Asbestos victims gain hope from law

RELIEVED: Laurie ApplebyLast month a bill to remove asbestos-related diseases from the Limitations Act 1974 was passed by the Legislative Council.
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The change removes the six-year deadline on claims. When it comes into force on January 1, claims will be able to be made long after initial exposure.

Former Goliath Cement Works employee Laurie Appleby said yesterday he was relieved that Tasmanian workers could now be treated fairly.

“This change has come about after two and a half years of constant door banging and lobbying of politicians,” he said.

The symptoms of asbestosis and other asbestos-related illnesses sometimes do not appear for 40 years, but the Act had prevented workers who had been negligently exposed to asbestos from seeking compensation because it did not allow for retrospectivity.

Mr Appleby said that almost all Tasmanian asbestos victims had worked at Goliath’s Railton plant, now owned by Cement Australia.

Plant general manager Kevin Doyle declined to comment yesterday, saying it was a matter for the company’s head office.

Mr Appleby said he had unloaded asbestos, imported from interstate, from trucks at the Railton site from 1969 to 1979, and talks of working in “a snowstorm” of asbestos.

“The stuff used to come in bags from the company we bought it off and we would stack it up like bales of hay, with hessian bags everywhere,” he said.

“As president of Asbestos Disease Tasmania I get calls from people affected by asbestos-related illness every week.

“Our group is seeking legal advice as to who to pursue, Goliath or the company that supplied the asbestos or both.

“Goliath made all the asbestos products in Tasmania, and 90 per cent of the people who are now able to make a claim are former cement works employees.

“All cement products made at Railton by Goliath from the 1930s until the early 1980s contain asbestos.

“People don’t realise that it wasn’t just used in cement sheeting, it was also a binding agent in cement mix that you could buy in bags or from a cement truck.

“The problem is that there are cement paths and foundations out there that have asbestos in them, and people don’t know, and don’t take precautions when removing them.

“I have heard of wives of the men who worked there suffering asbestos-related diseases from washing their husband’s clothes.”

Some of his colleagues have died since Mr Appleby – who also has asbestos on the lungs – began his fight for change.

In August Mr Appleby presented Braddon Liberal MHA Jeremy Rockliff with a 2000-signature petition for all asbestosis sufferers to be recognised.

When the new law comes in, victims will have three years from that date to make a claim. Mr Appleby said that amendments made by Mr Rockliff to the draft legislation were vital to the new bill being worthwhile.

“And our champion in the Upper House was Greg Hall MLC, who made it possible for representatives to speak to all the MLCs a day before the draft legislation was debated,” Mr Appleby said.

He plans to hold seminars to ensure that Tasmanians are made aware of their entitlements under the new law.

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Club loyalty has gone by the buy

Michael O’Loughlin will hang up his boots for good soon, having just joined an exclusive AFL club.Only 63 players in the code’s history have reached the milestone of 300 games.But what intrigues me most about O’Loughlin is that his entire career has been spent at one club, the Sydney Swans.Such loyalty, from debut to swansong, pardon the pun, seems to be the exception rather than the rule in these days of high-powered professionalism.Once, when sport was more territorial, it was the other way around.You joined a club as a kid and you were there for life.AFL’s most loyal players certainly seem to be old-timers.The longest-serving of them, Michael Tuck, played each of his 426 games for Hawthorn, starting in 1972.Next on the list, Kevin Bartlett, started way back in 1965 with the first of his 403 games for Richmond.The only recent player near the top of the longevity tree is Robert Harvey, who played 383 games for St Kilda in a 20-year career that ended last year. Footballers these days can’t even stay loyal to one code, let alone one club. Just ask Karmichael Hunt, who has ditched rugby league to make an even bigger motza in AFL in the first high-profile defection of its kind.This erosion of loyalty has taken place not only in sport, but in many other areas of life, including employment.It was commonplace for employees to spend their entire working lives with one employer.The reward at the end was a gold watch.Nowadays, that sort of loyalty is seen as a drawback, possibly even a career killer.The new way is to flit from one job to another as you clamber up the slippery corporate pole.You might not get to know the name of the receptionist or the tea lady anywhere, but boy do you end up with a whacking great CV.Your next boss is supposed to be impressed by your vast breadth of experiences.But might not that fat CV also reflect other less palatable possibilities?That you are flighty and lacking in focus, for example, or that you are often advised to move on, can’t stick out tough times or have been getting nowhere fast with any of your employers?This loyalty about-face has taken place within my own lifetime, before my very eyes, as it were, so I view it with morbid fascination.If you think Michael O’Loughlin is a rarity, let me pin your ears back with an example of modern-day football loyalty that is nigh impossible to beat.Ryan Giggs, one of the greats of the round-ball game, needs just one line when he lists employers on his CV.Manchester United – that’s all it says.He has been there man and boy, signing when Alex Ferguson turned up at his house on his 14th birthday and is still going strong 22 years later.And European soccer is far more prone to club-swapping than any form of football in Australia.If you think O’Loughlin’s tally of 300 is impressive – which it is – or Michael Tuck’s 426, then hold your breath for Giggs: 806 and counting.Giggs is the most decorated player in England football history, and the first to collect 11 top division English league titles.Loyalty hasn’t done him any harm.It is an under-rated asset.Doug Conway is a well-known Australian journalist who one day hopes to overcome his fear of dentists.
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Club loyalty has gone by the buy

