A sparrow farts in Queensland...

There has been a lot of pussy-footing around the deaths of four workers involved in the Insulation part of the stimulus package. Three have tragically died as a result of electrical shocks and one from heat stroke. Whether they were working for licensed or otherwise reputable home insulation firm or were employed by 'shonks' (fly-by-night carpetbagger operators in for a quick killing) is unknown and, apparently, immaterial. Peter Garrett is guilty of something - Tony Abbott today said the specific crime is 'industrial manslaughter' - and must resign. Or so the media meme goes. Apparently Garrett is 'fighting for his political life', despite contraindications of this from his boss, Kevin Rudd, because the political journalists say he is. And when the opinionistas go to the trouble to say Garrett is potentially fatally wounded, then that in itself is proof of the severity of his wounds. These people do not exaggerate lightly.

Elsewhere in Queensland, a sparrow farted in the morning. This caused a dog to bark, which in turn caused a cat to run up a tree. A small branch of the tree came off and caused a boy on his bike to swerve. The boy was run over by a car driven by a woman who worked for an insulation company. For this too, Peter Garrett is guilty and should resign.  Ridiculous? Yes, about as ridiculous as Abbott’s gross assertion that Garrett would have been guilty of 'industrial manslaughter' in NSW, if the incident had occurred in that state and if he had been a company director employing the deceased installers (false in both cases, by the way).

Tony Abbott, in his new-found career as Judge, Jury and Executioner in the Industrial Court (who knew?) has spoken. We have no body of relevant evidence, nor even an outline of the broad circumstances of the fatal incidents, but take 'Straight Talkin’ Tony’s word for it: Garrett is guilty. In Parliament today Tony shrilled, 'Mr. Speaker, this is about death.'

Tony should know. When he was Industrial Relations Minister, in 2002, Abbott had this to say about proposed 'industrial manslaughter' laws in Victoria and Queensland. In an address to the Queensland Industrial Relations Society, titled In Praise Of Bosses (and the jobs they bring), he said this:

"There are three essential problems with industrial manslaughter legislation as proposed: first, it treats workers like children by failing to recognise that workplace safety is a shared responsibility between employers and employees; second, it shifts the workplace safety emphasis from prevention to punishment; and third, it introduces a new type of vicarious liability into the criminal law...

"The 'industrial manslaughter' mindset casts the employer as habitual villain. As a society, we need to demonstrate our abhorrence of slip-shod safety procedures and industrial short-cuts but we should also beware of the tendency to be wise after the event and seek scapegoats rather than solutions. One workplace commentator likens industrial manslaughter to convicting passengers of culpable driving. It’s not inconceivable, say employer groups, if a drunken fork-lift driver seriously injured fellow employees, that the boss could be guilty of a criminal offence while the company could not sack the worker at fault.”   Link

We can see why Tony singled out NSW (and not Queensland) for the scene of Garrett’s alleged crime. When he was Minister, as we can see from the above link, Tony specifically told those in Queensland responsible for Industrial Relations in that state that he thought an industrial manslaughter law was a non-starter.

Elsewhere, in September 2003, Abbott opined: "Legislation as draconian as industrial manslaughter legislation is much more likely to produce an epidemic of buck passing."   Link

.... except where there’s a chance to pass the buck onto Peter Garrett, and then our 'Straight Talkin’ Messiah is all ears. Being 'wise after the event' is suddenly all the rage again.

Perhaps Tony has seen the light? Perhaps he is now as accepting of the reality of industrial manslaughter as a workplace crime as he was of the 'political reality' of ETS legislation?  In the Straight Talker’s case, you never know.

It seems Abbott’s attitude to treating workers 'like children', the shift of workplace safety from 'prevention to punishment' and the onerous burden of a new vicarious liability upon bosses (who bring us all those jobs) has changed. His newfound admiration for strict industrial laws couldn’t be hypocrisy, because, with Tony Abbott, you always know where he stands. He is merely a conviction politician who seems to have changed his convictions, or as Tony would put it 'his considered opinion' is different today to what it was then.

Could I interpose the word 'crap' at this point?

The only problem with Tony’s analysis is that Peter Garrett was neither the employer nor the regulator in any of these cases, but why let that get in the way of a good headline? Presumably, in some future Straight Talkin’ World of Tony Abbott as PM (hold on to your stomachs) any federal government minister will be liable to be charged with a felony crime, involving imprisonment of up to 25 years, if a worker in any government-funded scheme, no matter how far divorced from the minister’s actual control, dies in the course of their employment.

No doubt, intrepid journalists will do the same small amount of Googling that I did prior to writing this article in researching their own grave pieces (10 minutes' worth), and they will resolve the apparent hypocrisy of the Straight Talker’s position for We Of The Mob. Those off-the-cuff comments of Tony Abbott's will be exposed for the self-serving hypocrisy they are. Perhaps our opinion leaders should start out by delving into the history of Health in recent years, especially when Tony Abbott was Minister, to see whether anyone died as a result of the pullback of funds that occurred under his watch. Or maybe there might be some Iraqi citizen, missing loved ones killed by Australian bullets in a vain pursuit of 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' who have a beef with the government of which Abbott was a senior member. SIEV-X anyone?

Tony, when even a mere sparrow farts in Queensland, you never can tell how long and how far the smell will waft and linger on.

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Ebenezer

12/02/2010Yes it is truly pathetic how the tune changes when it suits Tone. I did not see him calling for Brendan's head when Coscove was killed in Iraq, or for Amanda's when she was deporting Australian citizens. It is clear the opposition will stoop to any level to try and garner support for their pathetic party. They are clearly all scum and I shall treat them all as such in the future. To try and use the 4 tragic deaths of the workers for political gain is a disgrace.

Bushfire Bill

12/02/2010The Coalition and their spruikers in the media are rather miffed that Garrett didn't resign. The ABC story overnight was that Garrett was facing [i]increasing[/i] calls for his resignation. Second story, all bulletins overnight, was Joe Hockey lamenting that there aren't "real people" in parliament, more like Barnarby Joyce. Up all night tending to a sick dog with a crook neck so, first time in a while, I listened to ABC radio in the wee small hours.

Bushfire Bill

12/02/2010also please note: the link to Tony Abbott's speech vilifying "Industrial Manslaughter" laws is on his [i]current[/i] web site, named: [b]Tony Abbott MHR, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION.[/b] So I guess the Straight Talker hasn't changed his mind. He just spouting gibberish out of both sides of his mouth, again. Needless to say, not one journalist has so far picked up on this set of double standards. We wait with baited breath.

Typecast

12/02/2010Ummm, I think it is a bit disingenuous to just point out the Opposition using current situations to further political gain while ignoring their past statements. It's politics, people, and they all do it. What the government (not Garrett per se) is 'guilty' of is rushing through legislation that was ill-considered and ill-advised purely to stimulate the economy. While bureaucracy is ponderous it does consider carefully all angles. They were well advised by various stakeholders that the rebate scheme was dangerous but those statements were ignored in the rush to get the scheme going. It is wrong of Garrett to then put the blame back on the installers, but he should not lose his job. Government needs to just throttle back and listen a bit more (my fees are reasonable!) An interesting statistic that may cause controversy here: we have killed more people in the first four months with the insulation rebate scheme than were killed in the first four years in the conflict in Afghanistan. Why? Because our servicepeople are well-trained and equipped and supervised and good at their jobs. Just my 10 cents worth.

