Home » Australian Politics » A Great deal of blood on the hands of Brother Number One

A Great deal of blood on the hands of Brother Number One

The thing about apologies is that they can not undo the serious consequences for which they express contrition. Now where is this more so than in the case of the fatal results of Brother Number One’s Pink Batts fiasco:

blood on his hands

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“In each case the employer should have recognised that roof spaces are inherently dangerous places to work and they should have had in place reliable systems to effectively manage that risk,” Mr Barnes said.
“Three people died because that didn’t happen with the three registered installers.”
State Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the men “lost their lives because of a chaotic, rushed and underdone” Federal Government policy, and blamed Mr Rudd.
“Kevin Rudd took ownership of the scheme under his first prime ministership, and the responsibility should lie with him,” Mr Bleijie said.
“These tragedies were preventable. In April 2009, Queensland’s Building Services Authority warned the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet about the risks but it never responded.

The coroner’s report is   incredibly damning of the federal government and its role in the design of the scheme and its something that we critics of  Brother Number One have been saying  ever since these three young men were so tragically killed. Of course we have had the usual excuses made about it being the responsibility of the States to regulate the building industry but such nonsense has no currency with the families of these three young men who will never recover form their tragic and unnecessary loss. So when you see or hear Brother Number One makeing his insincere apology don’t be swayed towards the excuses and Labor party spin. instead remember that  it was a panicked  Kevin Rudd who created the fatal scheme and it is a desperate Kevin Rudd who now just hopes that this issue will go away so that he can play his game of spin.

We, the voters, should instead remind the erstwhile Brother Number One time and time again that his decisions have cost lives in the roofs of our houses we lost fine young Australians and on the seas to our north Brother Number One has to be held responsible for the deaths of an unknown number of “asylum seekers” as well.  Strangely enough he is apologizing for that as well. Surely there has to be a point beyond which such empty apologies are an insult to both the dead and those who grieve for them and I for one think that Kevin Rudd is well past that point.

With respect for the dead Comrades.

Matthew Fuller, Rueben Barnes and Mitchell Sweeney.

Matthew Fuller, Rueben Barnes and Mitchell Sweeney.

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41 Comments

  1. Richard Ryan says:

    NOW! If you want blood, Iraq is the place to be——plenty of blood there, Ian, thanks to your beloved idol John Winston Howard.

  2. Richard Ryan says:

    WANTED FOR WAR CRIMES: John Winston Howard.

  3. Richard Ryan says:

    AMERICA’S LAPDOG—John Howard.

  4. Iain Hall says:

    at least spell my name right Richard :roll:

  5. Ray Dixon says:

    There was nothing “panicked” about Rudd’s stimulus package. It was required and it worked. The coroner has his view but it’s not definitive, final or even specifically damning of any individual politicians let alone Rudd.

    This is just “desperate” fingerpointing on your part here, Iain, because Rudd’s resurgence has caught you by surprise. But this issue should not be at play in deciding the election. Thankfully, except for those who would vote against him anyway, most voters will not hold him as falesly accountable as you do here.

    Richard’s point about Howard is actually far more valid than yours – Howard deliberately sent young men & women into life threatening positions on a lie.

  6. Iain Hall says:

    Ray

    There was nothing “panicked” about Rudd’s stimulus package. It was required and it worked. The coroner has his view but it’s not definitive, final or even specifically damning of any individual politicians let alone Rudd.

    Come off it Ray do you forget how quickly Rudd rolled out his scheme? How he continued to deny that there were problems with it? do you forget too how may roofs were dangerously electrified? Do you forget the endless telemarketing to get people to sign up to the scheme?

    This is just “desperate” fingerpointing on your part here, Iain, because Rudd’s resurgence has caught you by surprise. But this issue should not be at play in deciding the election. Thankfully, except for those who would vote against him anyway, most voters will not hold him as falesly accountable as you do here.

    mate I am enjoying immensely the fact that I can once again use the “Brother Number One” epithet and I am definitely NOT at all desperate quite simply because Rudd’s resurgence is illusory and he is already displaying the worst aspects of his persona as HE desperately tries to rebuild the party credibility. While Labor true believers like yourself are taking heart most voters are less impressed than you think.