Michael O’Loughlin will hang up his boots for good soon, having just joined an exclusive AFL club.Only 63 players in the code’s history have reached the milestone of 300 games.But what intrigues me most about O’Loughlin is that his entire career has been spent at one club, the Sydney Swans.Such loyalty, from debut to swansong, pardon the pun, seems to be the exception rather than the rule in these days of high-powered professionalism.Once, when sport was more territorial, it was the other way around.You joined a club as a kid and you were there for life.AFL’s most loyal players certainly seem to be old-timers.The longest-serving of them, Michael Tuck, played each of his 426 games for Hawthorn, starting in 1972.Next on the list, Kevin Bartlett, started way back in 1965 with the first of his 403 games for Richmond.The only recent player near the top of the longevity tree is Robert Harvey, who played 383 games for St Kilda in a 20-year career that ended last year. Footballers these days can’t even stay loyal to one code, let alone one club. Just ask Karmichael Hunt, who has ditched rugby league to make an even bigger motza in AFL in the first high-profile defection of its kind.This erosion of loyalty has taken place not only in sport, but in many other areas of life, including employment.It was commonplace for employees to spend their entire working lives with one employer.The reward at the end was a gold watch.Nowadays, that sort of loyalty is seen as a drawback, possibly even a career killer.The new way is to flit from one job to another as you clamber up the slippery corporate pole.You might not get to know the name of the receptionist or the tea lady anywhere, but boy do you end up with a whacking great CV.Your next boss is supposed to be impressed by your vast breadth of experiences.But might not that fat CV also reflect other less palatable possibilities?That you are flighty and lacking in focus, for example, or that you are often advised to move on, can’t stick out tough times or have been getting nowhere fast with any of your employers?This loyalty about-face has taken place within my own lifetime, before my very eyes, as it were, so I view it with morbid fascination.If you think Michael O’Loughlin is a rarity, let me pin your ears back with an example of modern-day football loyalty that is nigh impossible to beat.Ryan Giggs, one of the greats of the round-ball game, needs just one line when he lists employers on his CV.Manchester United – that’s all it says.He has been there man and boy, signing when Alex Ferguson turned up at his house on his 14th birthday and is still going strong 22 years later.And European soccer is far more prone to club-swapping than any form of football in Australia.If you think O’Loughlin’s tally of 300 is impressive – which it is – or Michael Tuck’s 426, then hold your breath for Giggs: 806 and counting.Giggs is the most decorated player in England football history, and the first to collect 11 top division English league titles.Loyalty hasn’t done him any harm.It is an under-rated asset.Doug Conway is a well-known Australian journalist who one day hopes to overcome his fear of dentists.
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No signs of Christmas weariness from consumers

BARGAIN HUNTERS: The scene downstairs in Myer Launceston yesterday. Pictures: PHILLIP BIGGS.(1/4)With Myer opening first at 7am, the CBD quickly filled with determined shoppers comparing catalogues.
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Sales assistant Vicki Young said the crowds had been frantic since she began work at 8am.

