Ernie Bridge, a popular former Australian Minister of Parliament, died of mesothelioma. Bridge, 76, was only recently diagnosed with the incurable disease caused by exposure to asbestos, according to the Australian Broadcast Corporation.
“He was a general, all-round good bloke and loved by both sides of politics,” said a colleague. Bridge was the first Aboriginal, or native Australian, cabinet member in any Australian government. He initially worked as a country music performer until 1986, when he entered politics, becoming minister of water resources under the Labor Government.
The ABC said Bridge was suing a regional government and two mine operators at the time of his death. He claimed they were responsible for exposing him to asbestos. This occurred in the 1980s, when, as minister on official business, he had visited the asbestos-contaminated town of Wittenoom. Bridge was seeking damages for his illness, according to his law firm.
For decades, Wittenoom was the site of blue asbestos (crocidolite) mining operations, as this site discusses. Unfortunately, crocidolite is one of the most dangerous forms of asbestos. Even brief exposures to this known carcinogen can cause a variety of fatal diseases. Although the mining operations ceased in 1966, the town had already been severely contaminated with crocidolite.
In 1978, the state government began winding down operations in the town. By 1992, only 45 residents remained; in 2007, the town was officially erased from the map. It was never cleaned up.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and believe you were negligently exposed to asbestos, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To learn more about your legal options, please contact Sokolove Law for a free case evaluation.