Mrs Barbara Hall
Good morning everyone. I would like to tell you a little about my late husband, Lincoln Hall, for he is the reason I'm here today. Lincoln used to tell his own story at seminars and conferences. It is the story of a veteran mountaineer with more than forty mountains climbed over thirty years. He had many hair-raising tales to tell but none was more captivating than his description of his survival overnight in freezing temperatures, alone, without shelter, oxygen or water, near the summit of Mt Everest in 2006. He had been overcome very suddenly by cerebral oedema as he was descending from the summit. His companions tried desperately to revive him but after several hours and finally no signs of life he was declared dead. His body was left over 8 kilometres above the earth, and we at home in Australia were given the heart-breaking news. The following morning, another group of mountaineers, the last of the season, were approaching the summit and had been warned they would need to step around his body. They were stunned to find him very much alive. "I imagine you're surprised to see me here" he said, with characteristic understatement. He was sitting cross-legged on the narrow ridge, with a 3000 metre drop on one side and a 2000 metre drop on the other. He had somehow regained consciousness and found the resources within himself to survive the night.
Lincoln was physically built for mountaineering, he was capable of great endurance and blessed with a large lung capacity. But that expedition took its toll, he lost almost half of all his fingers apart from his thumbs, and also a big toe. However, he recovered and resumed his work as a writer and presenter.
In late March 2011, Lincoln had felt unwell for several weeks. He had a busy speaking schedule and was due to lead a group of clients on a difficult trek in remote Nepal. He was diagnosed with mild pneumonia, given antibiotics and an ok to go to Nepal. He arrived in Kathmandu in April but could go no further than the international medical clinic he had visited in 2006 after his Everest ordeal.
Ten days later he flew home with a medical escort and I met him at a hospital in Sydney, where it was discovered he had been treated with tuberculosis medication, as he had returned with an interim supply. The specialist team agreed with the diagnosis and he was subsequently treated for several months through an outpatients clinic. As his health was not improving, a biopsy on his chest was performed in early August 2011. By the end of August the diagnosis was confirmed: malignant mesothelioma. Seven months later in March 2012, despite months of chemotherapy, he passed away. He was 56 years old.
Lincoln had never worked with asbestos and at first could not recall any contact at all. However, he remembered 'helping' his father to build two cubby houses of asbestos and playing with the offcuts as a 10 year old. He also clearly remembered the special asbestos cutting tool which he used to cut wiggly worms in the offcuts, and the resulting caterpillar of dust which he played with on the workbench in the garage of the family home. The contact could almost be considered 'incidental' but it proved deadly.
I understand from my husband's death, the incredible importance of developing a method of early diagnosis and, of course, a cure. There is also an overwhelmingly urgent need to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos. As we know, asbestos has been used extensively throughout Australia but many people are still unaware that removal of asbestos needs a specialised contractor. I hope that, as a patron, I will be able to help the tireless, hardworking committee of volunteers who run ADFA, to achieve their aims in these areas. They have raised awareness on many occasions in a feisty and fearless manner, but there is still a long way to go. Please help spread the word.
The Hon Anthony Albanese MP
Anthony grew up in a public housing community in Camperdown and recognised early on the need to fight for social justice so that there was equal opportunity in society. That is what led Anthony to joining the Australian Labor Party. He developed his policitical activity working for former prisoner of war and legendary Whitlam and Hawke Government Minister Tom Uren. In 1996 Anthony was elected as the Member for Grayndler in Sydney's inner west, where he has lived his entire life.
Senator the Hon Doug Cameron
Doug has worked as a fitter in the steel, ship repair, vehicle and power industries. He was elected by manufacturing workers to represent them in various positions in the union including Delegate, full-time organiser, Assistant State Secretary, Assistant National Secretary, National Secretary AMWU, State and National Secretary Metal Trades Federation of Unions, Vice President ACTU. Doug Cameron has been a long-term patron of the Asbestos Diseases Foundation, a Director of Australian Super, and under the Keating government was a member of the Australian Best Practice Committee. As a director of Australian Super and its predecessor STA he has worked with union and employer representatives to build Australian Super into a 1.3 million members fund with 100,000 employers and $28 billion under management.
Andrew Ferguson worked for the Building Workers Industrial Union and then the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union for more than 30 Years. His union in the 1970's was involved in many stoppages and work bans to prevent asbestos being used on sites despite the assurances of developers, governments and politicians. When he commenced work with the union one of his first disputes was organising a strike to ban asbestos being used in an extension to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital at Camperdown in Sydney despite authorisation by the NSW Department of Health. Trade unions have been in the forefront of campaigns not just for worker but public safety. Andrew was Secretary of the CFMEU for ten years. He and his union made a significant contribution to the campaign to win justice for the victims of James Hardie. Andrew presently works for CoverForce Insurance Broking representing business and not for profit organisations like ADFA obtaining quality insurance coverage.