“But they’ve been okay,” she said.

“Everyone’s still got their Christmas spirit.”

Mrs Young said shoppers were looking for nothing in particular, “just a good bargain”.

Myer was anticipating 32,000 people through its stores in Launceston and Hobart yesterday for day one of its seasonal sale, which runs until January 16.

Harris Scarfe manager Peter Meyer also said sales had been steady across the Launceston store.

“It’s been fantastic,” he said.

“The customers have been very cheerful and pleasant to serve.”

Mr Meyer said the flow of trading traffic had been better than previous years.

He helped Garry Knight, of Longford, pick out a pair of binoculars while wife Kimberly and daughter Temiya, 11 months, waited with the rest of their purchases.

“We’ve bought children’s clothing, PC games, a hedge trimmer, blank videos and now it looks like binoculars,” Mrs Knight said.

“We didn’t have anything in mind but the sales were too much to resist.

“We’ve managed to come away with a lot of things.”

Penang’s Ash Huxtable also bore an armful of bags after three hours of sale-navigating.

“Most of this is my wife’s, I’m just the bag-handler,” he said.

Home from Malaysia to visit friends and family for the festive season, Mr Huxtable said they had picked up children’s clothes, shoes and music at the sales since 9am.

“I’m ready to go home now,” he said.

Doug and Sharon Woodward, of Newnham, helped their children Keleah, Thomas and Steven spend their Christmas gift money.

Several purchases were made in the first half an hour and Thomas, 5, left his Dad to carry the giant Tonka truck and helicopter set, while Steven toted a Donkey Kong Country 2 Gameboy Advance game.

“We’ll just see if anything else crops up,” Mr Woodward said.

Christmas paraphernalia such as decorations, trees and wrapping paper were also big-ticket sale items for those already looking forward to December 2006.

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WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES

Looking at success: Former Devonport girl Mella Morgan toasts the success of the Tasmanian Falls Festival at her mum’s Devonport home on Christmas Day yesterday. Picture: Peter LordSince the inaugural Marion Bay festival in 2003-04, Ms Morgan, 25, has had a huge year.
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Now based permanently in Lorne, Ms Morgan, who is the Tasmanian event coordinator, and the other organisers, including her boyfriend Simon Daly, who is the event manager for both the Victorian and Tasmanian Falls Festivals, spend the entire year gearing up for the concerts.

“To be honest, when we first talked about putting on the festival in Tassie, I was a bit dubious about it, but as soon as I saw the beautiful site (on the Dunbabins’ property at Marion Bay), which is such a special place, I just knew it would have to work,” she said.

“And after the first one, we were absolutely thrilled about how it was received.

“It took a bit of a leap of faith to go the whole way and commit to such a big project, but the end result was well and truly worth it.”

Ms Morgan said the event, which this year has attracted headline acts including internationals the Black Keys, De La Soul and Billy Bragg, as well as top Australian bands the John Butler Trio, the Living End and Missy Higgins, had generated a huge amount of pride for both herself and Tasmanians generally.

“The fact that international acts are lining up to come to a fairly remote place on the other side of the world would have been unheard of a few years ago,” she said.

She said after the Lorne festival had become so successful, Mr Daly and the other organisers had been looking to extend the Falls brand to another venue.

“Simon had always had a vision of doing a festival in Tassie, but I suppose he really learnt from me that Tasmania was just so starved of live music, that combined with me constantly telling him of the beauty of the place, which really got him seriously thinking of staging an event down here,” she said.

“And Tassie isn’t the easiest of places to stage such a show logistically.

“But after the first year, when it all went off so smoothly and we got 9000 people there, it proves that if you offer people what they want, they’ll support it.”

She said the organisers were also rapt with the way this year’s concert had been sold out.

“I think the sell-out is a tribute to the way things went last year,” she said.

“We put a lot of effort into creating a positive atmosphere and a positive vibe. We choose the line-up and the staff very carefully and people were absolutely amazing last year, so well behaved and appreciative of our efforts and I guess the word just spread.”

She said they would need to get through this year’s festival before contemplating Falls 2005, but felt confident this was only the beginning of many years of great events for Tasmania.

– Kirsty Eade

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