The Official Organ of LaborNET
click here to view the latest edition of Workers Online
The Official Organ of LaborNET
Free home delivery
Issue No. 181 06 June 2003  

National Leadership
After a week of front-page political chicanery we are to get more John Howard; who at a time of his choosing will pitch for a fourth election victory by going head to head with the son of a Whitlam Minister.


History: Nest of Traitors
Rowan Cahill uncovers a ripping yarn that could redefine the way we look at Australian involvement in World War II.

Interview: A Nation of Hope
Former PM Bob Hawke bemoans the demise of industrial relations but takes heart from the prospect of peace in the Middle East

Unions: National Focus
Noel Hester reports on a soap star rebellion, Howard�s plans to renuclearise South Australia, more historical atrocities in the north, the redundancy test case plus more in the monthly national wrap.

Safety: The Shocking Truth
It�s every power worker�s worst nightmare � and it happened to Adrian Ware. In a flash of voltage, his life changed forever, as Jim Marr reports.

Tribute: A Comrade Departed
From Prime Ministers to wharfies, the labour movement paid tribute to Tas Bull this week. Jim Marr was among them.

History: Working Bees
Neale Towart looks at a group of workers who got sacked so their boss could keep making the Bomb.

Education: The Big Picture
The NTEU�s Dr Mike Donaldson and Tony Brown join all the dots in the current debate around higher eduction.

International: Static Labour
Ray Marcelo argues there�s another side to the recent furore over Telstra�s use of cheap Indian IT contractors.

Economics: Budget And Fudge It
Frank Stilwell argues that Peter Costello�s latest budget plumbs fiscal policy to new depths.

Technology: Google and Campaigning
Labourstart�s Eric Lee argues the latest weapon for campaigning could be the humble search engine.

Review: Secretary With A Difference
Looking for a new job can be hard enough, without having to worry about sadomasochistic bosses and the threat of being spanked for forgetting to cross your �t�s, says Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: The Minimale
The Labor Party leadership is in the news again, inspiring our resident bard David Peetz to song

Satire: Howard Calls for Senate to be Replaced by Clap-O-Meter
John Howard released a controversial policy statement today, arguing that the Senate be abolished in favour of a device measuring noise from the gallery of the House of Representatives.


 Allianz Claims on Sick and Dying

 Back Pay Bill From Behind the Bars

 Gloves Off for Local Voices

 Stabbings Ground Job Cuts � For Now

 Red Light for Cut Price Labour Hire

 Sacked Workers� Ultimate Insult

 Electrolux Repays Survival With Bastardry

 Survivor Urges Compo Rethink

 Nurses: Bosses Should Foot Bank Fees

 Telstra Workers Show Bottle

 Rail Workers Telegraph Press Council Track

 Call Centre Leak Shames Stellar

 Malaysian Detainees Released

 Western Sahara Tests UN

 Activist Notebook


It�s Our Party
Long time union watcher Nicholas Way looks at the changing dynamics between the industrial and political wings of the labour movement.

The Soapbox
Grass Roots
In his Maiden Speech, new MP Tony Burke argues that the ALP�s union links are nothing to be ashamed of.

Opinion Forming Down Under
Evan Jones condemns the mainstream�s media coverage of the War on Iraq and the damage it is doing to our national psyche.

The Locker Room
Location, Re-Location!
It�s all fun and games until someone loses a club, writes Phil Doyle

 Blowing Holes in Gittens
 Negative Campaigning
 Response to Gould
 Aged Policy Looks Hairy
 Tom's Turn
 God Save Billy Deane
 Solidarity Forever
 More Bad Language
About Workers Online
Latest Issue
Print Latest Issue
Previous Issues
Advanced Search

other LaborNET sites

Labor Council of NSW
Vic Trades Hall Council
IT Workers Alliance
Unions on LaborNET
Evatt Foundation

Labor for Refugees



Allianz Claims on Sick and Dying

The spectre of elderly workers giving evidence to bedside court hearings as corporate lawyers try to spin proceedings beyond death has been raised by the actions of insurance giant, Allianz.

The CFMEU and AMWU this week blew the cover on a hush-hush Allianz campaign to wash its hands of millions of dollars owed victims of dust-related diseases like mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Allianz is lobbying vigorously for "occupational claims" to be moved from the Dust Diseases Board to the Workers Compensation Commission. Success would see compensation settlements capped, claims die with the victims, and allow Allianz to shift remaining liability onto the public.

Angry AMWU secretary, Paul Bastian, warned the state Government acqueisance would buy a fight.

"Bob Carr has got a lot to answer for over workers comp but he will have a lot more to bloody answer for if he is even contemplating cutting the benefits of victims of these diseases," Bastian said.

"Wharfies, construction workers, metal workers and many others know what it is like to lose a comrade to mesothelioma. It's a horrible, painful death, very hard on the family at the time, and not easy to overcome."

Bastian lashed Allianz for accepting premiums over more than 20 years then trying to shift the burden. He accused it of chasing a "windfall profit".

"This company accepted premiums from asbestos and lagging manufacturers for many years. These funds were invested and the company reaped the profit. The company made a calculated business decision that the number of people it needed to compensate would be less than the profits.

"Allianz has access to the same actuarial information that we do and the bottom line is they made a bad business decision. Their clients killed more people than they estimated," Bastian said.

CFMEU secretary, Andrew Ferguson, said his union had been made aware of the same industry gossip. He called the proposal "totally unacceptable".

Leading industrial barrister Adam Searle was stunned by the prospect. Searle, chief of staff for IR Minister Jeff Shaw, when Dust Diseases legislation was toughened in 1998 said any watering down would be "disgraceful".

He described diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma as "fast onset and destructive, offering a narrow window to hear and resolve claims".

He said Shaw had been moved to act because of a "concerted campaign by insurance companies to delay claims until victims died and their access to general damages died with them."

Unlike most accidents, Searle explained, victims were generally elderly and often retired, meaning general compensation was a much more significant component of settlements than the economic loss factor which generally dominated.

"This would represent an enormous disgrace," Searle said. "On the day it went through Parliament in 1998 it got glowing write-ups as well as the support of all cross bench MPs."

Labor Council is seeking assurances from state government that it will not entertain Allianz's claims.


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 181 contents

email workers to a friend printer-friendly version latest breaking news from labornet

Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue

© 1999-2002 Workers Online
Workers Online is a resource for the Labour movement
provided by the Labor Council of NSW
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005

Powered by APT Solutions
Labor Council of NSW Workers Online