Bushfire Bill

12/02/2010Disgustinsentiments, Typecast, but I guess it's your "considered opinion". "We have killed more people" in the Stimulus Package than have been killed in Afghanistan? We just went out and "killed" them did we? If you want to measure death for death, I wonder how many young men (a prime demographic for self-harm) did NOT commit suicide because they had jobs under the Stimulus Package? How many patients died under Abbott's Health cutbacks? How many workers died because Abbott blocked Industrial Manslaughter laws that he now uses to be "wise after the event" concerning Peter Garrett? I mean, Abbott was spouting solemn phrases concerning the number of jobs employers provided in his speech linked in my post. How could a few workers' deaths measure up against a better investment climate for the Business Lobby? Isn't this what he is accusing Garret of being overly concerned with now? Jobs at the expense of safety? The tone of your post reminds me of the Liberal Leader of the Opposition (and ex-Premier) in NSW at the time of the Granville Rail Disaster, which occurred soon after Wran's election. At the site of the tragedy he commented to a TV reporter that under the previous Liberal government there had been only a few deaths on the railway system. Only two months into its term of office the Wran government had racked up over 80 in one day, according to his brilliant observation. Thankfully, his tenure as Leader of the Opposition was terminated shortly after that. Another Liberal knight: Sir Eric Archibald Willis, KBE, CMG (15 January 1922 – 10 May 1999). May "Straight Talkin'" Tony Abbott take the same path for his sad hypocrisy.

Ostermann

12/02/20104 deaths is tragic and should never have happened but to hang them around Garretts neck and then use them as a football is sick,the responsibility falls directly upon the shoulders of the operators who had insufficiently trained the installers in order to cash in on a fast buck. As for warnings about electrical safety maybe the bodies who made these warnings should also be part of the solution rather than 'see I told you so'. By the way I have enjoyed the posts put up by yourself and AA it is refreshing to see a site that looks at the realities of Politics with open and considered opinion rather than taking crusted on attitudes. keep it up

janice

12/02/2010My son is a builder and I asked him what he thinks about Minister Garrett being vilified over this insulation issue. He said, "Look Mum, I saw this sort of thing going on all the time and it's surprising to me that there aren't a damned sight more deaths and serious injury. I came to the conclusion that some stupid bugger would either kill me or kill himself and that's why I work as a one-man band. You can harp on safety till you're blue in the face but still you'll get the idiots who turn up in thongs, don't wear their hard hats or safety harness and have no respect for live wires. No regulations will overcome sheer stupidity." Tony Abbott is just showing his other face which embodies all the traits of the attack dog, the pitbull in all its nastiness. No doubt he frequently seeks absolution for the sins of his dark side and hopes the 'christian' face he shows when it suits his purpose will be enough to keep his straight talkin' priestly image. Not a particularly trustworthy character in my opinion.

Typecast

12/02/2010Wow heavy slam dunk Mr Bill! You are quite correct I should not have written "we have killed ..." instead it should read "more people have died ...". When it comes down to it nobody is really at fault, but it is still sad. However, to then use my statement to claim how many lives have been saved by the Stimulus Package is taking it a bit far. All I was trying to show was that safety failsafes were unnecessarily overlooked in the rush and, individuals being individuals, businesses will take advantage of the lax rules. Governments make policies all the time that put people in danger, or at very least disadvantage someone, but it is either an unforeseeable outcome or a calculated risk after examining the information. This legislation was inadequately enacted when they had all the correct informtion, therefore it was an oversight by the government and they should be held to some account for it. Political statements from both sides are just irrelevancies, it is the policies they actually enact that I am interested in. Ostermann, I was not hanging it round Garretts neck, I said it was not entirely his fault, I think he was pushed into it by a hastened agenda of a government. He maybe should have had the cajones to say "let's examine this policy a bit more before we go ahead." But I am certainly not privy to those inner communications. To put it on the shoulders of the installers is also not right. Those installers were all properly "registered" and "educated" according to the regulation. It is the regulation that is inadequate - it actually allows painters to become registered after a highly inadequate OH&S induction course! What knowledge painters have of crawling around roof spaces and dealing with electrical wiring is beyond me. Garrett blamed the installers but it was only after three deaths (two electrocutions) that the government banned the use of metal staples causing the problem. That should have been dealt with at the beginning as well. Both the electrical associations and the insulation associations warned against rushing this legislation but the government went ahead - culpability I say. how about you?

janice

12/02/2010For goodness sake Typecast, how you can state that Minister Garrett can be responsible for the safety of workers employed by registered "installers" is quite beyond my comprehension. If those installers were safety conscious in the first place they would not have been firing metal staplers into areas where there is electrical wiring. Even my 11 y.o grandson knows that much. Everybody and his dog complains and whines that they're hampered by regulations and red tape in this country. Funny though that when there's a scapegoat in the form of a political scalp, more regulation should have been put in place and the Minister should have been there supervising each job site. The government provided the funds under the stimulus package for jobs for installers and their employees to insulate homes across the nation. The government is the provider, not the employer, in this case and culpability lies with the employer to keep his workers safe by adhering to safe practices and providing supervision to ensure safe practices are followed.

Typecast

12/02/2010Wow I said it might cause controversy but I wasn't expecting this antagonism, sorry. Let me state once again: I am not saying Garrett is responsible. I am saying the Government has some culpability: just as installers know that working with electrical wires is dangerous but still go ahead and do it (and suffer the consequences) they are then responsible for their actions; so too is the govt responsible for knowing that the regulation is dangerous but going ahead with it anyway - they should be responsible for their actions also. If they had enacted proper legislation that included the advised safeguards and the installers still did stupid things then, yes, it is entirely the installers fault. Am I being clearer now?

Paul

12/02/2010Can I add another two angle? 1. Isn't Newspoll in the market this week? If that's the case, wouldn't Tony be after some headlines/memes that are favourable? Wouldn't a postive result (however you define that) support his "we're back" approach? 2. According to Tony Wright, Garrett's mum died in a house fire when he was 23 - so you would think that Garrett would have house safety as a priority in all this insulation program. Paul

Bushfire Bill

12/02/2010Typecast, your slight contrition is noted, but I must advise it is not up to the federal government to "enact proper legislation". As Garrett has explained, at all times the instruction was that State-based OH&S guidelines were to be used on the worksites. He has this documented to a "T". Absent a Commonwealth inspector being present at every site, during all work hours, watching every staple being shot in to every bearer, it's hard to figure out how OH&S considerations could have been further enforced. Hundreds of thousands of homes have had insulation installed, with 4 deaths, and only three of them from electrocution (the other was from heat exhaustion, and you'd have thought the foreman on site might have noticed the poor young bloke starting to wobble). We have no statistics on the number of non-stimulus deaths from electrocution so there is nothing to compare the present rate of fatalities with. What I do know is that Abbott, in his time as minister (and this is his current position also, as he has reproduced the speech on his "Leader Of The Opposition" website) thought that Industrial Manslaughter was a crock, a boondoggle for litigous employees and militant unions to bash the bosses with. He thought it would be anti-jobs and counter productive. He said it would allow lazy stakeholders to look back on incidents with retrospective wisdom. Now that he has used the argument - rather cheaply, in my opinion - that Garrett would be guilty of this crime, it is quite legitimate to take him to task for being the hypocrite he is on this matter. People die every day on government-sponsored programs. There woul dbe no ministers left if every death warranted a ministerial resignation or dismissal. People die on the roads. Are all Transport Minister to be sacked for this? You can bet your bottom dollar that if there had been no stimulus package, and if the rate of young male suicides had risen due to unemployment, Abbott and his "team" would be on about the "Rudd Recession" causing them. They want it both ways, simultaneously. They can't have it.

