Bernie Banton AM

Asbestos victims' advocate

NSWState RecipientSenior Australian of the Year2007

The struggle for justice for individuals, families, and communities affected by asbestos involves many fighters; all have been touched and inspired by Bernie Banton’s courage, compassion, and commitment. Bernie’s own claim for compensation was settled long ago and from then on the fight hasn’t been about himself, but everybody else. Bernie has stood up for the sick, the bereaved, the dying, and for what is right for his community. Of the 137 people Bernie worked with in an asbestos factory, fewer than ten are still alive. No wonder, then, that passion and understanding has gone into his fight. Despite his own debilitating disease, as Vice President of the Asbestos Disease Foundation he willingly travels anywhere to attend meetings, make personal appearances, and give lectures. Bernie generates a happiness, a sense of empathy, and a commendable charity that endears him to everyone with whom he comes into contact.