James Hardie Industries
James Hardie Industries is an Netherlands-based corporation which manufactures building products. It operates in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Europe and Asia.
James Hardie was for decades the main Australian manufacturer of asbestos products - the key cause of a cancer called mesothelioma.
Australia has the highest per capita incidence of mesothelioma in the world. More than 7,500 Australians have been reported as dying from mesothelioma. More than 500 Australians per year currently contract the disease and the peak of its incidence is not expected until about 2010. Up to 18,000 Australians are likely to die from mesothelioma by 2020 and historical figures suggest that for each diagnosed case of mesothelioma there are as many cases of lung cancer and non-malignant asbestos related disease. 
Since 1995, James Hardie has sought to avoid the considerable liabilities which have flowed from its asbestos production.
Between 1996 and 2001, James Hardie transferred most of its assets to the Netherlands, a country with which Australia does not have a treaty to enforce of a civil judgment obtained in Australia. According to the Secretary of the ACTU, Greg Combet, the movement of the Hardie Group's assets overseas — out of reach of Australian asbestos victims — is "one of the most morally and legally repugnant acts in Australian corporate history." 
After a massive nation-wide campaign in 2004, James Hardie finally signed an in principle agreement with Australian unions, the New South Wales and asbestos victims support groups which involved the company continuing to pay compensation to victims of asbestos-related diseases, including an up-front cash buffer of A$250 million - the equivalent of 3 years worth of victims' claims - and a minimum term of the funding arrangement of 40 years. 
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James Hardie Board
- Meredith Hellicar - Chairman
- John D. Barr - Deputy Chairman
- Michael Brown
- Peter Cameron
- Gregory Clark
- Michael Gillfillan
- James Loudon
- Donald McGauchie
Former Chairman 1995-2004
- Alan McGregor (also former chairman of the Centre for Independent Studies). Died February 2005. 
PR firms retained
- Australian Council of Trade Unions, "James Hardie Backgrounder",
- Australian Parliamentary Library research note, "In The Shadow Of The Veil: James Hardie And Asbestos Compensation",
- "James Hardie faces heat for heading offshore", 7.30 Report, ABC TV, June 14, 2004.
- "James Hardie accused of negligence", 7:30 Report, ABC TV, July 28, 2004.
- "Asbestos devastates Aboriginal community", 7:30 Report, ABC TV, March 10, 2005.
- "Asbestos Victims Support Groups", accessed Octover 2005.
- Philip Carman, "James Hardie must pay for recklessness", Australian Financial Review, January 9, 2005. (sub req'd)
- Alan Kohler, "Hardie fund a mystery that needs solving", Sydney Morning Herald, July 5 2006.
- Elizabeth Sexton, "Spinning out of control", Sydney Morning Herald, February 17, 2007.
Resources and articles
Related Sourcewatch articles
- John Marlay
- Peter Willcox - former director
- James Osborne (UK)