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Feb 18, 2010

Garrett’s insulation scandal gets even hotter

Already under fire over his foil insulation scheme, the scrutiny on Peter Garrett is set to reach boiling point, with new revelations today of dodgy solar panels, shonky businessmen and fresh attacks from industry. Better slip, slop, slap, Pete.

Already under fire over the government’s foil insulation scheme, the scrutiny on Peter Garrett is set to reach boiling point today, with a report on last night’s ABC Lateline revealing that thousands more Australian homes could be at risk of fire from poorly installed solar panels, due to lax regulations and standards.

Meanwhile, the insulation scandal continues to burn, with dodgy businessmen and criminals coming out of the woodwork, and the Aluminium Foil Insulation Association calling for an immediate end to the scheme, with claims that up to 400,000 homes could be at risk.

With attacks on Garrett heating up again — and the wider debate on ministerial responsibility running equally hot, thanks to Stephen Conroy — he better slip, slop, slap.

The Australian

Jennifer Hewett: Who’s gonna save me?

Rudd has no desire to wear the political cost of losing another minister, at least not yet … But that level of support isn’t guaranteed to continue if the political damage is seen as too great.

Sydney Morning Herald

Miranda Devine: Spin and silver tongues can’t hide an empty morality

Every day the bungled home insulation program provides new disasters and every day the government jumps through linguistic hoops to avoid admitting responsibility, as if spin alone will absolve it.

Herald Sun

Neil Mitchell: Stop hiring star pollies

… celebrity politicians can become dangerous because they usually don’t have the crucial political instincts, and don’t understand the culture, the accountability, or the boring things they must do to be on top of their game.

Sydney Morning Herald

VIDEO: Tim Lester: Counterspin: Ministerial responsibility

minister response


Barry Cassidy: Yes Minister, No Minister, Sacked Minister?

… surely common sense demands that before Peter Garrett is sacked, there should be coronial inquiries to determine why four people died, and who was responsible?


Fake Steve Fielding, GroupThink: Rock and roll politics

Rock and roll music killed those poor tradesmen; you can take the devil music out of the boy but you can’t take the boy out of the devil music.

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11 thoughts on “Garrett’s insulation scandal gets even hotter

  1. napoleon dynamite

    “… celebrity politicians can become dangerous because they usually don’t have the crucial political instincts, and don’t understand the culture, the accountability, or the boring things they must do to be on top of their game.”

    Midnight Oil made some good music but Garrett is dieing a slow and painful death in the world of politics. I still think he would have been better off joining the Greens than a major party.

    I am tipping that Garrett will resign rather than a Rudd sacking.

  2. Frank Campbell

    Abbott asks “what moral universe does Rudd inhabit?”. The answer is- the same one as Howard, who finished off the convention of ministerial responsibility.

    Rudd’s first response to the Garrett disaster was to say (to paraphrase) “Tragic deaths have occurred, but industrial accidents happen all the time”. His second response was along the lines of “the minister acted on advice from departmental advisors”: i.e. blame the suits.

    The media have failed to grill Rudd on this- they don’t seem to appreciate that the type and locus of responsibility is the key. They should be down at the cemetery interviewing Mick Young and his teddy bear.

    Abbott the Catholic moralist should be asked what he would do in Rudd’s position.

  3. jenauthor

    Where are these installers who did the work? Are they being attacked or blamed for the mistakes they made? Are they being peddled before the press with targets on their backs?

    To say the minister is responsible for their actions/mistakes is just like saying a publican is to blame for an alcohol induced car accident miles away, three weeks later, because the bottle was bought at his hotel/bottlo. Sorry, the person who drank the bottle is the culprit.

    A government can make rules and regs to protect people from themselves but they cannot be there to prevent every accident, just as the inister cannot be in every roof checking that people are doing the right thing.

    The people who did the job need to take some responsibility for their actions. Our society seems hell-bent on blaming others for our own mistakes.

    Now they are drawing a long bow with the solar panels. The Lateline story drew an unconnecting link to the insulation problems and suddenly every solar panel is faulty and its the govts. fault.

    Give me a break!

    The press and opposition need to take a long hard look at themselves. Abbott must be spending hours a week in the confessional with all the porky pies he’s telling at the moment.

  4. shepherdmarilyn

    For god’s sake grow up. Look at the bloody stats. 10,000 fires per year, not one due to solar panels and only 86 attributed to insulation.

    What a pathetic frigging beat up.

  5. earnest scribbler


    So, if a publican tosses a crate of bottles over a fence into a closed-in field, and someone dies from alcohol-induced violence, would you not blame the publican even a little?

  6. merlot64

    Claims that Abbott made about industrial manslaughter were blatantly stupid headline grabbers. That said, there does appear to be a lack of oversight and governance on Garrett’s behalf. Sure, the installers are the one who put in the dodgy insulation (and pv) solutions, but it smacks of political and process immaturity that he didn’t see the train wreck coming. He has been a push-over Environment minister who, while having some good moments in question time, has presided over light weight greenwash policies. Time to go and get someone credible in the job – though maybe that is not what Rudd wants…

  7. Flower

    This saga reinforces the fact that the free market cannot be trusted but it continues to function with impunity and with little government intervention or enforcement.

    Entreuprenurial thugs in industry are well aware that in the event of mishaps, they’ll receive a slap on the wrist and then return to business as usual.

    The Rudd government needs to review its infatuation with the free market and understand that they too have become delusional about a “free-market” utopia, despite their sincere intentions to mitigate energy consumption as in this case.

    Rudd should also address the cognitive errors and symptons of faulty reasoning of his bureaucrats in the Department of Environment (and of the industry stooges elsewhere in the public service)

    Frontline cadavers, Abbott, Minchin, Wilson et al and chief clown of the “Me First” Party, Fielding, continue to pollute the public discourse with more clueless nonsense than before since they don’t have to take responsibilty for coping with the very problem they have ideologically caused. Right-wing wackos are always on the lookout, amidst the rubble of politics to lure people to vote against their own interests.

    These are the dirtbags, predominantly aligned with the grim reapers in the fossil fuel industry, who are literally trying actively (assisted by huge sums of blood money) to destroy the biosphere. While their robbery is “legal” and self-regulated, are we going to let them destroy everything?

    By the obstacles they’ve provided, to prevent action on climate change thus far, it seems that we will.

  8. Most Peculiar Mama

    Garrett is guilty.

    Rudd is too stupid to care though.

  9. Flower

    “Garrett is guilty. Rudd is too stupid to care though”

    The most vacuous assertion so far. Another alter ego of Captain Catholic (who lies for Jesus) and his grim reapers?

  10. napoleon dynamite

    are people from the left really that blind?

    If I was provided with various pieces of advice at my work from external agencies and I then failed to act or take the necessary due diligence to dispel that advice, I would be sacked….!!!!!

    I don’t want to live in a world where there is no accountability by our federal ministers. I am not a left basher but I think this issue is clear cut.

    If Garrett does not get sacked, I’d hate to see what his annual performance review looks like!