Early yesterday morning, Bernie Banton, the face of the campaign to seek justice and compensation for those who’s lives and standards of living had been stolen by asbestos and negligent employers, passed away at home. Despite knockbacks, setbacks and mendacious denials, despite the stresses of his own illness, Bernie fought for justice to the very end.
Bernie stood for decency, the fair go, compassion, justice and all that is decent in the union movement and indeed, much of what is decent in Australia.
Before his passing, during his election victory speech, Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd said of Bernie, “Mate, you are not going to be forgotten in this place…”, citing his status as a moral compass for the nation.
I think we can all show our respect for Bernie by holding our new Prime Minister to his words.