorney General of NSW, Greg Smith has decided that the victims and families of asbestos related diseases contracted while working for James Hardie, should receive no compensation at all if the sufferer dies before the compensation case is finalised in court.

    Bad enough that Tony Abbott did his best to deny these sufferers subsidised medication while he was the Federal Minister for Health, but now the Liberal NSW AG, Greg Smith seeks to punish them even further, by forcing them to spend their final days engaged in court action to obtain their rights.

    Mr Smith is also encouraging the legal team opposing compensation payments to drag the proceedings out and delay an outcome as long as possible as they will be financially rewarded if the victim dies before his claim is finalised.

    Contrast his attitude to the unfortunate victims of these terrible illnesses, with his solicitous pandering to a known pedophile.

    Mr Smith has demonstrated that he is unfit for the position he holds and should have the common decency to resign and vanish from public life.

  5. I cannot contain my disgust at companies such as this who would seek to minimise their “losses” by depriving victims of their entitlements. But when has it ever been any different? It’s a long time since big business owned anything remotely resembling a conscience.

  6. Guess who was the defense counsel for the embattled James Hardie company? None other than Julie ‘Asbestos’ Bishop! The various governments knew about the dangers of asbestos as early as the early fifties. The original asbestos company ordered a high speed saw for their factory, only used it once, when they saw just how much dust started blowing out and around the factory. Asbestos was the firing gun that got Lang Hancock making his millions.

  7. “Asbestos was the firing gun that got Lang Hancock making his millions.”

    I can still remember his answer when he was asked if he had sympathy for his workers. It was no, as industry needed the asbestos, therefore someone had to mine it .

  8. So old Lang was a bastard. 😯

    It has been widely reported that he considered his daughter (Gina) an evil woman. Says a lot. Explains a lot.

  9. Cu and It was no, as industry needed the asbestos, therefore someone had to mine it.

    Which unfortunately is the attitude. There was once a work ethos where the bosses and the workers felt there to be a mutual responsibility. There was the feeling that if you worked hard, showed loyalty and respect, that the boss would return this by looking after the worker.

    Then people became greedy. Greed at the expense of workers is certainly nothing new, see chimney sweeps and the cotton gins, child labour. Therefore the brief period in history where the boss felt that he had responsibility towards employees, was indeed very brief.

    **Disclaimer, my dad worked for James Hardie from the time that he was 18yrs old which is 1927, it was then called Hardie Trading.

  10. Good post Wixxy.

    It’s the world we live in. Corporations can lie and con to the people…then make it hell for them if they get sick and take them to court. You have the money for top lawyers, like most corporations do, you string this shit out for years…whilst the victims are strangled by the illness, the court struggle, the financial burden, the stress, the media.

    There’s little stress for the machine…the corporation…oft run by overly-pragmatic, removed, top lawyer protected, well-paid, overly-ambitious, testosterone-driven, sometimes psychotic, arrogant, narcissistic characters absent guilt chips.

    You’d think the people’s representatives, the governing politicians in this case, would have more empathy for the little person.

    But alas, too many these days are not disimilar to the corporate character I described above.

    Money, corporate media, contacts, donors, advisors, polls, educational institutions have ensured many are one and the same…clones looking out for one another.

    It seems that your NSW minister is a clone. Working for the machine.


  11. Min, I do hate to disagree, but I do not believe that golden age ever existed.

    I believe the past would have more represented the master and servant relationship, where each knew their place.

  12. Migs @5.51pm, it’s common knowledge that Lang Hancock was a complete mongrel to everyone. Whatever Rose squeezed out of that horrible old man she’d well and truly earned!

    CU @6.36pm, I heartily agree.

  13. My father was exposed to asbestos (blue) while working, firstly in the railways, then power stations and in his role as a boiler inspector. Asbestos was used in the lagging (insulation) on the steam pipes. Apparently it came in bags and would openly be poured into containers and mixed with water. The dust, he says was incredible. Laggers would then take the mixture and wrap it around the pipes and fittings. As a fitter, if there was a leak in a fitting it was his job to chip away the lagging to make repairs.

    He has witnessed countless ex work mates die from asbestos related disease.

    Today I took him for a second visit to see a respiratory specialist and although he hasn’t progressed to mesothelioma he has very chronic respiratory disease caused by exposure to asbestos. He is to start oxygen therapy tomorrow to, hopefully, relieve the symptoms. But it’s downhill from here.

    He only stopped working as a boiler inspector at the start of this year. He’s 89.

    He is in the process of making a compensation claim.

    So wiixxy, your post is rather timely.

    And this Greg Smith is indeed a low life. Nothin’ like Christian charity!!!!

  14. handyrab, your Dad is a legend! Just retired at 89! I’m so in awe of him.

    But also very sad that his well earned retirement has been compromised by this terrible disease. I do hope his compensation claim goes smoothly. I wish him very well.

  15. Thanks to all well wishers.

    I didn’t write the post for sympathy, rather to again highlight that asbestos related disease does have a human dimension. Obviously the NSW AG doesn’t see this.

    It’s not a lifestyle disease FFS. People affected are innocent victims.

  16. On Kangaroo Island the farm houses were made from asbestos. Lang would have been happy.

    Handyrab, I fully sympathise.

  17. handyrab, I am sure no ones thinks you are seeking sympathy. Please take what has been said as support.

    I remember when my 90 odd year old father was in Westmead. The ignorant young doctor told me he was recovering well but has a slight spot on the lungs. Of course he jumped to to the wrong conclusion, smoking.

    I retorted in a angry manner, telling him he had that one wrong. For one thing, the amount of smoking during his life was minimal. He was too mean to buy tobacco.

    I suggested to the doctor, he takes a little history of patients before he jumps to conclusions.

    Yes, my father did have severe pneumonia as a young person. He caught pneumonia while sinking a shaft for tin. (my mothers idea of course. No tin, even though it was near the surface, on the other side of the fence)

    Yes, he had spent many summers, on a tractor pulling a harvester. Of course that and red dust through many droughts, would not have affected the lungs.

    I walked away, only to have the specialist standing by, follow me.

    He made a apology and thank me for pulling them up. He said that they are indeed too quick to jump to conclusions, especially with the elderly.

    He agreed that the spot on the lungs was more likely the result of pneumonia, than smoking. Especially as this was before the days of antibiotics.

    At least your father seems to have the guts not to let them off the hook.

    Keep up the good work, reminding people that there are humans affected by government decisions.

  18. handyrab @2.55pm, it’s a work related disease, ffs and the sufferers should be looked after.

    The NSW AG doesn’t want to acknowledge the human dimension, nor does he seem to care that these poor buggers have work related illnesses.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s