Hi there,

I just wanted to e-mail the VOID website to personally thank you. You have been a very big support to me. You've written letters/submissions, arranged and attended meetings, made phone calls to Lawyers and Government agencies, you've checked on me and the boys to make sure we are ok as well as giving me space and most of all you've been patient with me and I thank you.

Your ability to take on the big guns and "keep the bastards honest" is truly inspiring. There's no beating around the bush with you Andrea. You know your stuff and you are not afraid to put a voice to some of the crap that goes on with WorkCover claims and OH & Safety issues. You are a strong and proud woman and not one to mess with.

I first spoke to you in January this year about a month after I lost my life partner Brian (33 yrs) in a workplace accident 7 December 2006. Christmas arrangements turned into Funeral arrangements. Three sons 16 yrs, 14 yrs and 7 yrs forced into trying to understand the meaning of death and trying to manage their loss and grief as we buried their dad a week before the Christmas festivity - it was horrible.

I read your entry on the WorkCover Forum.........I just wanted to share with you and VOID readers that my experience with EML (Employer Mutual Ltd) WorkCover and Verifacts (investigating agency for EML) as a "domestic partner of a deceased worker" has been hurtful, horrible and insulting.

I am living proof that the system is not kind to people like me despite knowing the traumatic event of telling your children they are never going to see their dad ever again. Grief makes you a stranger to yourself, you keep telling yourself to dig deep deep in your heart and soul because you know your crippled with grief and if you don't start looking after your health and your social and emotional well-being that your at risk of becoming unemployed, you and children becoming homeless and caught up in the welfare system.

I have never been so scared in my life.

SafeWork SA never call - they don't even send letters, the employer never calls, Lawyers over charge you, Insurance Companies want to know the in's and out's, the Education system just don't get it, your left to navigate the system yourself regarding grief counselling, you worry about keeping a roof over your head and food on the table and your too proud and stubborn to ask for help because you have never had to before so you don't know how to ask.

Its a hell of a journey, no sign posts to guide you, destination unknown, its a very lonely journey.

Yeah sure agency's like EML (Employer Mutual Ltd) and WorkCover are required to administer the Act and assess spouses, "domestic partners" regarding qualifying for compensation and I get that, that's how it should be, but my message is that everyone should qualify to be treated fairly and with empathy regardless - this is the stuff that costs nothing and makes a difference.

Brian was a hard working class man, he was a strong Aussie bloke who loved a cold beer after a hard days work. He was a family man, a hands on dad, a great provider, protector and teacher. The boys and I miss him so much.

As we approach the 12 month mark since his passing it still feels like it was just yesterday that my boss looked me in my eyes only hours after kissing Brian goodbye and said "your husband has been killed in a workplace accident".

Each night I rest my head on his pillow and greet each day on his side of the bed, his clothes are still on his side of our wardrobe AND the claims process just doesn't get it.



Dear Cynthia

Hey - I've gotten to know you quite well over the past several months and I have a very strong hunch that you are one of the survivors that will come out fighting when the spirit has rested a little.  For now, you take care of yourself and those precious boys.  There's nothing here that can't be fixed - tomorrow.

Your friend and ally, Andrea