When did Rudd know?

From Hansard March 11, 2010 pg. 49 – 50.

Mr ABBOTT (2.50 pm)—My question is, again, to the Prime Minister. In light of the Prime Minister’s previous answer, is he seriously telling the House that he was never informed about the safety problems, fires and deaths under the Home Insulation Program? Will he now inform the House when he was so informed and who finally informed him?

Mr RUDD—I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. In my earlier answer to his question, I outlined the government’s decision-making process leading up to the commencement of the scheme on 1 July 2009. The honourable Leader of the Opposition asked questions about subsequent safety and compliance matters which arose. Let me provide him with the following information.

On 14 August, I received a letter from the then minister in relation to the Home Insulation Program proposing increased compliance requirements for the program.

On 17 August, the relevant cabinet committee considered the compliance issues raised by the minister in his 14 August letter. The committee approved changes to the program guidelines which included requiring the following: physical site inspections prior to giving quotes, increased inspections and scrutiny of trainer qualifications, increased compliance communications and processes for suspending and deregistering non-compliant installers.

On 27 August 2009, I received a letter from the minister drawing my attention to concerns about new entrants to the market not adequately meeting required standards on work undertaken. The minister proposed changes to the program to require installers to provide physical evidence of qualifications and/or competencies before they were registered. On 28 August, I am advised, these changes to the program guidelines were released and, on 4 September, I wrote to the minister noting that these changes had been made.

On 22 October 2009, the relevant cabinet committee again considered the Home Insulation Program and discussed increasing the requirements on installers to increase compliance. On 28 October, the minister wrote to me to indicate the actions he intended to take in response. These included requiring householders to get two quotes and to publish a public list of deregistered installers. On 29 October, I responded to this letter, agreeing to the minister’s proposals to tighten the guidelines. On 30 October, Minister Garrett wrote to me in relation to safety issues in the Home Insulation Program, a proposal to roll out an electrical safety testing program for homes that have had foil insulation, a proposed ban on metal fasteners, and a proposal to mandate the use of covers over downlights and other ceiling appliances.

On 2 November 2009, I replied to the minister, noting the package of safety measures which he had outlined. On 30 November 2009, Minister Garrett announced mandatory training or minimum skill requirements would be developed further. On 17 December, Minister Garrett announced increased training requirements: all installers going into ceilings must have either a trade-specific competency, prior insulation industry experience or must have completed a registered or accredited training course. That commenced as of 12 February 2010. On 9 February 2010, Minister Garrett banned the use of foil insulation under the Home Insulation Program and, on 10 February 2010, Minister Garrett announced that every home that had foil insulation installed under the government’s Home Insulation Program would undergo an electrical safety inspection. On 19 February 2010, the relevant cabinet committee made the decision to close the program.

These are the steps which occurred during the process of decision making leading up to the commencement of the program on 1 July 2009. That, I am advised, is the correspondence between myself and the minister on this matter over the period since then.

I would also draw the honourable Leader of the Opposition’s attention to the statement made in the House yesterday by Minister Combet, the minister responsible for energy efficiency, and the measures which he has now put in place concerning the wind-up of the existing program and any guidelines which will be developed relevant to a replacement program.

In other words well before October 13, 2009 when Matthew Fuller was electrocuted. Well before November 18, 2009 when Rueben Barnes was electrocuted. Well before November 20, 2009 when Marcus Wilson died of heat exhaustion. Well before February 4, 2010 when Mitchell Sweeney was electrocuted. Safety training commenced on February 12, 2010.

What of the house fires? According to The Age insulation related house fires are up this year.

Figures given to The Age show from January to June 2009, the MFB responded to seven insulation-related roof fires. From July to December, the MFB attended 31 similar blazes.

The trend has continued into 2010, said MFB spokesman John Rees, with last night’s blaze adding to the 17 already recorded this year.

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22 Responses to When did Rudd know?

  1. C.L. says:

    Can someone please explain to me how a prime minister whose “scheme” electrifies possibly tens of thousands of houses, burns down 106 others, gets four people killed and costs hundreds of millions of dollars to “roll out” and then clean up doesn’t resign?

  2. JC says:

    He should. No question he should resign. He’s slowly coming to the boil though and I think he’s basically ruined as PM. The polls won’t turn up for him and continue going down no matter what he says.

    Also when a junior minister says in the party room and gets away with it that ” he will kick out” any of the PM’s aides from his office if he (Combet) finds them there , you know he has lost his authority in the party.

    He’s basically done.

  3. Infidel Tiger says:

    You don’t get the nickname Dr Death for nothing.

