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Local governments join James Hardie ban -

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Local governments join James Hardie ban

Reporter: John Stewart

TONY JONES: The James Hardie company is under increasing pressure to provide fully for the
compensation of asbestos victims.

Local councils have now joined unions in boycotting its products, with the NSW Government
considering a statewide ban.

And television cameras were today given a rare glimpse inside the special inquiry into James
Hardie, an inquiry which has generated daily public relations nightmares for the building products
company that moved its assets to Holland - where victims can't get them.

John Stewart reports.

JOHN STEWART: The union movement made sure the special inquiry into James Hardie was also today a
public trial of the building giant and its treatment of asbestos victims.

PROTESTERS: James Hardie, pay the victims now!

GREG COMBET, ACTU SECRETARY: James Hardie put a scheme together to take all the assets overseas to
deny asbestos victims the right to compensation from that company.

JOHN STEWART: A view shared by seven local Sydney councils, who today joined the union boycott of
James Hardie building materials.

MICHAEL LEE, SYDNEY CITY COUNCILLOR: It's about putting maximum pressure on the current directors
of James Hardie, not to do something that is charitable, but to meet their moral obligations.

JOHN STEWART: For only the second time, television cameras were allowed inside the NSW Government
inquiry to record the last day of submissions.

Lawyers representing asbestos victims argued that if James Hardie had accurately calculated its
asbestos liabilities in Australia it would have been unable to move its head office to Holland.

MICHAEL SLATTERY, QC, MEDICAL RESEARCH AND COMPENSATION FOUNDATION: To say that James Hardie
treated the plight of victims of its asbestos products with disdain would be an understatement.

JOHN STEWART: The company's image is now so tainted that the public relations firm Hawker Britton,
which earned thousands of dollars from James Hardie, will now give that money to asbestos victims.

The Labor Party is also expected to announce it will hand back $80,000 in donations from James
Hardie to victims.

Former Labor senator Stephen Loosley was paid $50,000 by James Hardie to lobby the NSW Government.

Loosely is now a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

PROTESTER: Loosely should know better and he should hand the money back.

JOHN STEWART: When asked by Lateline if he would give the $50,000 to asbestos victims, Mr Loosley
said: "That's not something I can comment on. It's a decision for the firm to make. You'll have to
speak to the chief executive officer of PricewaterhouseCoopers legal."

A spokesman for PricewaterhouseCoopers said: "PricewaterhouseCoopers does not comment on client
matters."

The Liberal Party still won't say whether or not it will return donations from James Hardie.

John Stewart, Lateline.

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