Typecast

12/02/2010BTW Janice I disagree with your first para. Yes, any safety conscious installer properly informed would know not to go into a roof space and start firing metal staples around. Contrary to popular belief foil insulation is tricky and other trades that work in roof spaces hate it because you have absolutely no idea where any wiring or other services are, it is a time-consuming exercise making it safe to work in. And there is the issue - time. The sooner you get the job done the sooner you can do the next. Your son is correct people are stupid and that is why OH&S is such a big business in Australia. There has been next to no mention of the fourth kid who died of heat exhaustion. An insidious and awful way to die that can hit you hours after being affected. As you say no one in their right mind would knowingly put themselves at such risk if they knew there was such a risk. So we must assume they were not aware of their danger - for them to be then killed doing their job is unacceptable (and NOT their own fault). Did their boss/supervisor know and still send them up there? If yes, then OH&S should nail 'em. If no, then the onus of culpability keeps moving up the chain of command. That is how OH&S courts view it anyhow.

Ostermann

12/02/2010Typecast I wasn't saying you were at all, I was refering to the way in which the Opposition was trying to, to score points and using peoples deaths as a football, (apolgies if you thought I was refering to you), I was also refering the operators who haven't trained their installers correctly not the installers themselves, you are probably correct in assuming that there was political pressure placed upon Garrett to perform, I have the same feelings on that matter also, but I cannot lay blame at his feet for shoddy workmanship. As a footnote we were canvassed the other day by an operator asking if we wanted free insulation sounds to me the operators are also putting alot of pressure on the system by trying to score as many installation jobs as possible hence possibly a larger part of the problem, people working outside the guidelines to earn a quick buck.

Typecast

12/02/2010OK This is my last post because I clearly am not explaining myself correctly. In dot point form so as not to sound too emotional or to be misread, here is what I am saying: . Garrett should not be sacked . Abbott is hypocritical but then so are all politicians so I don't understand why everyone is getting so hot under the collar. What else do you expect? . People who are informed of the risk of installing foil insulation but go ahead and let it happen should bear SOME of the guilt of seeing four people die, whether that be the individual installer, the supervisor, the company owner, the homeowner OR the government . there are no Standards for insulation installation, relying on state-based OH&S is irrelevant except in the heat exhaustion case. I think I have covered everything. I will not reply anymore unless the blog boss asks me directly. Best wishes to all I have enjoyed it.

Bushfire Bill

12/02/2010[i]Did their boss/supervisor know and still send them up there? If yes, then OH&S should nail 'em. If no, then the onus of culpability keeps moving up the chain of command. That is how OH&S courts view it anyhow.[/i] No, no, no TC. Garrett was neither the operator nor the proprietor on the jobs where the fatalities occurred. He was not even technically the funder of them. The householder pays the firm to install the insulation and then they receive a rebate. Arm's length upon arm's length. The responsibility for a safe workplace always falls upon the company doing the work. There will always be unsafe workpractices occurring. Garrett cannot be held resposible for breaches of OH&S duty. No court in the land would convict Garrett of industrial manslaughterm or any other OH&S-related offence and you know it. It is a shame upon the media that they reported Abbott's words without any analysis, giving them more veracity than they were due. [i]Garrett should not be sacked[/i] Absolutely agree [i] Abbott is hypocritical but then so are all politicians so I don't understand why everyone is getting so hot under the collar. What else do you expect?[/i] Please, not the "all pollies are hypocrites" line! Abbott is being presented to the Australian people as the Straight Talker. "You always know where you stand". "He says what he means" and similar laudatory phrases. My post is as much about the free kick the media is giving him, depicting him as some kind of conviction politician, in the face of blatant evidence to the contrary. [i]People who are informed of the risk of installing foil insulation but go ahead and let it happen should bear SOME of the guilt of seeing four people die, whether that be the individual installer, the supervisor, the company owner, the homeowner OR the government[/i] You fail to explain what Garrett did wrong. People die on average every day on work sites. Garrett had no fiduciary or proprietorial connection with the installations, other than on the broadest terms. He is certainly not guilty of "industrial manslaughter" which is precisely what Abbott sought to pin on him. Abbott has a cheek mentioning this crime as it was Abbott himself who campaigned so vociferously against it, in part based on its alleged detrimental effect on employment statistics, and also because it would stifle profits of bosses. Clearly to Abbott there is an acceptable level of risk in the workplace. He says we should not molly-coddle workers. He should stick to his statements, both current and past. That the media have not dug up his contradictory statement is as much a condemnation of their sycophancy as it is of Abbott's hypocrisy.

Ostermann

12/02/2010A thought for Peter Garrett, I'm sure he is feeling the deaths very personally himself all politics aside

Ad astra reply

12/02/2010Folks What an interesting debate. Typecast, you are a welcome visitor to [i]TPS[/i]. The debate sometimes becomes robust here, but seldom aggressive. I hope you will continue to comment. Welcome to you Ostermann. The nub of the matter is that the Coalition, led by its attack-dog Tony Abbott and supported by Greg Hunt barking in the background, are savaging Peter Garratt to gain political advantage, to get another ministerial scalp at the beginning of an election year. It has nothing to do with occupational health and safety no matter how much Abbott tries to make out it has; it is all about bringing down Garratt and scoring political points. Bushfire Bill has nailed Abbott’s hypocrisy beautifully by quoting words from his own mouth that directly contradict what he’s now saying. BB has exposed the implausibility of the Coalition line with his sparrow metaphor. And as he points out, if the Insulation Program had been deferred just in case someone got hurt, the Opposition would criticize the Government for sitting back while unemployment rose and not doing something about it. It would have castigated it for the rising number out of work, the debt defaults that ensued, the bankruptcies, the escalating family tensions, the depression and any suicide that occurred. The Government would be accused of being heartless and dilatory. The sad truth is that some will take the Coalition’s line seriously, including many in the media, which as BB points out, is reprehensible for not bothering to expose Abbott’s hypocritical stance on ‘industrial manslaughter’. The Murdoch media have started its pre-election anti-Rudd campaign. This is part of it – more will follow. The simple fact is that ANY programme initiated by Government carries risk, and risk is also associated with not initiating any given programme. We do not live in a risk-free world, yet risk aversion is increasing all around us. Everything must be guaranteed to be risk-free, and if something does go wrong, someone must be blamed, ‘held to account’ and punished. Blame is shifted up or down to whoever or whatever can be successfully ‘nailed’. There must be a scapegoat. Why can’t it just be accepted that life and work are not risk-free, that while every step must be taken to ensure safety, sometimes even the best efforts are inadequate, especially when some do not play by the rules. So let’s not overtax our intelligence by trying to justify the Coalition’s or the media’s attack on Garratt. It’s just ‘one great big new political game’ being played ruthlessly as the stakes are very high. It’s bare-knuckle, no-holds-barred, pugilism from ‘the pugilistic politician’. http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2009/12/10/The-pugilistic-politician.aspx