    Richard’s point about Howard is actually far more valid than yours – Howard deliberately sent young men & women into life threatening positions on a lie.

    How many ADF personnel have died in Iraq and Afghanistan Ray, and how many Iraqi’s and Afghanis have they killed?
    Less than those killed by Rudd decisions on Pink Batts and Asylum seekers by my calculations

  7. Ray Dixon says:

    No, I don’t “forget how quickly” (and successfully) he responded to the GFC, Iain. But trying to use these unfortunate deaths as a reason not to vote for Rudd does indeed suggest you’re more than a tad worried and desperate to find something to stop his resurgence.

  8. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    I know very well that the reality of Rudd’s shortcomings will do a damn good job of circumventing what you call his “resurgence”.

  9. Ray Dixon says:

    Keep your eye on those opinion polls, Iain. I know Abbott is.

  10. Tony says:

    Iain (and the media) are extremely quick to judge here.

    I am not a Laborite, as you know, BUT and I don’t know how many times I have to emphasise this, or why no one else has picked up on this either, especially from the Labor stalwarts ?

    THE FAILURES IN THE INSULATION SCHEME WERE NOT THE FAULT OF THE ‘FEDERAL’ LABOR PARTY !

    On nine news this morning, were pictures of peoples roofs, after damage/fire had occurred.
    Did ANYONE ffs, take notice of the wiring in these roofs ?

    It was just draped over the plaster board, no clipping to joists, (as is required building code requirement), just laid bare on top.
    Then, what was clipped to joists, was done so with conductive, metal clips ?
    Talking about a bloody disaster just waiting to happen ?

    Whose fault in the long run ?
    Who is in control of our country’s building code, and electric installation codes ? State governments.

    In the past, it was inspectors from such organisations such as the SEC, that went around and inspected house wiring, issuing habitation certificates on houses, if they passed these inspections. That doesn’t occur anymore. They were pretty bloody strict from memory. A friend of mine’s father was such an inspector, and even now, at 80 odd, he cringes at the whole episode.

    This is where the criticism lays, and where also the blame should be centered. The individual state governments, that allowed these inspectors to be replaced with bureaucracy that doesn’t work, and that in turn, leads to these failures down the track. These houses, with wiring draped over bare plaster boards, without being attached to joists, is just asking for trouble. For the labor government to be criticised, for what was a bloody good scheme, down the track, for these failures, is abhorrent to say the least.

    I’ll bet everything I have, that the electricians that were that lax in the first place, for doing these dodgy installations,(probably just either too lazy, or trying to increase the profit margin ?), and even more scary, the inspectors that bloody passed them as ok, are either already in South America, or are booking their flights thereto, out of reach of lawsuits.

    The scheme may have been rushed, certainly, but the procedures were already in place, and have been for over half a century, to pick up on these dodgy installations, why have not the people, ultimately responsible for the policing and enaction of these procedures not been brought to task over this ?

    Laying the blame on Rudd, is just too easy that’s why.

  11. Ray Dixon says:

    Well said, Tony. Even the Coroner points this out – it’s just that he also criticised the rushed roll out. Well, he’s not an economist or a politician. He’s not a business person either or even a tradie. It’s easy for the Coroner to be wise in hindsight but these deaths cannot be laid at Rudd’s feet any more than you can say the Government is responsible for a car accident resulting from a badly built road that they funded.

  12. Richard Ryan says:

    How many Innocent Iraqi’s killed because of this invasion?—–oops! Iain does not include them—–“they are not like us”.

  13. Iain Hall says:

    Ray

    Well said, Tony. Even the Coroner points this out – it’s just that he also criticised the rushed roll out. Well, he’s not an economist or a politician.

