Australian Awards for Campaigners 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



In April, 2003, the achievements of Robert and Rose Marie Vojakovic, the President and Counsellor of the Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia (ADSA) respectively, were recognised by the Federal Government which awarded them Centenary Medals for their long-standing commitment and service to asbestos victims. During their twenty years of involvement with the ADSA, the Perth-based society has grown into a highly-professional and influential operation with a huge network of supporters; a team of full-time advisers assists asbestos victims and their families with compensation claims, medico/legal referrals, social security enquiries and other practical matters. The efforts of Robert and Rose Marie have been pivotal to the substantial improvements the ADSA has brought about in the medical and legal treatment of asbestos victims.

Another West Australian (WA) asbestos campaigner whose work was recognised by these awards is Dr. Greg DeLeuil, the ADSA’s medical adviser and stalwart supporter. Dr. DeLeuil’s commitment to his asbestos work includes overseas meetings and conferences at which he describes Australia’s appalling asbestos legacy. He is due to speak to British MPs and civil servants at the House of Commons, Westminster, London on May 7, 2003. Two days later, he will be meeting with victims and supporters of the Merseyside Asbestos Victims’ Support Group in Liverpool and shortly thereafter he is travelling to Slovenia to make a presentation to an international asbestos meeting being held in Nova Gorica, Kidriceva. During his stay, he will be participating in discussions with asbestos victims, NGOs, lawyers, doctors, trade unionists and academics and exploring ways in which links between the ADSA and SABS, the Slovenian asbestos victims’ group, could be mutually beneficial.

Nominations for the Centenary Medals were put forward last year by local, state and territory politicians and government officials; the final assessment was made by Professor Geoffrey Blainey AC who confirmed that the public service of 1,500 WA citizens would be honoured. The medals mark the first century of the country’s federation (1901-2001).


April 30, 2003



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