Typecast

12/02/2010I didn't stop posting because my delicate sensibilities were hurt, I stopped posting because no matter how many times I stated my position it got misinterpreted, so there was no point continuing. It's funny how two people can read the same media and get two different feelings from it. I agree with BB that the media is portraying Abbott as a straight shooter because that is how his media people are managing the message. Why are they pushing this message? Because the government is well known for its obfuscation and non-answering of questions. It was a walk-in easy PR tactic for the libs to take and the gov only have themselves to blame in a lot of ways. But I also see a lot of media picking out the flaw of the Lib model and how it is doomed to a long term failure. So I disagree, not entirely, but I am not as vehemently disgusted by the media's reportage as you guys. The problem is that the spike his message is gaining in the polls may divert the gov from its message. Now to reply to the other posts: Ostermann, I have been lucky enough to meet Mr G and he is a stand up guy & would definitely be feeling the loss. thanks for your clarification earlier too. BB: I reckon it would be great to sit in a pub and have a few beers with you and debate the issues, I doubt we would ever agree but it would be interesting. Hopefully you are not too big and prone to violence :-) You mentioned earlier about it not being up to the government to enact proper legislation like I said they should. I stand by my statement absolutely as the proper duty of every voter to hold their government accountable for every thing they do. Once again Garrett is not guilty but his government must be accountable to some extent for the laws they pass. Should the Howard Gov. not take responsibility for Iraq? But I never said he was guilty under OH&S, the buck would stop well before that desktop. Pleasee also do not use my statements as supporting Abbotts silly pronouncements, I have never agreed to what he said, to quote old Greiner "It is a nonsense." Best wishes all it's time to leave work and go to the local for a beer.

Michael

12/02/2010Abbott may consider himself a straight-talker, but anyone who watches him while whoever he is talking to/debating is speaking, will see the real Tony Abbott. His face sets into the intractable lines of the stone killer. Just watch him some time. He appears to be thinking exactly where he can plunge his dagger, and when I see him in this preparing-to-pounce mode, he's manifestly not thinking about a quick, clean 'death' for his opponent, either. Decidedly a nasty piece of work. But then, he was John Howard's Number One Boy.

BK

12/02/2010BB As usual you are distilling the isses with perfection and a great turn of phrase. Michael @ 5:42 - Yes, Abbott is a piece of work. Ther just so, so many of them on the Coalition side. For instance, Abetz, Minchin, Mirabella, Bishop (take your pick) Stone, Pyne, etc. Who are the nasty ones on the Labor side?

You must be kidding

12/02/2010You must be kidding ... the buck, as our good Prime Minister has said, must stop somewhere. Here are the facts as I understand them. 1 Stimulus package announced by government to include home insulation. 2 Government warned about danger February 3 Minister warned about danger March 4 Minister warned about danger April Two deaths 5 Minister makes an announcement November to regulate two deaths 6 Minister takes action February In between these facts we have contractors employing untrained folk to install against all associated laws ... why ... easy money and no need to maintain law because no regulation or conditions proposed by government... because it was a fast money program we ended up importing materials thus sending the stimulus off shore. Do you think a Minister given the warnings he had, given the unfortunate deaths ... do you think he may have acted sooner ... To even raise this in a partisan way and then bang on about Abbott is unbelievable ... Where was the government? Where was the Union, where was the state government and where was the regulatory authorities ... answer no where. So who is responsible? Well I would have thought the initiator of the program who engaged the contractors in the first place would ultimately be responsible ... but it seems when reading these submissions they are not. For heavens sake we have the liklihood of 1000 live roofs in the community and maybe more Who does the buck stop with then ... some of you say ... it was the contractor ... fair enough they are culpable ... but they would not be acting unless we had a loose fast money program in the first place and who is responsible for that? Folks you have got to be kidding that you are so blind ... whether the minster goes is beside the point ... the fact is the Minister is responsible and to suggest less corrupts the entire system.

Bushfire Bill

12/02/2010YMbK makes a welcome return, asking, [i]"Who does the buck stop with then ... some of you say ... it was the contractor ... fair enough they are culpable ... but they would not be acting unless we had a loose fast money program in the first place and who is responsible for that?" [/i] His argument seems to be that because funds are available for a building program then whoever is the source of funds is as culpable, as [i]personally[/i] culpable, as the shonky operator who employed the deceased workers. Hmmm... let me see... that would make banks culpable for lending money to new home builders in an easy credit market. That would make the ministers (of both political persuasions) culpable for giving dole money to people out of work who use it to buy petrol to drive cars that are involved in fatal accidents. It all depends on what your definition of "loose fast money" is. YMbK's argument boils down to this: if he defines a government program as "loose" or "fast" then the minister is personally responsible for any harm accruing out of it. Of course, any [i]good[/i] that comes from it is all down to the Howard government's visionary fiscal policies (this from a previous post on another topic). I suppose that if youth suicides had increased because the government took Coalition advice not to stimulate the economy, then it would be their fault as well. The truth is that people get killed on work sites every day. If every time a sparrow farts in Queensland we blame the minister who pays the money to the householder who hires the firm that employs the untrained workers who use work methods contrary to OH&S guidelines, then we are indeed in a sorry state. Should we take "Straight Talkin'" Tony Abbott's advice and focus on the jobs, jobs, jobs being created and not dwell in a wallow of wisdom in hindsight? Or should we go for the minister who delivered billions of dollars worth of savings and tens of thousands of jobs? We'll probably never know.

Ostermann

12/02/2010YMbK if you look back at the Minister for fasionable Lycra sports wear and haven't I got an impressive policy's previous statments on the subject as pointed out by B.B., then by your logic would it not be fair to say that the buck stops with him and therefore it is in fact Mr Abbott who should resign, just a thought!!. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't up to the states to regulate contractors in that state and as for the Unions it was the coalition who tried to destroy them, and if I am wrong the Unions are about protecting the worker. Now, yes where are the Unions and why are unregulated contractors allowed to operate in the various states unchecked? I think that really is the question here, not trying to collect political scalps before an election.

Ad astra reply

12/02/2010YMBK Back again, following the Coalition line. Do you really believe what you write? If so, that’s worrisome. Do you really hold Peter Garratt responsible for the four deaths? You say whether he goes is beside the point, but he must be held responsible. If he doesn’t go, what do you suggest should happen next? You list the warnings Garratt was said to have had, but omit to detail what action was taken, leaving the impression that almost nothing was done, which you know was not the case. Garratt has detailed all the actions taken – are they not worthy of mention? To do so would weaken if not demolish your case, so did you think it best to not cite them? You say Garratt engaged the contractors, yet you ought to know that this is incorrect. The contractors were engaged by those seeking to have their homes insulated. The Government came into the picture only when a rebate to offset the cost was sought by the home owners. Can’t you see how ridiculous it is to suggest that under these circumstances Garratt is culpable? Garratt repeatedly took action when safety problems were brought to his attention, as a result of which instalments standards and training standards were elevated, standards that were always a State responsibility. When you attribute all that went wrong to a [i]“loose fast money program”[/i], you reveal how your mind works. Your tone of disapproval of the program comes through loudly. Because you considered it to be a ‘loose fast money program’ – I suppose it was a simple next step for you to conclude it must be the root cause of problems that occurred. QED. I notice that you made no comment about the contradiction between what Tony Abbott said in his address to the Queensland Industrial Relations Society in Brisbane in 2002 (still on the Leader of the Opposition's website) and the 2003 article [i]Abbott criticises ACT's 'draconian' manslaughter legislation[/i] in [i]ABC News[/i] (see links) on the one hand, and his contemporary accusation against Garratt of ‘industrial manslaughter’ on the other. Please help us to reconcile these opposing positions of our ‘conviction politician’. BB and Ostermann have made some telling points in response to your comment; I have no need to repeat them. You have an entitlement to express your views here, but please don’t insult our intelligence with immature arguments, based not on the facts, all of them, but on unthinking regurgitation of a line pushed by the Coalition and sadly replicated by some in the media.

