||Issue No. 235||27 August 2004|
Interview: Trading Places
Safety: Snow Job
Politics: In the Vanguard
Unions: Gentle Giant Goes For Gold
Bad Boss: 'Porker' Chases Blue Ribbon
International: Cruising For A Bruising
History: Under the Influence
Economics: Working Capital
Review: Fahrenheit 9/11
Poetry: Bad Intelligence Rap
Satire: Osama Bin Manchu
The Locker Room
Meredith Helicar is either an incompetent Tool or a devious Tool.
This week the CEO who enjoys her "full confidence" was caught telling yet more porkies about Hardies, claiming that they had nothing to do with the industry of death, and if they did it was only a little bit, and besides, other people where doing it as well.
This all came out in a letter floating around to Hardies' valuable US Customers - who seem to be a lot more valuable than Hardies' dying former customers and employees.
Of course for Hardies it's like saying, "let's pretend nothing happened in Baryulgil". Baryulgil being the NSW North Coast town where asbestos was once mined by Hardies, largely by an indigenous workforce who were then left to die while Hardies plastered their name across Parramatta jumpers.
Fancy claiming that you were just a bit player in the human tragedy of asbestos when you have a market share of up to 90 per cent. What kind of idiots do they think we are?
Of course they were caught out and decided to withdraw their letter, crying innocent, or at least only a little bit guilty.
Which is serial behaviour for this bunch of leeches on the social body.
Every time they've tried to get away with one of their scams to weasel out of looking after the people they poisoned they've been sprung, and then they've pleaded that they are truly, truly sorry.
They claimed they phased out the use of blue asbestos once the link with mesothelioma was "firmly established, but didn't say that James Hardie companies continued to manufacture asbestos products for many decades after health risks were clear.
What do they expect, a medal?
Helicar is on the record as saying "we can't rewrite history"; well their letter to their US customers gave it a damn fine attempt.
"We have obligations to our shareholders," says Helicar - as if a pile of greenbacks is worth more than someone's father, mother, sister, brother or child.
This sort of mindless market driven spin doesn't wash.
It's pretty obvious that these cynical dealers in death wouldn't be trotting out these no-brainers unless they'd been hauled before the Jackson Inquiry in the first place.
As asbestos victim Bernie Banton pointed out, the only scheme that Hardies are interested in is the scheming they do to avoid their responsibilities to their fellow human beings.
And whose at the top of this steaming pile of human excrement? Why, step forward Meredith Helicar, Chair of the Board at James Hardies and someone who, by her own admission, cares more about share prices than dying fellow human beings.
Helicar, who is trying to position herself as some 'break from the past' was on the board that signed off on their Dutch treat for Hardies asbestos victims. Then she has the hide to claim that she was "truly, truly sorry" that the company had short changed dying asbestos victims.
The only thing that she's "truly, truly sorry" about is getting caught.
There's a word for people like Meredith. People who profit from other people's misery; these dealers in death who produced mealy mouthed obfuscations to avoid their very real responsibilities. - maggots.
The scary thing about Helicar is that one of her previous Directorships includes the NSW Environment Protection Authority.
Which is a bit like leaving Ivan Milat as chief warden of Goulburn Gaol.
She has also sat on the board of the NSW Treasury Corporation (no surprises there) and HIH Claims Support Limited.
So with Hardies she gets the Trifecta.
The Directors, including our Tool Of The Week, only acted after the share price headed south and it started to impact on their share options, share holdings and bonuses of management and the board.
Australians will be spending the next fifty years or more dealing with the nightmare of asbestos, let's just hope we don't have to share too many more years with grubby slime like our Tool Of The Week, Meredith Helicar.
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