    No ray he is a judicial officer charged with determining the cause of death for these three Queenslanders and he has found the design of the scheme to be seriously deficient Rudd accepts some responsibility for the failings of the scheme, otherwise he would not have apologised for his part in the death of these young men and if your “dear Leader” can do that they why do you have so much trouble with doing likewise?

    He’s not a business person either or even a tradie.

    No he is a man expert in determining cause of death, so respect his expertise.

    It’s easy for the Coroner to be wise in hindsight but these deaths cannot be laid at Rudd’s feet any more than you can say the Government is responsible for a car accident resulting from a badly built road that they funded.

    Governments have been successfully sued when badly designed and built infrastructure causes or contributes to a fatality, so even using your metric here Rudd can be held responsible, both morally and in Law.

  14. Iain Hall says:

    Richard
    The war in Iraq is long over and our part in it was somewhat smaller than than you suggest with its repeated invocation.

  15. Tony says:

    Again Iain, I applaud you for your comment, BUT again, where is your blame, that should be aimed at lax state government regulations or lack of them, that caused this all b/s in the first place ?

    Morally, and legally, the state governments are responsible, for the slack oversight of household electrical installations in the first place.
    Where is your criticism of them in all of this.
    You’re taking the easy way out cobber ? ;)

  16. Iain Hall says:

    Tony
    I agree that state government oversight should have been more vigilant,but that does not absolve Rudd for his part in the death of these young men. As someone who has done his fair share of DIY and investigated the inside of a few ceiling spaces cavities and their electrical installations so let me offer a couple of observations.
    Wiring in roof spaces is usually done without cleating any of the cables to the beams and without any of it being put inside conduits, further although there is a requirement that there be an earth leakage device on power circuits there is no requirement that the lighting circuits which are predominately in the ceiling space have them at all.
    As for the moral culpability I would still argue that as Rudd vastly expanded that which was otherwise a very small niche industry way beyond the capabilities of the state governments adequately police it was his fault for not predicting such problems and or not making sure that the (mainly Labor) state governments were doing their duty.
    Oh and If you check my archive you will see that I have been on this issue since the idea appeared as thought bubble from the panicked mind of Kevin Rudd.

  17. Richard Ryan says:

    Iain are the electric regulations different in the “deep south” in NSW, earth leakage breakers are required on light circuits. PS. Do I need a passport to enter Queensland?.

  18. Richard Ryan says:

    Also wiring regulations require cables to be clipped to joists. NOT flung up in the roof space with a pitch fork, like they do in Queensland.

  19. Ray Dixon says:

    Iain, the coroner has not actually blamed Kevin Rudd and has only criticised the government’s haste in rolling out the program. Of course he “apologised” but that doesn’t mean he accepts personal responsibility for their deaths. And no one except Abbott and desperate coalition supporters like you are saying he was culpable.

    This is pretty low politics and smacks of an opposition running scared.

  20. Richard Ryan says:

    Blood on the Wattle, now that is a good book.

  21. Tony says:

    It is definitely political rabble rousing Ray, no argument there at all.
    Pretty reprehensible, that the libs would stoop so low, especially considering that all matters to do with building and construction, are state government, and local council matters ?

    Not often do I agree with Richard, but his comment re clips and joints is valid, and I thought applied everywhere ?

    Again, to blame Rudd, is as you guys said, pretty low politics, and just political grandstanding at its finest for sure ?
    A couple of law suits, against respective electricians for doing this sort of shoddy work, with big payouts, would end the practice over night I would think ?

  22. Richard Ryan says:

    IS John Howard responsible for the deaths of servicemen killed in Iraq, a war based on a lie?—–of course he is.

  23. Richard Ryan says:

    The political harlot of the Liberal Party——–Julie Bishop. giggle giggle, an airhead, due to too much hair spray.

  24. Tony says:

    I apologise for continuing with this Iain, but a couple of points ?

