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Crikey says: forget Eurovision, it’s an inquiry marathon

On budget eve, Bernard Keane on the inconsistent messaging. The culture cuts that could hit Canberra. And why iron ore is hurting the budget forecasts. Reforming the Senate: an agreement that makes sense. Guy Rundle on the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. Finding the pressure points in Australian migration. And the red ink flows through News Corp newspapers.

What a day for royal commission junkies. Of the three currently in session, you could watch two at once today. News networks channel-surfed between both this morning, failing to capture anything exciting at either.

In Sydney, union bagman Ralph Blewitt sat in the dock of Dyson Heydon’s inquiry into union corruption in a preview of full hearings later this year (Blewitt was nabbed today while he’s in the country). Given the forensic analysis from the media into Blewitt, decades-old slush funds and the links to Julia Gillard, the union witch-hunt is unlikely to cast any new light.

In Brisbane, Crown spinner Mark Arbib took a break from managing James Packer’s police investigation to appear at the inquiry into the Labor government’s pink batts program, where he was probed about what role he had in the roll-out (not much, he said) and what he communicated to then-PM Kevin Rudd (very little, apparently). Rudd and the minister who was responsible, Peter Garrett, will appear later.

The toll of the insulation roll-out was significant: four installers died in a program that was certainly hurried and mismanaged. Rudd, particularly, has some serious questions to answer. What’s left of his reputation, at least, is at risk.

But the cost of royal commissions is rising, too. These latest two might deliver favourable headlines for the government, but they’re expensive fishing expeditions in the unlikely hope of political scalps. If they tell us what we already know — that unions have rotten elements, and governments botch policy implementation — what exactly will have been the point?

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  • 1
    klewso
    Posted Monday, 12 May 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I want to know when this “so concerned to get at the truth government” is going to look at why we went into Iraq, and the botch that that was?
    “To ensure such that sort of travesty never happens again” either?
    That particular Howard initiative cost billions of tax dollars and how many lives?
    But of course that could well embarrass this government - so many of whom were part of the one that took us there? So what chance they’d get around to that, after looking into the Batts affair?

  • 2
    Matt Hardin
    Posted Monday, 12 May 2014 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    The toll of the insulation roll-out was significant: four installers died in a program that was certainly hurried and mismanaged. Rudd, particularly, has some serious questions to answer. What’s left of his reputation, at least, is at risk.

    Hasn’t there already been an inquiry? Didn’t it determine that, per installation, there were fewer accidents and incidents? Isn’t work place safety the responsibility of the individual, the employer and finally the State Government? C’mon Crikey, you know better than this.

  • 3
    AR
    Posted Monday, 12 May 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    The torys hit the ground commissioning Royals.

  • 4
    AR
    Posted Monday, 12 May 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Is Krudd about to (further) mimic the role of Blair, currently said to be the most hated man in Britain.

  • 5
    zut alors
    Posted Monday, 12 May 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorely tempted to believe Arbib didn’t have much to do with the insulation rollout & communicated very little to PM Rudd.

    It’s perfectly plausible that Mark Arbib’s contribution whilst in parliament was negligible.

  • 6
    AR
    Posted Monday, 12 May 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    ”..Arbib..Who..?”

  • 7
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Monday, 12 May 2014 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Did any pink batt installers have serious accidents at work during the Howard years?

  • 8
    CML
    Posted Monday, 12 May 2014 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    C’mon Crikey - you lot published one of the previous reports into the so-called pink batts affair. I think it was 12-18 months ago, and written/analysed by Possum Polytics, if I remember correctly.
    In that report, Possum illustrated that the death rate AND the fires caused, where not ANY different from what went on before and after the ‘pink batts’ program, in terms of the number of houses insulated. Also, the work safety issues were the responsibility of the STATES and the individual businesses involved. NOT the federal government!!
    Surprise! surprise! Just more Labor bashing. At least you could try being consistent. I hope, this RC comes back to bite the rAbbott in the usual place!!

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