Ad astra reply

12/02/2010Before you respond YMBK, please read Bernard Keane's piece [i]Garrett’s not the only one with bloody hands[/i] in [i]Crikey[/i] http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/02/12/if-garrett-has-blood-on-his-hands-then-start-sacking-roads-health-defence-ministers-too/ BB and I and others responding on this blog are not alone in our views.

HillbillySkeleton

12/02/2010If, God forbid, Tony Abbott becomes Prime Minister, and someone falls off a rooftop and dies, in the middle of installing one of his Solar Panels, will he accept responsibility and resign? Btw, I just finished watching the 20 Year retrospective on Lateline, and they replayed the interview between Tony Abbott and Tony Jones where TJ caught TA out lying about his meetings with Cardinal Pell. It captured in a nutshell all that Tony Abbott is about...lying through his teeth until such time as he absolutely cannot wriggle away from the truth; and hard Right religious ideologue. The sooner the electorate wake up to him, the better. He is the one with 'the thin veneer of fakedom'. Just as he is opportunistically using the loss of those young people's lives to further his own ambition. Greg Hunt should also be ashamed of himself. He wrote his doctoral thesis on the appropriateness of an ETS to deal with Climate Change! No integrity, he's now just sinking lower than a snake's belly in order to mortally wound his opposite number unfairly, and he would know it in his heart of hearts. Grubby politicians the lot of them in the Opposition at the moment. I think I'd 'retail' them at about 99c, and out the door! As Dave Noonan from the CEPU said, "Tony Abbott is just crying crocodile tears about the deaths of these young boys."

Ostermann

13/02/2010It turns out that this morning when Barnaby Joyce was asked if Garrett was responsible for the deaths, his response was no, but it does highlight the government's lack of management capacity, http://www.theage.com.au/national/joyce-avoids-laying-blame-20100212-nxkw.html which I would have to agree with, without muddying the waters responsibilty for peoples safety on the worksite belongs to state and its regulating bodies not as Abbott is suggesting the Federal Government and we do know his prior views on that matter. Abbott has also admitted only recently that he does change his message to suit his audience. As for the actual problem Garrett does face, poor management, it is something that needs to be addressed, any large scale project will have problems, remember Howard introducing CentreLink and outsourcing the Commonwealth Employment Service, but I also think that the scaling down of the Public Service to save money and outsourcing to private consultants by successive Governments has also been a large part of the problem, as direct control has in part been taken from the Ministers hands, and he/she has to rely on reports and can only take those reports on face value if he or she is ever to get anything done. HillbillySkeleton I am currently reading book by Marion Maddox "God under Howard" which goes into great detail about the Christian far Right's involvement in Australian Politics it does give a good insight into the current Liberal Party and how it functions, the book was written in 2005 but all the main players are still there, if you are interested it is worth a read.

lyn1

13/02/2010Hi Ad and Bushfire Bill Thankyou Ostermann for recommending God Under Howard, I have just purchased it from Ebay. Ad thanks for the Crikey link, so really if anyone was to take notice of Abbott there would be no politicians left in Parliament. Everyone This is a very interesting read http://yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/9034 Bushfire Bill thankyou for your excellent piece, Ad how right you are (Bushfire Bill has nailed Abbott’s hypocrisy beautifully} Michael I couldn't agree with you more ( Decidedly a nasty piece of work. But then, he was John Howard's Number One Boy.) Interesting piece this morning Sydney morning Herald by Peter Hartcher: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/for-tough-reforms-rudd-must-crash-through-or-crash-20100212-nxej.html I love this paragraph copied below Abbott is not playing Let's All Be Grown-Ups. He is unabashedly waging a campaign of super-aggression against Rudd. Not just on the emissions trading scheme but on every available target. If there were any doubt about the angry oppositionism that Abbott has decided to pursue, you only needed to listen to his speech in Parliament this week on Aboriginal disadvantage. In response to Rudd's measured, apolitical speech on Closing the Gap, Abbott launched a bare-fisted partisan tirade.

HillbillySkeleton

13/02/2010Ostermann, I was shown that book when it came out. Also the Biography of Howard goes into a lot of the religious underpinnings of the conservative Christian Coalition in Australia. An interesting thing happened to me the other day when I was flicking through the radio stations to listen to some music during my walk. I passed by the Christian radio station as they were broadcasting their news break. One item focussed solely on a piece of legislation which had been passed by the parliament the day before that catered to the Christian demographic specifically; and it was followed by approving words from Jim Wallace, the titular head of the lay Christian movement in Australia and God's cop it seems, when it comes to policing the Christian community's interests with government. It just goes to show how this particular voting demographic are being catered to by both sides of politics. As for Barnaby saying that Garrett shouldn't be held responsible for the deaths of the Foil Insulation installers, I smell a rat here. I say this because after former Howard Chief-Of-Staff, Graeme Morris, blustered about the Death of Whales, the death of Koalas, and the death of the insulation installers under Garrett's watch, he was then asked pointedly whether he believed garrett was responsible for their deaths. "Erm, no", he replied. Thus it is my theory that the Coalition were simply opportunistically targetting Garrett to boost their stocks before the next Newspoll, in order to cover their asses wrt Barnaby and their 'Fig Leaf' Climate Change policy. That's politics as she is played by the Abbott Opposition it seems.

You must be kidding

13/02/2010If you have any doubt regarding the facts ... then read page 4 of the Australian. The principle of Executive Government and indeed any government program is that someone should be held responsible. Given the extensive warnings from the industry, state governments and other sources why did it take the Minister so long to act. If we take the emotive issue of deaths out of the issue which tends to cloud your commentary what then about the house fires and the current houses that are "live". Your partisan efforts to limit responsibility is astounding ... who is responsible? Usually within a government funding program there are guidelines ... clealry these were developed after the program was rolled out ... who is responsible for that? How do two 20 somethings from Sydaney start up a business so easily funded by government which lead to a workplace death ... how is this possible? Who is responsible? None of you seem to have the moral fibre to accept that the Minister having been given advice about the many dangers within the program which he failed to act upon is ultimately responsible. If he was not advised I would agree with you but clearly he was ... it is not important whether he resigns or not, but at the very least he should take responsibility ... something that seems to be an uncommon thing that has crept into politics over the years ... and a tactic clearly supported by many of you. And for that reason on this issue you should hang your heads in shame.

lyn1

13/02/2010You Must be Kidding I have offered to provide you some Liberal Coalition blogg links.

