Australian Award for British Activist 

by Robert and Rose Marie Vojakovic



The Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia Incorporated (ADSA) Management, Staff, Members and Friends [] were delighted to recognize the outstanding work of British ban asbestos campaigner Laurie Kazan-Allen at a ceremony which took place on March 25, 2012 in Perth, Western Australia.

Ms. Kazan-Allen, who is the overseas representative of our Society, has worked tirelessly to support asbestos victims and lobby worldwide for an end to the use of deadly asbestos for over 25 years. At this year's Annual General Meeting of the ADSA, she became the first non-Australian to receive the prestigious Emeritus Professor Eric G. Saint Memorial Award. Announcing the 2012 winner, Rose Marie Vojakovic, the Executive Officer the ADSA, said:

“Over the years, our organisation has greatly benefitted from information provided by our worthy recipient. Of particular importance and benefit to all Australians was information mainly relating to white asbestosits carcinogenic properties which also cause malignant mesothelioma. Our worthy recipient has represented our organisation with pride and dignity in all parts of the world and placed our organisation on the global scene.”


Laurie Kazan-Allen and Rose Marie Vojakovic

The Honourable John Kobelke, a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia, presented the award to Ms. Kazan-Allen and congratulated her on her never ending commitment and extraordinary contribution to the global ban asbestos campaign.

The memory of Emeritus Professor Eric Saint is revered in Australia and in particular Western Australia, where he settled upon arrival in Australia from Britain in 1948. He was an extraordinary doctor, committed to deliver care and medicine to remote areas of Western Australia, he was also a humanitarian and something of a social activist who dedicated his career to improving the human condition with whatever means at his disposal [See:].


Recalling Dr. Saint's wide-ranging interests and contributions, a former colleague spoke of Dr. Saint's “indelible impression on medicine in Australia.” Whether it was issues related to infant care, pest-borne diseases, alcoholism, or the deplorable conditions endured by asbestos miners, Dr. Saint identified the problems and lobbied for change.

A letter Dr. Saint wrote in the 1940s about the pollution at the asbestos mine in Wittenoom, West Australia predicted that “in a year or two, ABA (Australian Blue Asbestos, the owners of the Wittenoom mine) will produce the richest & most lethal crop of cases of asbestosis disease in the world's literature.” Unfortunately, Dr. Saint's dire prediction proved correct and in the years since it was made thousands of people who worked or lived in Wittenoom have died of asbestos-related diseases. As so many of the members of the ADSA were exposed to asbestos at Wittenoom, Dr. Saint's early warning of the asbestos hazard, a warning which was blithely ignored by mine owners and government officials, has a chilling resonance with ADSA Society members and the Western Australian Community.

From 1993 to 2011, the Emeritus Professor Eric G. Saint Memorial Award was bestowed upon 18 individuals whose work had impacted on the lives of Australians suffering from asbestos-related diseases. The first person to be so honoured was Nurse Practitioner Sue Morey OAM for her “special dedication to patients with asbestos diseases.” Until her death, Catherine Saint, Dr. Saint's widow, had personally presented the award at the ADSA Annual General Meeting. Amongst those whose contributions were recognized were physicians, clinicians, researchers and scientists as well as ADSA volunteers, officers and staff members.

Upon the conclusion of the meeting, Laurie was warmly congratulated by her many friends at the Society who have had the opportunity to get to know her during her many visits to Perth.


April 4, 2012



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