Coalition commits to bipartisan approach to Asbestos
The federal Opposition has welcomed the Asbestos Management Review report, pledged to look at its recommendations seriously and to adopt a bipartisan approach to the problems of asbestos in Australia.
In an unusual move, Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Senator Eric Abetz, went so far as to praise the trade union movement’s role in dealing with asbestos hazards.
“I commend the Australian trade union movement, which has taken a very proactive role in relation to dealing with the issues of the hazards of asbestos, and it would be fair to say that without their active campaigning in relation to this area things may not have progressed as far as they currently have with this review and now the government being willing to look at this review and report in due course,” Senator Abetz said in Parliament [Hansard Mon Aug 20, 2012].
The Senator said he had written to Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten regarding the issues raised in the Review being dealt with in a bi-partisan manner.
“Now that we are fully aware of all the dangers of asbestos and the effects that it has on people exposed to it, it makes good sense for all sides of politics, for unions and employers, to join together to try to overcome the legacy issues that are clearly out there, and those legacy issues may well remain with us as a country for another 30 years. More importantly, as a country we should try to ensure that no new cases or new exposures occur. We also welcome the ministerial statement made by Mr Shorten on 16 August and commit the coalition to a bipartisan approach on this important issue,” Senator Abetz said. [Hansard Mon Aug 20, 2012]
The CFMEU welcomes Parliament’s serious regard for these issues and awaits their response to the Asbestos Management Review.
- Read the August Hardhat Express page 2 story: 'Asbestos Still a Concern in Australia' for background on the Review and CFMEU Construction Assistant Secretary Lindsay Fraser's role in it.
- Watch CFMEU Construction web News for more info on the second Asbestos Summit at the Menzies Hotel, Sydney on Tuesday September 4, organised by the Cancer Council, Asbestos Victims Support Groups and Unions.
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