When Tony didn’t meet Bernie Banton, when J Bishop trampled on asbestosis victims, the Right just doesn’t get it

by 99, editor of Turn Left

While he was Health Minister, Tony Abbott refused to meet with a dying asbestosis and pleural mesothelioma sufferer, Bernie Banton, even though Tony knew Banton was visiting.

Mr Banton had planned to deliver a petition to Abbott in his Sydney office, a petition that was pushing for a mesothelioma drug to be put on the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme).

Did Tony do a runner out the back door in order to avoid meeting a dying man?

Do people dying from contracted from workplace diseases make Tony Abbott uncomfortable?

Abbott dismissed Banton and his petition, saying “It was a stunt“, he also said: “Let’s be upfront about this. I know Bernie is very sick, but just because a person is sick doesn’t necessarily mean that he is pure of heart in all things.”

Did Abbott ever apologies to the man who was slowly-murdered by the corporation he worked for? He blamed Mr Banton, with the old they’re both as bad as each other distraction – Abbott said that both he and Mr Banton “were both a bit hot under the collar yesterday and both regretted it” (saying he regretted it, is NOT the same as an apology).

That was 2007, in 2012 Tony Abbott said he would be great for workers, when he said “Workers will find that I am their best friend“.

Um, no, Mr WorkChoices 2.

Leopards don’t change their spots, tigers don’t change their stripes and cheetahs never change either.

Meanwhile, Tony Abbott isn’t the only Liberal who hates asbestosis victims. Julie Bishop hates dying workers too.

CSR owned asbestos mine at Witternoon, WA, scene of Australia’s greatest single industrial disaster, where about 1000 people have died from asbestos-related diseases, which includes asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Julie Bishop represented the mine owners, and defends her role “As one of the lawyers in the case, I acted ethically and professionally at all times in accordance with client instructions.” (Source: Chronic asbestos deaths, sudden mining disasters – both indicate deep corporate problems).

Ms Bishop might have acted ethically, and as a lawyer has the right (edited to add: this should be ‘responsibility’) to represent her clients to the best of her ability, but how can you claim to love workers when you represent the corporation that was killing them?

Here, Tony is with Gina Rinehart, world’s richest woman, that is one meeting he didn’t slip out the backdoor to avoid.

People with asbestosis diseases are killed so mining companies could make more money. It is a deadly product that affects anyone who breathes.

The Right wing will choose faceless corporations every time. It is not in their DNA to have empathy.

Anyone who thinks the Liberals will act any differently if they are in government is kidding themselves.

Just who will Tony Abbott govern for, if the worst should happen and he gets the keys to the Lodge? He will govern for the mining billionaires – his track record of siding with mining companies and their owners has been shown for all to see.

text of image: If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
John F. Kennedy


2 Responses to “When Tony didn’t meet Bernie Banton, when J Bishop trampled on asbestosis victims, the Right just doesn’t get it”

  1. I watched Devil’s Dust and wept.


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