Ad astra reply

13/02/2010YMBK I haven’t got The Australian this weekend so I’ve looked online, when page numbers do not correspond to the printed version. So I presume you’re referring to the article [i]Garrett's roofing fire admission[/i] www.theaustralian.com.au/.../story-e6frg6n6-1225829880090 by Sid Maher and Nicola Berkovic. If that’s the article to which you are referring, what do you expect me to deduce from it? I suppose you want me to be convinced from that piece that because there were ceiling fires that occurred under a scheme for which Government support was available to householders, that the Minister of the department providing that support, to wit Peter Garratt, must be held responsible. That is as illogical as insisting that he be held responsible for all the other problems. You insist someone must be held responsible. So what about the installers? What about those responsible for the administration and monitoring of health and safety at a State level where the safety regulations apply? It seems as if you want to jump up the chain to the one most remote from the action, Peter Garratt, and nail him, despite the fact that he took appropriate action as soon as problems were brought to his attention and in the process improved standards of installation and safety. You seem unwilling to acknowledge that. Like Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt, you just want to target Garratt. Did you read Lyn1’s links before you replied? The first replicates Bernard Keane’s piece in Crikey yesterday which I invited you to read. What do you think about Peter Hartcher’s comment about Tony Abbott’s approach to opposition? Did you check the link in Ostermann’s comment where Barnaby Joyce says Garratt is [i]“...not personally responsible in any way, shape or form”[/i] for the four deaths associated with the government's ceiling insulation program. What do you make of the comment by Graeme Morris (previously John Howard’s Chief of Staff) reported by HillbillySkeleton, that Garratt ought not to be held responsible for the four deaths? You seem determined to hold to the line that Garratt must be held responsible no matter what others say to the contrary, even those from the Coalition. Why can’t you see that this is bare-knuckle ruthless opportunistic Abbott politics where the Queensbury Rules do not apply, and has nothing to do with occupational health and safety or even the tenets of Westminster-style government. By the way, you still haven’t addressed Abbott’s hypocritically inconsistent utterances on ‘industrial manslaughter'. Is that too hard? Maybe next time!

Acerbic Conehead

13/02/2010STOP PRESS Burgeoning circumstantial evidence is mounting in support of calls to arrest Tony Abbott on the grounds of Industrial Manslaughter. Right across the sunnier parts of Australia: Queensland, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory, hundreds of construction workers have recently died of extreme sunburn. It seems that the recently-deceased workers, erstwhile members of the self-styled “Abbott’s Army” and battler supporters of the Leader of the Opposition, all had photographs of Mr Abbott, in his budgie smugglers, attached to the back of their locker doors. A distraught colleague, who only survived because he had a severe hangover, and spent most of the day asleep in an air-conditioned thunderbox, said, “Where was Tony Abbott when his troops needed him most? He should have been up here rubbing on the sunscreen...boo...hoo...” Police enquiries into the series of avoidable tragedies are continuing. END OF STOP PRESS

Chris T

13/02/2010Fantastic post Bushfire Bill. It scares me that so far the media has not made any real effort to expose Abbott for what he really is. I know its a big call but has there ever been a more blatant Hypocrite in Australian politics? It seems that for everything he says today you can find a previous speech, interview, or excerpt from his book where he has said the complete opposite. Industrial manslaughter, climate change, paid maternity leave, the pension the list goes on. His contradictions will make for a great Labor advertising campaign as we get closer to the election. There is an interesting report on the ahw.gov.au website which is Australia's national agency for health and welfare statistics. It relates to sentinel events in Australian public hospitals and the data in the report shows that up until 2003, 83% of serious emergency patients admitted to public hospitals were seen within the recommended time. This was before Abbott took over as minister for health. The first thing Abbott did in 2003 as the new health minister was pull $1billion in funding from public hospitals. After this budget cut the data clearly shows a rapid decline in service and by 2007 it was as down to as low as only 63% of emergency patients were receiving treatment within the recommended time. If Peter Garrett should be facing 'industrial manslaughter' charges then Tony Abbott better pack his bags because a one way trip The Hague is on the cards.

Michael

14/02/2010The electoral cycle of three years between Federal elections in Australia is way too short - we always seem to be in upcoming election mode. That said, it IS a cycle, and relatively steady, so what has me bemused is Tony Abbott's rushing at every political gate in sight with the next election most likely ten months away. He seems to be prepared to exhaust every attack he wants to make on the Government right now, and in doing so, use phrases and a general approach for those attacks that will be exhausted themselves over ten months. Or will certainly exhaust voters having heard them and observed the 'bare-knuckle' attack mode for the largest part of a year. He seems to be so exhilarated with the attention being given him as Opposition Leader that he has already all but promised the return of WorkChoices, the re-institution of a Pacific Solution, and implicitly where not explicitly spelled out as with these two, a holus-bolus return to the Howard era's governance. Toss in the mass-manufacturing of chastity belts that only fathers will have the keys to, mandatory Bible study as a direct route to a true understanding of the virtuous life, and we are getting a clearer picture of a man so giddy with unexpected attention and the desperate adulation of his party cohorts that he seriously believes that "yes we can" turn back the clock, lift the scales from the voters' eyes, and whip them back into place restoring a Conservative government to power. But nowhere do I see a measured consideration of how to present to the public a sensible and mature choice of the Coalition as the next government. Abbott's Coalition is all about chastisement. It seems to be directed at the Rudd government, but, at core, it is really focused on pulling voters back into line after a period of willfulness on our part. Thankfully, although there will be some punishment for us to endure post-election, when the National Accounts reveal as they always do to the incoming government the true scale of the iniquities of the previous government, we aberrant voters will finally be forgiven, when we return Conservatives to power, and penitentially agree we should never have put the other lot in.

Ad astra reply

14/02/2010Folks You'll enjoy Bernard Keane's piece on [i]The Stump, Porridge time for Garrett – but others must also answer for their crimes[/i] http://blogs.crikey.com.au/thestump/2010/02/12/porridge-time-for-garrett-but-others-must-also-answer-for-their-crimes/

Ad astra reply

15/02/2010Folks I'll be on the road all day today, so will not be able to respond and delete spam until this evening

Typecast

15/02/2010OK I have had all weekend to finesse the message I am trying to convey, so here goes; . IF an installer installs shonky work into the roof space of a building and he gets caught, or worse someone gets injured, he should take responsibility for the work he has done. Agreed? Agreed! . If a government installs legislation that is faulty and he gets caught, or worse someone gets injured, he should take responsibility for the work he has done. Agreed? I am not talking about "industrial manslaughter", I am not even mentioning Abbott, I am not saying he should be in every roof space - nothing about any of that. Purely that if you expect the installers to take responsibility for their work you must be fair (not hypocritical?) and expect governments to take responsibility for bad legislation. Once again (see my earlier posts) - Garrett should not be sacked. But it would be nice if he did a mea culpa and took some guts to say we got it wrong. Can any of you guys acknowledge this argument as being sound?

