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Issue No. 287 28 October 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

A Sick Set of Laws
The Howard Government’s inexorable push to strip workers’ rights continues; despite the warnings of unions, churches, community groups, labour market economists and now, epidemiologists.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Under Fire
Michael Crosby outlines his agenda to save the movement – and explains why Australians have nothing to fear from the SEIU.

Politics: And the Winners Are ...
Wal King, Allan Moss, Roger Corbett, Chip Goodyear, Michael Chaney and David Murray have lots in common, writes Jim Marr.

Industrial: Un-Australian
Labour lawyer Clive Thompson argues the changes to IR are fundamentally at odds with the national tradition of consesensus.

Economics: The Common Wealth
As the policy wonks debate the future of our cities, Neale Towart mounts a simple argument: It’s the real people in a society, stupid

History: Walking for Justice
The Eight Hour Day, a very Australian celebration, had its origins in New Zealand it seems, writes Neale Towart.

International: Deja Vu
A group of trade unions have walked away from America's peak council, again. Labourstart's Eric Lee was there.

Legal: The Rights Stuff
Terror laws have sparked a fresh debate on a Bill of Rights - and workers have a bigger stake than ever before, writes Rachael Osman-Chin.

Review: That Cinderella Fella
Russell trades the phone for mitts in an inspiring cinematic slug-fest. Nathan Brown is ringside

Poetry: Is Howard Kidding?
Mel Cheal asks who Howard thinks he is kidding to the tune of the ‘Dad’s Army’ theme song.

N E W S

 Howard's Fatal Laws

 Saving Private Buy-In

 PM Scoffs at Wollongong

 Commo Bank in Denial

 Family Values

 Johnny Fails Comprehension Test

 Dole Bludgeoning - Andrews Comes Clean

 Jason Turns Leave into Leave!

 Halfback Puts the Boot In

 Business, As Usual

 Terror Laws Strike Fear

 Asbestos Giants Claw Back Compo

 Staff Told to Take a Hike

 Activist's What's On!

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
No Place For A Woman!
Doreen Borrow spoke to the Public Service Association’s women’s conference in September about her experiences of working life that span seven decades.

Postcard
North By Northwest
Phil Doyle returns from up north, where he survived on nothing but goodwill, good people and a great big orange bus.

The Locker Room
Disaster
In which Whatsisname slams the recent poor form of Thingummyjig.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West MLC, gets all casual in his latest missive from the Bear Pit.

L E T T E R S
 Rung Out
 PM's Fatal Flush
 Sign of the Times
 Labor's Love Lost
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Asbestos Giants Claw Back Compo


Corporate asbestos producers have clawed back $165,000 from a disabled South Australian woman.

CSR and Midalco went to the High Court to get the compensation back from Beverley Thompson, after her husband died.

The High Court overturned a Dust Diseases Tribunal ruling that had granted mesothelioma sufferer and former asbestos factory worker, John Thompson, the sum to care for his disabled wife.

Beveley Thompson, 63, suffers from arthritis in the spine and is unable to do household tasks, such as vacuuming, cleaning and gardening, which her husband did until his condition took over.

Mr Thompson worked at the factory, owned by CSR and supplied with asbestos by Midalco, between 1960 and 1963. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2002 and died in November, 2003.

Mrs Thompson said her husband had gone through "pure agony" and "lived with the fear for years", knowing his contact with asbestos would eventually strike him down.

The Dust Diseases Tribunal of NSW ruling ordered CSR and Midalco to pay $465,899.49 in damages to Mr Thompson in April, 2003, including $165,480 in special damages to care for his wife.

However, the High Court ruled there should be special damages to care for disabled family members.

"Without that money it's going to be difficult to employ people to do that [do the chores she cannot do] for me," Mrs Thompson said.

Alex Stuart, of Alex Stuart & Associates, which represented John Thompson's estate in the case, said it was a terrible decision for workers.

"We're yet to see an increase in general damages, but it is unlikely that it will reach the position it was at," Stuart said.

"He [Mr Thompson] wanted to die with peace of mind."


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