    Wiring in roof spaces is usually done without cleating any of the cables to the beams and without any of it being put inside conduits,

    Just for a laugh, after seeing your comment, I got the ladder out, and poked my head up through the manhole, in the passage, with a torch.
    In my case, the manhole is very close to the passage-way light.
    I lifted up the pink batt, and lo and behold, there was the wire, nailed to the hardwood beam, by way of a “plastic” clip ? It then runs across, 18 inches or so, to the base of the light fitting. From what I could see, all the wiring is attached to the hardwood beams in this manner. Around the light, is a hole in the batt, I guess to help in the release of heat or such like, that results from the light fittijng getting hot when it is on ? This house is circa 1984, or thereabouts ? So it was done back then ? What changed this practice ?

    further although there is a requirement that there be an earth leakage device on power circuits there is no requirement that the lighting circuits which are predominately in the ceiling space have them at all.

    We were also given alarms, to plug into power points, to alert us to broken neutrals etc. You have those don’t you ?
    Also, that is why, usually just below the main board outside, is a five foot odd earth stake nailed into the ground, which puts all your electrical circuits, both power as well as light on the board, at earth potential. That is why you don’t see three connections on modern electrical plugs ?
    I am certainly no electrician, nor builder, but have been around for some decades. I have never seen these sorts of fires before. My only assumption, is that the insulation scheme was not the cause of these fires, rather the whole sad mess brought to light, the massive failures of state governments, when they changed from government oversight of electical installations, to privately contracted oversight.

    Every time governments pull this privatisation stunt, it NEVER works. Corners get cut, as well as standards drop, in an attempt to save money, or increase profits, and in the long run, everyone pays.

  25. Iain Hall says:

    Tony
    I suspect that you are not from Queensland because that is the state to which my first hand experience pertains I have personally been inside the roof cavities of many houses up here and found then precisely as I described them in my earlier comment. you are lucky that the regulation in your home state are clearly somewhat tighter than they are in the Sunshine state

    Further the existence of a large earthing spike has absolutely nothing to do with an earth leakage device
    the spike is there to provide a direct path to earth not to protect people at all. Earth leakage devices will trip in fractions of a second if there is a life threatening short circuit and such devices are DEFINITELY not required here Queensland for other than power circuits. I know this because up here the regulations were recently (in the last few years) to make Earth leakage devices mandatory , but ONLY for power circuits.

    I don’t want to Labour the point too much but although I am not an electrician I have seen the evidence on which I base my claims not once but many times.

  26. Tony says:

    Agreed. I am not in Victoria, but spent a lot of my life there, hence why I know a little about it. And although, here in a different state ;) ? it may be different now I don’t know. All I do know, is that this house is roughly thirty years old, and my direct observations are based on that, and I guess also, the regulations that were current then ?
    As for now ? Who knows ?

  27. Iain Hall says:

    My houses are both about thirty years old and neither had an EL device and I had to pay to have them fitted

  28. Tony says:

    what about your wiring in the ceiling ?
    Would be interested to hear if that is attached to the ceiling joists properly, or just draped over the joists and lying flat on the plaster board ?

  29. Iain Hall says:

    I have no ceiling cavities in this house (sloping roof with exposed beams) but I have been in the roof space of quite few houses up here and the wires have never been cleated cabling My good mate up here is a sparky and he has never seen substantive cleating either. The attitude. and regulation up here has always been that such niceties are too expensive (because its more labour intensive to do and uses more wire)and the usual expectation is that for all intents and purposes no human will come into contact with it.

  30. Tony says:

    With all due respects to your “Sparky” there’s your problem then.
    In your case you are probably ok, but look at the pictures attached to your story, and there is the problem, laid out bare for all to see ? (pardon the pun ?)

    What did I say earlier, done because it saves on costs etc. Your sparky agrees by the look of it.
    That’s the problem per sae, not the insulation scheme, or Rudd ?