Ostermann

15/02/2010Typecast the 3 taboos of a conversation are never discuss Race, Religion, and Politics, ooops!!!!!, I accept your point of view and do see what you are trying to convey, you have thought about it, and everyone has a right to a differing opinion that is what keeps a society free, my personal belief is that Peter shouldn't accept responsibilty, poorly managed unfortunately yes, but not for the injuries, I cannot tie the two together. I think a big problem here in general is that the Minister for fashionable Lyrca sports wear and haven't I got an impressive policy is trying to tap into that "blame the goverment sentiment", which is designed to confuse the issues and get peoples emotions running hopefully to garner a few extra votes. so who's shout is it, i'm having a Kilkenny

Bushfire Bill

15/02/2010Typecast wrote: [i]I am not talking about "industrial manslaughter", I am not even mentioning Abbott, I am not saying he should be in every roof space - nothing about any of that. Purely that if you expect the installers to take responsibility for their work you must be fair (not hypocritical?) and expect governments to take responsibility for bad legislation.[/i] Again: FAIL. You assume that legislation which caused the employment of tens of thousands of people, and indirectly maintained the lifestyle of those they dealt with (families, retailers, medicos, cab drivers etc.) and which will save millions of tonnes worth of CO2 emissions and billions of dollars in electricity bill outlays over the lifetime of the installations is "bad" legislation. It was clearly "good" legislation whose detriments were far outweighed by the benefits. If we froze all government projects or services that, however directly or indirectly, involved deaths - hospitals, roads, aviation, defence and so on - we would have none of these, as no minister would outlast the scandals and no new minister would take the responsibilities that went with any of these jobs. Please point out what was "bad" about this legislation. Was it economic, environmental or employment benefits? I don't think so (although you may). No, it was simply that some people died in the workplaces indirectly funded by that legislation. Despite working under one of the heaviest OH&S regimes in the world, scores of Australians die in work-related deaths every year. With 50,000 foil roof installations, and tens of thousands of workers on them, 4 deaths is a realistic figure. There will always be people who brak the rules or do something stupid in the workplace. Most get away with it, but a few do not. Compare this figure to road accidents: despite traffic lights, roundabouts, better designed cars and roads, we lose over 1,000 people a year. Which minister has resigned recently over road fatalities? What you are saying makes no sense.

lyn1

15/02/2010Hi Bushfire Bill and Ad Excellent piece from you Bushfire Bill as usual as Chris T says fantastic. If you, Ad, and all others haven't already read this piece in Crikey today, I hope you enjoy it. http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/02/15/whos-at-fault-for-garrettgate/ Michael I have also enjoyed reading your comments, I am sending you an interesting link about work choices. http://larvatusprodeo.net/2010/02/15/good-for-two-coalition-election-losses/ Today we have the NSW and Queensland hospitals as Bushfire Bill said ( He is just spouting gibberish out of both sides of his mouth, again) link below: http://blogs.crikey.com.au/croakey/2010/02/15/local-boards-to-run-hospitals-does-abbott-really-understand-what-hes-suggesting/

lyn1

15/02/2010Hi Ad and everyone This is a must read link http://theawesomereport.blogspot.com/2010/02/why-is-abbott-accusing-garrett-of.html

Typecast

16/02/2010BB I just love the way you take what I am simply saying and multiply it over the entire legislative framework. At no point have I said the legislation should be stopped , at no point have I mentioned anything about other legislation that saves lives as being bad. The relevant associations, that advised DEWHA that the insulation rebate program was dangerous as it stood, all think that the program is a good one, it is the biggest insulation program in the world. The program could still be running but with the installers properly trained, the government CHOSE to ignore the duty of care and allowed inexperienced people, employed by fly-by-nighters to step into the program and ruin what is a GOOD program. It would have taken no extra effort for them to do so, but they did not. Prior to this program I am unaware of anyone dying by installing insulation. Once this legislation had been instigated we lost four in less than a year. I cannot see why you choose to ignore that connection and then rave on about work-related deaths. If the govt had made the rebate program safe and those four deaths had still occurred I would not be here arguing the toss, I would agree with you. But the program was PURPOSELY made unsafe. Government: Don't stop the program - Fix it and shut out the bad parts of it Don't sack Garrett - Own up to making a mistake and get on with it The government has done neither. I thought this blog was about putting "politicians to the sword" I did not realise it was one-sided. my bad! :-) As far as I can tell ymbk is the only one who gets it and you shouted that bloggee down as well.

HillbillySkeleton

16/02/2010Typecast, Minister Garrett IS doing what you suggest. 'Don't stop the program - Fix it and shut out the bad parts of it.' A meeting was held yesterday with all the interested technical experts. * 'Don't sack Garrett - Own up to making a mistake and get on with it.' As of today, Peter garrett still hasn't been sacked, and he IS getting on with it, having sacked Countrywide Pty Ltd. from the program.

Typecast

16/02/2010So I am proven right! :-)

Bushfire Bill

16/02/2010Typecast wrote: [i]Prior to this program I am unaware of anyone dying by installing insulation.[/i] ... which proves nothing at all. Because he is unaware of previous deaths, it therefore seems that any deaths [i]after[/i] the program was started up are uniquely attributable to Peter Garrett. Tony Abbott himself has said (and it is, apparently, his present "considered opinion" as well) that deaths in the workplace need to be weighed up against investment opportunities and the danger of entering into a nanny state frame of mind ("treats workers like children"). He also cautions against wisdom in hindsight in OH&S areas, lest we start a witch hunt for scapegoats. Yet he typifies the untrained workers participating in the insulation scheme as hapless dupes of fly-by-night carpetbaggers cashing in on a flawed program. Suddenly, although Garrett did not engage the companies directly, and sought to ensure that OH&S guiidelines were enforced, he has become Abbott's scapegoat... [i]"Mr. Speaker, we are talking about death."[/i]. Others tell us that the installations will cost $50 million to audit. This started out as "up to $50 million" but has become, by today, accepted truth, able to be stated and not backed up. Chris Uhlmann used it today in an article: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/12/2817611.htm?site=thedrum. Yet the figure is closer to $1.4 million. Once again we have the bootstrapping brigade turning surmise and back-of-the-envelope figures into "facts". Another tactic has been to criticise the reduction in the rebate from $1,600 to $1,200 as a further encouragement to shonks to cut corners. This is from the same people who say the stimulus should be wound back, or should not have happened at all. In all this, not one positive word has been uttered about the benefits of the scheme. It is all "a tragic farce", a "fiasco" or similarly coloured depictions. Not one word has been uttered about the risks to life and limb inherent in such schemes. Or that people will do all sorts of unsafe acts when not directly supervised. We do not know whether the workers who died were advised of their OH&S obligations and ignored them, or whether their bosses were similarly advised. We do not know the exact circumstances, in coronial detail, of exactly what happened and why. Yet Abbott and Typecast are prepared in this flimsiest of evidence to hold Garrett either wholly or partially to blame for what happened. When you're running a bootstrapper, surmise and speculation, the barest reports of incidents become truth, self-evident truth. This is because everyone is quoting them so much their original sources become forgotten. Very few have done original research (including myself, but I am not claiming to be Judge, Jury and Executioner on this). By the end of a few days the original scattering of reports become unsourced, common knowledge, conventional wisdom. Hence a $1.4 million audit becomes "$50 million". Typecasts's phrase, [i]"Prior to this program I am unaware of anyone dying by installing insulation,"[/i] becomes, by insinuation, [i]"No-one has ever died by installing insulation."[/i] Tony's Abbott's hypocritical citation of industrial manslaughter laws - which he has previously opposed entirely, arguing against the very reasons for their existence on moral, practical and economic grounds - becomes [i]"Peter Garrett is in trouble with the law."[/i]. According to Malcolm Colless in today's Australian, a government preoccupied with Global Warming, pursuing a stimulus package that wasn't necessary (because the recession either did not exist or was overcooked ... take your pick with Colless's opinions over time) has the blood of four workers on its hands [i]for no reason[/i] other than its misguided obsessions. On ABC TV, the tears of a young mother whose house was [i]not[/i] electrified are turned into an excuse for a giant collective whinge. Anonymous "electricians" come out of the woodowrk condemning the workpractices used in the installations. House fires, again without any evidence to accompany their presentation on the TV neews, are 100% blamed on the insulation program. The Coalition even had the hide to invoke the "Westminster System" of government! This is nothing less than a beat-up, a bootstrapper, a collection of cobbled-together opinion pieces, based on scanty facts, bounced off each other around a few offices at the TV and News Ltd. buildings, channelled over to the Liberal Party for QT, designed to "get" Garrett, and through him Rudd and his government. Would I resign based on this collection of gossip and oh-so-reasonable insinuations like Typecast's? Not in a million years.

