137 x 210 x 30mm
James Hardie, the name, like the company, is a lie. The real James Hardie died a long time ago and had almost no connection to the Australian asbestos empire that grew under his partner Andrew Reid. The Reid family amassed a huge fortune as its asbestos company expanded, killing in its wake thousands of unwitting workers and customers.
Today, Reid's grandson John Reid is an honoured multi-millionaire, revered for his patronage and philanthropy. He chaired the company for 23 years, and oversaw a strategy that ignored the dangers of asbestos and silenced Australia's largest asbestos union and government health authorities, concealing Australia's largest peacetime disaster. Reid mentored his eventual successor, Meredith Hellicar, who defended Hardie's move offshore until public campaigning by asbestos disease sufferers like Bernie Banton forced the company to adequately provide for its victims.
ABC journalist Matt Peacock rips the cloak of secrecy from one of the greatest corporate scandals in Australia's history. His painstaking research, involving newly discovered documents and interviews with over a hundred former Hardie employees and other key figures, reveals in stark detail how the company subverted the institutions designed to protect ordinary citizens, and how a dedicated group of unionists, lawyers and activists finally exposed Hardie's subterfuge.
Peacock first warned the public about the dangers of Hardie's asbestos empire in an award-winning radio series in 1977. He has followed the tragic trail for more than 30 years: from the company's factories where workers had asbestos 'snowball' fights, to the mine where Aboriginal children played in the tailings, and into thousands of houses where Hardie's asbestos now threatens home renovators, not just from their fibro walls and ceilings, but from the dust that still lurks under their carpets.