|Issue No 93||27 April 2001|
World Spotlight on Asbestos Usage
The Howard Government's failure to ban the production and importation of asbestos products was the focus of International Day of Mourning activity in Melbourne.
The commemoration ceremony for the estimated 1.2 million people who are killed around the world each year because of their work was hosted by the ACTU at the Victorian State Library.
ACTU Secretary Greg Combet said that by the year 2020, more than 56,000 Australians are expected to die from asbestos diseases. Australia still imports an estimated 1,500 tonnes of raw (chrysotile) asbestos and some one-million products containing asbestos each year.
"We're calling on the Federal Government to come on board with all the States and agree to ban asbestos imports and use in Australia as soon as possible," Mr Combet said.
"The Commonwealth-State Workplace Relations Ministers' Council meeting next month provides Federal Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott with a perfect opportunity to adopt the ban by 2003, as already agreed by the States.
"The first official declaration of asbestos as a hazardous material came to Australia from the UK's Chief Inspector of Factories' report in 1901," Mr Combet said. "A century later, more than one Australian per day is dying of work-related mesothelioma, and the death rate can only go up.
"The time to put a stop to this outrage is manifestly overdue.
"The only reason industrial asbestos is still used in Australia is because Mr Abbott refuses to stop it. It's critical that the Federal Government act now to ban all asbestos imports if our community is to become asbestos-free."
As part of the International Day of Mourning, workers across the country are planning to observe one minute's silence at 11am today in memory of their deceased colleagues.
Corporate: The Jobs Myth
Access Economics' Chris Richardson debunks employer claims that increased workers compensation premiums have a dramatic impact on jobs.
Interview: The Workers’ Voice
When trade union stalwart Ian West took a seat in the NSW Upper House he was determined to be more than a bench-warmer. Then the Workers Comp legislation hit.
Unions: Postcard from the Pilbara
In the face of unprecedented pressure, BHP workers in the Pilbara are standing together and refusing to sign individual cotnracts.
Economics: Currency Unification: Dollarize or Die?
Dick Bryan asks what happens to an economy when it gives up its domestic currency.
History: Instant History
In his address to the Australian Labour History Conference, the SMH's Brad Norington asks whether there is still time for history.
International: The End of an Era?
The post-Cold War era is over. Something different is developing to take its place. John Passant writes.
Media: The Battle for Aunty
The CPSU's Graeme Thompson ouitlines the campaign to save the ABC and this week's emergency share-holders' meeting.
Review: Share-Holder Nation
A legacy of government-backed privatisations, demutualisations and stockmarket hype over the past decade is the creation of a nation of shareholders.
Satire: SOS: Save the Investment Banker!
Spare a thought for those less fortunate With redundancies at investment banks around the globe looming, now is the time for us to show the world just how much we care. It's just not right.
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