Asbestos in Australia presents for the first time a multi-dimensional view of Australia’s asbestos story featuring contributions from experts in the disciplines of history, journalism, medicine, law and public health. It also includes first-hand accounts of those whose lives have been touched by the mineral, as workers, asbestos disease sufferers, and lawyers and campaigners directly engaged in the struggle to ban its use.
The writers track the history of asbestos from the early 20th century, when asbestos was mined in Australia, to the post-war housing boom which saw asbestos become the material of choice in cities and suburbs around the country. They then deal with its controversial legacy: the dire medical consequences from exposure, the cover-ups and the protracted legal battles for compensation, and the ongoing risks to public health from the asbestos that remains in our workplaces, schools and homes to this day.
Lenore Layman (co-editor) is an Australian historian, currently Adjunct Associate Professor of History at Murdoch University. Her research and publication on Australian asbestos history began in 1983. She was a Chief Investigator on the NHMRC-funded Consequences of asbestos exposure in WA and Dust-related Health Issues in Western Australians projects. She has recently co-authored and co-edited Powering Perth: A History of the East Perth Power Station and the Electrification of Perth; 110° in the Waterbag: A History of Life, Work and Leisure in Leonora, Gwalia and the Northern Goldfields; Blood Nose Politics: A Centenary History of the WA National Party; and Radical Perth, Militant Fremantle.
Gail Phillips (co-editor) is Emerita Associate Professor of Journalism at Murdoch University. She was lead researcher on the Reporting Diversity project funded by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and a Chief Investigator on the NHMRC-funded Consequences of asbestos exposure in WA and Dust-related Health Issues in Western Australians projects. She is co-author of Australian Broadcast Journalism, published by Oxford University Press (2002, 2006, 2013) and is also co-author of Journalism Ethics at Work (Pearson Longman, 2005).