A 42-year-old man has won a record $3 million payout from former asbestos manufacturer James Hardie, after he developed a rare form of mesothelioma. Adelaide man Mathew Werfel was exposed to asbestos from renovating two homes between the late 1990s and early 2000s. “Home renovators beware, because you just don't know where it is,” he told the ABC. Werfel is one of the “third wave” of victims exposed to asbestos while carrying out renovations. The first wave encompasses workers involved in mining and processing the product, while the second wave refers to people exposed to the product in homes and places of work. KMPG estimates James Hardie's liabilities at more than $1.8 billion, with uncertainty regarding future claims. University of Wollongong accounting school Associate Professor Lee Moerman said home renovation claims were at record levels. Of 700 identifiable claims for mesothelioma last financial year, she said “374 were claimed against James Hardie and 229 of those claims were for renovators”.
A bill will be introduced to the Western Australian parliament today to legalise assisted dying. Days after the first patient ended her life under Victoria’s assisted dying laws, the WA Labor Government is proposing a similar bill for debate, with both major parties to allow a conscience vote ($). Under the proposal, a person would have to be at least 18 years of age and terminally ill with a condition causing intolerable suffering. Euthanasia advocate Andrew Denton urged WA parliamentarians not to resort to “tricky parliamentary tactics” ($). Australian Christian Lobby WA state director Peter Abetz opposes the bill, arguing: “Because nobody wants to be a burden to their loved ones, the mere availability of it creates a subtle pressure to access it.”
A coal lobby-backed research group is planning to spend up to $5 million on an advertising campaign to make Australians feel “proud about coal”. The COAL21 group tells the ABC the ad blitz aims to promote carbon capture and storage, but the technology is not mentioned in a brief sent to creative agencies and media production companies.
Future Fund and Nine Entertainment chairman and former federal treasurer Peter Costello has warned that the trade war between the US and China threatens the savings of Australian retirees, after the S&P/ASX 200 share index endured shed 2.4 per cent of its value yesterday — bringing two-day losses to $86 billion. “Unless the parties can sit down and actually sensibly negotiate, I think you are going to have a lot of uncertainty and a lot more gyrations on global markets in the weeks which are ahead,” Costello told The Australian. On Monday China decided to further devalue its currency after US President Donald Trump threatened another wave of tariffs on $US300 billion worth of Chinese products, triggering crashes in share markets globally. Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe warned global downside risks had risen and left open the possibility of further interest rate cuts. Australian shares are expected to bounce back modestly today ($) after US shares steadied overnight.
Thousands of people across the Pacific are dying from “easily treatable” cancers, according to a report from New Zealand's University of Otago. Lead author Professor Diana Sarfati said countries in the region had “poorly developed cancer screening, pathology, oncology, surgical and palliative care services. Added to this, access to morphine is very limited, so death can often be excruciating.” The report found the challenge is escalating due to population growth and ageing. Pacific Island states face between 20,000 and 45,000 additional cancer cases and between 12,000 and 28,000 additional deaths a year by 2040.