Bernie Banton, the man who took on James Hardie, the NSW legal system, the state government and the big end of town and won, deserves his Order of Australia, announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, much more so than many of the others gonged.
Banton stood out from among the gongs handed out to luminaries such as Macquarie Bank CEO, Allan Moss, Cardinal George Pell and former Coke chairman, Dougie Daft. Banton is the Sydney man who led the good fight against all those who tried to help James Hardie avoid its responsibilities to the sufferers of asbestos-related diseases.
There is a long list of Sydney legal, financial, PR, media and other folk who played on the James Hardie side from 2001 to 2004, when it was forced to face up to its responsibilities and settle. There was also more than one politician and influence peddler for the Labor Party and NSW Government, and the odd political believer from the other side of the fence who stood by and accepted “donations” from Hardie.
Bernie Banton, who is dying, truly earned his honour.
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