ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence has expressed sadness with the passing of Jeff Shaw, former New South Wales Attorney General.

“Jeff Shaw made an enormous contribution over many years to the Australian labour movement.

“He leaves a lasting legacy in industrial relations law and in reforming the New South Wales legal system.

“Ever since his days in Young Labor and as an industrial officer for the NSW Public Service Association in the 1970s, Jeff has pursued a career in service of working people and the community.

“He was a successful and far-sighted reformer — a true representative of the Australian labour movement.

“The lives of many working people have been affected in a positive way through the efforts of Jeff Shaw.

“As Industrial Relations Minister in the Carr Government, Jeff Shaw set an important benchmark for state industrial relations systems with his implementation of the 1996 NSW Industrial Relations Act.

“He developed the nation’s strongest workplace health and safety laws, safeguarding workers by preventing untold numbers of workplace injuries and illnesses.

“By changing the law to allow the claims of asbestos victims to continue after their death, Jeff ended the appalling practice of asbestos companies avoiding liability by drawing out claims until their victims had died.

”Jeff Shaw understood how important it was for asbestos victims and their families to have justice,” said Mr Lawrence.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow also paid tribute to Jeff Shaw, expressing her deep condolences to Elizabeth and his family.

“Jeff Shaw was a long-time advocate for unions and working people.

“He took their cause to Parliament and achieved significant reforms.

“Jeff will be sadly missed,” said Ms Burrow. 

Mr Shaw died in Sydney early today. He was attorney general in the NSW Labor government from 1995 to 2000 and later served as NSW Supreme Court justice in 2003 and 2004.