MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Australian government seeks Dutch treaty to protect asbestos victims

Published by MAC on 2004-08-04

Australian government seeks Dutch treaty to protect asbestos victims

ABC News,

Wednesday August 4, 2004

The Federal Government says it has approached the Dutch Government to sign a treaty making Australian court judgments enforceable in The Netherlands.

Legal teams appearing before an inquiry into asbestos compensation say any judgments against James Hardie will not be enforceable as the company is now incorporated in The Netherlands.

The Federal Attorney-General's office says The Netherlands is not one of the 40 countries which have signed the Foreign Judgements Act, which allows Australian court judgements to be enforced.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union says its Dutch counterparts are also lobbying their MPs to push for the treaty to be signed.

They say that would prevent James Hardie avoiding its responsibility to victims of its Australian asbestos products.

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