janice

16/02/2010And BB, when the coronial enquiries reveal the whys and wherefores and Peter Garrett is exonerated from blame, it is the words of the malicious, opportunist Tony Abbott and his pals in the media plus all those who swallowed the tripe is what will be indelibly stamped into the minds of voters. The latest reports regarding the first death is that the company has been de-registered. This company is a telemarketing company which registered and then sub-contracted the insulation work out to an 'experienced, licenced electrician'. Seems odd to me that an experienced, licenced electrician should not be held culpable for one of his workers getting electrocuted on site. What say you about this Typecast? Don't you think that an experienced, licenced electrician should know and abide by the safety regulations when working with and around electrical wiring?

Typecast

16/02/2010Once again BB you make these enormous leaps of imagination, the following being the worst: ** Typecasts's phrase, "Prior to this program I am unaware of anyone dying by installing insulation," becomes, by insinuation, "No-one has ever died by installing insulation." ** How dare you put those words in my mouth. Shameful. You are clearly emotional over the supposed exaggerations of media and the Liberals, how they are taking the issue to massive extremes, fair enough that's your opinion, but then you have the temerity to take what I have been saying and blow it out of all proportion to suit your argument. There are none so blind as those that will not see. As per my last post on feb 12, I am sad to see that people who support a government I support cannot see when they have failed their constituents. Adieu

Bushfire Bill

16/02/2010These are your words, in context: [i]"Prior to this program I am unaware of anyone dying by installing insulation. Once this legislation had been instigated we lost four in less than a year."[/i] The insinuation is that []prior[/i] to the stimulus program no-one had died. [i]After[/i] the program was operating [i]"we lost four in less than a year"[/i]. Sorry, TC, but your implication is plain: the stimulus program cost lives that before it operated would not have been lost. It's a simple, but insidious talking point: "I'm not saying Peter Garrett caused these deaths, but hey, look at the facts..." You get the "Sir Eric Willis Prize For Fallacy Above And Beyond The Call Of Duty".

janice

16/02/2010"As per my last post on feb 12, I am sad to see that people who support a government I support cannot see when they have failed their constituents." I find it sad, Typecast, that a person who supports a government I support can not see that there are no grounds to believe that Minister Garrett has failed his constituents. "If the govt had made the rebate program safe and those four deaths had still occurred I would not be here arguing the toss, I would agree with you. But the program was PURPOSELY made unsafe." Why on earth would you say that the program was PURPOSELY made unsafe? The government did not itself employ installers and there were guidelines laid down with regard to safe work practices. Householders wanting insulated homes signed on the dotted line to engage their preferred installer as they would have done if the rebate program was a water tank, solar hot water system or solar panels.

You must be kidding

16/02/2010Let's see now ... Bushfire Bill always wants the facts, so let's lay some out for him and allow him to respond in a non partisan but politcally mature way ... Facts Green Loans - 200,000 promised ... promised changed to 75,000 ... as of this week 1008 delivered. Free Energy Assessment - 360,000 audits over four years promised ...203,000 booked or completed since it started in July ... which means a 4 year program will have been spent before the end of June. The government agreed to 2000 assessors earnin $200 per assessment ... now 10,000 assessors registered, with one company in particular dong 6000 per week (do the math) Do you think this program/s might be badly managed ... coincidently the same department that manages the discredited insulation program ... now required to do 40,000 inspections to check work of shonks attracted to the easy money program ... and who might be responsible for this? More facts ... A labor mate employed on $450,000 without a need to compete with someone else. Now why would a political manager earn $450,000 per year in a company that is yet to have a business plan or any financial analysis. This NBN will provide 100MGs to households wihin ten years when microsoft are developing a 1Gb wireless system ... Tell me why are we putting in obsolete infrastructure when wireless technology is the future? $43 Billion. Tell me why we gave the TV stations $250 Million? So according to your correspodents these decisions are great news ... and if that is right the earth must be flat.

Ostermann

16/02/2010How about this piece http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2010/02/16/is-garrett-really-the-boss/ and if you do read the linked article within the piece I have linked please don't for forget that Imre Salusinszky is a conservative political commentator and had been editorial advisor to Quanrant magazine, I think things get spelt out fairly clearly

Typecast

16/02/2010janice Would you allow someone to install your solar hot water system when he is represented to you as a licensed installer by the government? Of course you would. What if you found out he was a painter and had no training in installing electrical/plumbing products? I sincerely doubt you would let them anywhere near your house. Yet that is exactly what was happening here, painters (and other building trades) were given instant licensing to install insulation There were no safe work training laid down other than standard OH&S practices but nothing on safe insulation installation. The program licensed people with no electrical knowledge to climb into a dangerous situation and gave no training and no warning that they were going into a dangerous place. Yes, people must take responsibility for their own actions. Householders had no idea that some of these government licensed people were in fact untrained shonks. The government failed in their duty of care by not taking the advice that this was fraught with danger and not reacting after the first death.

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16/02/2010Folks Just when I thought this post was running out of puff, it's got a second wind, and looks like running a while yet. I'm enjoying the discourse, as I'm sure our visitors are. I've just posted [i]Newspoll through Shanas’ Magic Looking Glass[/i], as it is of relevance today but may not be tomorrow. You views will be welcome, but please continue this thread which has attracted over 50 comments to date.

Bushfire Bill

16/02/2010[i]"The government failed in their duty of care by not taking the advice that this was fraught with danger and not reacting after the first death."[/i] Well, at least your true colours are at last revealed, Typecast. In any case, Garrett produced copious documentation proving that he [i]did[/i] react after the first death. Your post is wishful thinking, mate.

Typecast

16/02/2010My true colours? Huh? DEWHA banned Countrywide after a death of someone from that company that took place four months ago.

Island View

16/02/2010Garrett is clearly responsbile here too: http://bloggingtownsville.blogspot.com/2010/02/which-federal-minister-is-responsible.html Not

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18/02/2010Folks As all we seem to be getting now is spam, I'm closing comments.
What does two plus 1 equal?