Labor mismanaged the whole Pink Batts installation. It was a debacle. Someone died. Therefore someone should take the blame.
What did Labor do wrong? Well, the National Audit Office found that it rushed it before all the checks were in place, and failed to consult widely enough. And it didn’t anticipate that unscrupulous and dodgy operators would move in.
In spite of all the talk about Labor being the “worst” government in the history of the world, this remains their biggest disaster. There’s no point in sugar coating it, or using the excuse that it all needed to be done quickly.
Yes, there is some argument that if the Government had done too little in the face of the “biggest economic disaster since the Great Depression” and we’d slipped into a massive recession, then even more lives would have been ruined, but that’s still no excuse for not taking proper care and precaution.
This isn’t news. News is immediate, it’s happening. (By the way, I checked today’s Murdoch paper in the coffee shop, in the first 22 pages, there was no reference to the Abbott Government at all. They must have run out of things to do.)
And that’s my point. We are concerned with WHAT happened. We like blaming someone if it’s bad. But there’s not much analyse of WHY it happened beyond, it was Mr X’s fault. ‘Nuff said.
So the Pink Batts fiasco was Labor’s fault. We’ll learn from their mistakes, which were:
1. The scheme was rushed.
2. There was a lack of consultation.
3. Public Service concerns about the speed of implementation were ignored.
4. There was a lack of regulation and safeguards to ensure that only competent people were able to install the insulation.
Of course, now we have a much better Government in charge. There’ll be nothing like this from them. Here’s what they plan to do to ensure that nothing like this ever happens.
From the Liberals’ Real Solution
The Coalition will reduce the regulatory burden for individuals, businesses and community organisations by establishing and meeting a red and green tape reduction target of at least $1 billion a year.
We will provide incentives to drive the public service to cut red and green tape, such as linking remuneration of Senior Executive Service public servants (including future pay increases and bonuses) to quantified and proven reductions in regulation.
Or as Robert Gottliebsen put it before the election
“The Coalition shadow cabinet ministers have built themselves into a frenzy of de-regulation preparation. It stuns me that the previous government didn’t press Tony Abbott much harder to explain what regulations are going to be abandoned, because with each regulation there is a whole series of vested interests that will be very upset when they discover that their pet regulation has been abolished. And with every regulation comes a group if of public servants who will need to find other work.”
That’s what regulations all about – giving the Public Service something do. Regulations are just work for those idle Public Servants. And when we abolish it, there’ll be no problem getting rid of 12,000 or so. It’s like all those silly regulations about the safe handling of food. Health and safety standards. Don’t get me started on traffic cameras – when did speeding or driving through a red light ever do any harm? Worksafe. Environmental Protection. Planning approvals. All these things just slow up business and add to costs.
Like I said, Labor’s lack of regulation and speed in the implementation were some of the causes of the problems in the Pink Batts. Yet, suddenly, these things are desirable. And if any dodgy operator should take advantage of them I can’t picture the Abbott Government’s de-regulation crusade being even linked, let alone blamed.