  31. Tony says:

    Finally ?
    Here, the wiring is cleated high on to the beams, with small holes drilled through the hardwood, so that the wiring passes right through. It is then, with plastic clips, nailed to the beam. Then, when the insulation was installed, the batt, fitted into the gaps, and the top was still some 3-5cms above the batt, and the same below the colorbond roof ?

    Certainly, it uses more wiring, and is a lot more labor intensive, more expensive, but if it were me paying the extra, I would have no qualms about it ?

  32. Iain Hall says:

    With equal respect Tony the lassire fare installations were not at all problematic before Rudd’s scheme so it was really beholden upon those who change the situation rather than retrospectively blaming installations that were put in at a time when roof insulation was just about unheard of here in Queensland and taht were adequate for decades

  33. Tony says:

    Oh hell yeah ! Totally agree with that.
    Inulation was something that only the well to do could afford.
    I remember back to the seventies, in Victoria, the SEC there, brought in a similar scheme to Rudd’s, allowing to purchase insullation, and installation, on the never never, paying it back through the electricity bill ? Around the time, they were also trying fo flog off those “heat banks” ? (a heater, filled with clay bricks, heated by an electrical coil through them, that would do nothing more than take the chill off the room. But, they were timed to come on after midnight, and would be attached to the “off peak” tariff of the meter. Anyone else remember those ? :lol:)

    That was pretty successful, and there were none of the ramifications that we are seeing now ? I wonder why ?
    An interesting question to be sure ?

  34. Ray Dixon says:

    So Iain, it sounds like the ‘deaths in the ceilings’ in Queensland are more the fault of your slack electrical safety standards/laws than they are the fault of our PM who, after all, was only acting in good faith and – more importantly – in the interests of the entire population. Accidents unfortunately happen. They happen on govt funded projects like roads and new buildings too – do we hold the PM responsible for every single industrial accident on projects the government has funded? Come on, that’s like blaming the bank for giving you a loan to buy a car in which you kill someone.

  35. Iain Hall says:

    Tony
    our winters are Much more mild than those experienced by you Mexicans so we have never had such heating schemes

  36. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    You are really stretching credulity to absolve Rudd of blame for these deaths. As I explained to Tony, the standards have served us very well for many years and then when the situation changed due to Rudd’s grand scheme it was found wanting.so the bringer of change is at least partly responsible.
    Rudd was not acting in good faith at all, he was acting with unseemly haste and he failed to consider the effect of making it virtually cost free to home owners to have insulation installed, this was the fundamental problem with the scheme, the foundation of the business model of every dodgy installer and for that there is only one person to blame and that is Kevin Rudd.
    Your claim that the scheme was “a benefit to the entire population” is rather too sweeping to be credible and based entirely on your personal love of Brother Number One and your belief that he is the Labor Party’s Messiah, he isn’t.

  37. Tony says:

    I am sorry Iain, but I think your view is pretty narrow.
    The standards were in place, for certain, BUT, obviously never policed !

    The listed benefits were substantial.
    Lower use, and better efficiciency of the electricity used ?
    It is tough to see, that you can’t understand that all the failures, or at least the majority of them at least, were at the State level, not federal.
    I have seen the pictures of the wiring, loosely draped over plaster board, and that was it for me, especially after venturing into my own roof ?

  38. Iain Hall says:

    Tony
    Here in Queensland we are Blessed with a most moderate climate most of the time and the regulations for our electrical installations were developed before it became fashionable to have insulation in our houses. That said I don’t dispute that the state government should have been more vigilant,
    However don’t forget that we had a Labor government who did not want to do anything to upset a federal Labor government by putting anything in the way of Rudd’s efforts to “stimulate” the economy so by my reckoning that still makes it substantially the fault of the ALP and its leadership both state and federal ;)

  39. Tony says:

    You’re definitely one of the lucky ones, at least where the weather is concerned.

    In so far as Labor’s management of the scheme, yep, the runs are on the boards there.
    All I am saying, is that state and local governments should also be in the firing line, when blame is laid ?

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