  4. C.L. says:

    What a weird day in politics, hey? Obama assigns Rudd the importance he usually affords one of his basketballs, feminist gnome Jenny Macklin launches a blistering attack on the 21 year-old Tony Abbott, Lindsey Tanner wheels out the billion dollar health funding hole lie and the commander of Melbourne’s metro fire brigade describes the aftermath of Rudd’s insulation policy as a “war zone” littered with life-endangering “mines.” But the real highlight for me was the return of Captain Wacky. The man who dumped his wife at a dinner party, collects cuckoo clocks and spruiked the benefits of jumping on a trampoline to combat cancer said the Opposition Leader was a “nutter.”

  5. Michael Sutcliffe says:

    Look, Keating did some good things for Australia.

    Now those things are done can’t the old asshole just die or something!?

  6. JC says:

    Here’s what I reckon. I reckon that they have been doing some internal polling and it looks shithouse.

    Combine that with Abbott’s calm performance on Four Left Corners last night when leftie Liz non-scoop Jackson tried to throw the kitchen sink at Abbott and they’re panicked. This is why the garden gnome and cue ball came out swinging in addition to enlisting Keating assistance.

    These fuckers are getting internal polling results in key seats and they in a tizzy. I’ll say it again. The election is Abbott’s to lose. Rudd is a goner and as people get to understand Rudd and listen to him the less they like what they see. I know a lot of people that voted for Rudd who now can’t stand the sight of him.

    Labor’s only chance is changing horses soon or they’re done.

  7. Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop says:

    This is how loopy Catallaxian crackpots have become.

    It is the person who buys the product that is responsible for the employees welfare not the company involved.
    I am sure every person buying a home being built would have your great support in this insane idea.

    however do go to any of the employer associations in the building industry I am sure they are looking for idiots who believe it is not the employer who is responsible for the employees welfare.

  8. Sinclair Davidson says:

    It is the person who buys the product that is responsible

    That’s right. The government bought the pink batts and gifted them to households. Although employers and employees also have a duty to uphold worker safety.

  9. ken n says:

    What is fascinating about Rudd’s answers is the disclosure that each change to the implementation of the plan went to a cabinet committee. Is this government practice or because they didn’t trust Garrett?
    If it was a business the board would have approved the scheme (it was a big one) and implementation left to the managers. After all, if you can’t trust them, what are you paying them for?
    Does anyone here know enough about Canberra to say whether this kind on micro managing is usual?

  10. Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop says:

    So you are out there saying EVERY person who is buying house that is being built is responsible for employees safety not the employer.

    cuckoo cuckoo

  11. dover_beach says:

    It is the person who buys the product that is responsible for the employees welfare not the company involved.

    It is not an either/ or proposition, Homer; there is a world between having to bear no responsibility and having to bear complete responsibility. No one here has argued that the employer’s are not themselves responsible, but it has been argued that the government is also responsible, though indirectly.

    This man’s lawyers believe he has a course of action against the Fed Gov’t. I look forward to the judgement that ensues:


  12. dover_beach says:

    That should be: cause, nor course.

  13. Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop says:

    so every person who has bought a house that is being built is indirectly responsible.

    Moonbats out early today

  14. tal says:

    Nah just pink batts

  15. C.L. says:

    Homer previously argued that the intervention of the state was abolsutely vital to ensure that he could buy the cheapest bananas available at any one time.

    He now argues Kevin Rudd has no responsibility for the government’s home incineration and electrocution scheme and that householders are to blame.

  16. JC says:

    So you are out there saying EVERY person who is buying house that is being built is responsible for employees safety not the employer.

    Well actually they can be, Homer you anti-Einstein.

    They can be found as a contributory party in a personal injury case, which is why the law encumbers all builders or owner builders etc to take out construction insurance prior to starting a job. The insurance note has to be sent to the local authority prior to the start date.

    You own goal moron.

  17. dover_beach says:

    so every person who has bought a house that is being built is indirectly responsible.

    No, no one is saying that; may be you should pay attention to what is actually said.

  18. JC says:


    This is Homer, we’re talking about, the sub-species that continues to think Skanky ho was a Asian Warlord’s mistress.

  19. Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop says:

    err Credit Crunch do you actually read what you write.
    Yes I agree about own-goals.

    It is remarkable how much evidence you give people of your stupidity. Congratulations
    Here we have moonbats saying people who bought insulation before the government policy are indirectly responsible for workers deaths.

    Have another chocolate fellas

  20. dover_beach says:

    Here we have moonbats saying people who bought insulation before the government policy are indirectly responsible for workers deaths.

    No one is asserting that, Homer.

  21. Pedro says:

    Homer, Costellow summed it up nicely the other day. By throwing money into the industry to get unqualified people employed, the govt attracted spivs and shonks and also overloaded the legit operators which will always lead to problems. The various state depts and industy/union bodies warned the govt of the likely problems. Having set in motion that course of events the government must bear some of the responsibility when the predicted problems quickly eventuated.

    The govt is clearly not the same as a person buying a home. Would you say the govt bears no responsibility for the management of any government scheme?

  22. Sinclair Davidson says:

    The Australian was saying the number of providers went from 250 firms to over 10,000.

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