Karen Banton comments in the 7:30 Report on 12-12-12 are equally relevant to the statement: “Centrelink does not collect ‘Post Breaching Terminal Outcome Statistics’ and is therefore unable to assist with your request for this information”? (Correspondence written by Centrelink’s Assistant Secretary Neil Skill. 18th May 2010.)
In the ABC’s 7.30 Report that preceded the showing of part 2 of Devil’s Dust, the story of the James Hardie asbestos diseases disaster, Karen Banton, the wife of Bernie Banton (who died of Mesothelioma in 2007) made the following comments which I believe are equally valid in their sentiments when considering the actions of the Centrelink and Department of Employment administrators who hid the death toll caused by breaching legislation from both parliament and the public and consequently allowed the death toll to rise, rise, and keep on rising until the legislation was finally abandoned ion June 30th 2009. They signed off on annual reports that reported a “Scorecard” (their word – not mine) that reported on money saved, not lives lost. Over decades, dollars, breaches and prosecutions had pride of place in their reports whilst the humanitarian disaster caused by breaching activity never rated a single word.
The parallel with actions of Jamies Hardie’s management is clear, as are the lethal consequences of their actions. The only major difference is that the number of deaths caused by asbestos is known, whilst the fatalities caused by breaching are still a confidentially classified secret!
Mrs Banton said:
- “But I wonder what company here in Australia would want to employ a director who has on their CV that they signed off on press release to the Australian Stock Exchange that was misleading.”
- “No one held to account… I think that a lot of people would like to see some jail time involved.’
- “Take a good look at yourselves in the mirror and stop being in denial; that what you did was okay. It was morally wrong and it is time that some acknowledgement of that in the form of a “Sorry” should be given.”
My apologies to Mrs Banton to using these comments in a different content. I hope that if she ever reads this blog, that she will understand that Injustice is a universal problem, and that those who opposite it face identical issues of morality, or to be more precisely, the utter lack of morality.
That the senior management public servants who hid the post breaching fatalities for decades are currently paid over $200,000 a year and also receive a 4% “Productivity Bonus” for doing so as utterly disgraceful as the fees paid to James Hardie’s board of directors when, for decades, they were hiding the dangers caused by asbestos.
At the end of the day, whether people were killed by asbestos or by breaching, those with the power to stop this from continuing to happen, failed to so. Nothing can ever alter that simple fact! Mrs Banton mentioned jail time? For those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, would eternity be long enough?
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Ronald Medlicott (Christian advocate of social justice.)