Devils Dust Movie Trailer – The Killer James Hardie Asbestos Company & Bernie Banton
Devil’s Dust is a two-part Australian television docu-drama mini-series on the ABC which first screened in 2012. Based on journalist Matt Peacock’s 2009 book Killer Company, Devil’s Dust was researched and developed by producer Stephen Corvini for over two years prior to the series’ production. Through the factual case of Bernie Banton, it recounts the tragedy of many Australian workers and their families afflicted with asbestosis and mesothelioma in the twentieth-century asbestos mining and processing industries. Though the extreme health risks of exposure to asbestos dust had been documented for many years, manufacturer James Hardie persisted in large-scale use of the material, aided by inadequate regulation by state health agencies.
BEFORE he died an early death at 61 in 2007, Australia knew Bernie Banton as the smiling man with asbestosis who carried an oxygen bottle wherever he went.
We didn’t know all that much about him at first, just that he was up against the polished legal might and political clout of building materials manufacturer James Hardie. I still remember the company’s name stamped on sheets of “fibro” in the local hardware yard. I had no idea the lives of thousands of Australians might have been jeopardised by asbestos in materials such as this. Or that underfelt made from shredded asbestos bags under old carpet leaked pain.
Banton seemed an ordinary bloke, a former factory worker, who soon became the widely recognised face of the legal and political campaign to achieve compensation for the many sufferers of asbestos-related diseases. But, as this two-part series reveals, there was more to Banton than many of us realised as we watched the emerging folk hero on TV waging his seemingly losing battle against the corporate figureheads of the James Hardie company.
Bernard Douglas (Bernie) Banton AM (13 October 1946 – 27 November 2007) was an Australian social justice campaigner. He was the widely-recognised face of the legal and political campaign to achieve compensation for the many sufferers of asbestos-related conditions, which they contracted after either working for the company James Hardie or being exposed to James Hardie Industries’ products.
Bernie himself suffered from asbestosis, Asbestos-Related Pleural Disease (ARPD) and then finally peritoneal mesothelioma. These conditions required him to carry an oxygen tank wherever he went. The 2009 book Killer Company details Banton’s fight against James Hardie.
Bernie Banton on YouTube
Banton brought an action against Amaca Pty Ltd before the Dust Diseases Tribunal of New South Wales
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