Batt-Gate and Labor’s Moral Duplicity

The Rudd Government home insulation scandal seems to get worse each passing day, with new revelations emerging of more mess-ups, more bungling, more incompetency, more job losses, and more lives devastated. Yet no one in the Rudd government seems willing to use the S word.

Imagine if this scenario had taken place under a conservative government: At least four people dead; nearly a hundred houses destroyed by fire; hundreds of thousands of other homes potentially at risk; thousands of jobs and whole industries at risk; billions of dollars squandered: all because of incompetent and out-of-touch government policies.

Imagine what all the lefties and mainstream media would be saying? They would be demanding the scalps of anyone involved in this fiasco. The hounding from the media would be merciless, and the left would not relent until action was taken.

Remember how the very person at the centre of this monumental stuff-up carried on in an act of moral outrage during the 2000 Olympics? There Peter Garrett and his band Midnight Oil wore their “sorry” shirts in an overt act of political grandstanding.

And how many times did Rudd, the Labor Party, and lefties of all stripes demand of Howard that he say sorry for all sorts of issues, such as the treatment of Aborigines? How many times did they ask of Howard and the conservatives, “Why is it so hard to just say ‘sorry’?”

Good question, certainly in light of this Rudd government fiasco. Why is no one now even willing to offer an apology, and clearly use the S word? All we have is excuse-making and cosmetic reactions, such as today’s Labor cabinet reshuffle.

Whoopee, so Garrett gets a minor demotion, a feather on the wrist. He of course should be sacked. And since Rudd keeps saying he is ultimately responsible, he should step down. But nope, there will be none of this. You see, it is hard for them to say sorry. All these lefty moralists are just as unrepentant as any conservative might be.

Andrew Bolt points out some obvious failures in this batty policy: “This scandal is not just about the every-which-way bungling by Rudd’s ‘first-class minister’ of a $2.5 billion free-insulation scheme that has since killed four people, set fire to more than 90 homes, and left 1000 more with lethal faults in their ceilings.

“Nor is it just about a mad money-shovelling plan to stimulate local business and fight ‘global warming’ that wound up doing almost nothing it was meant to achieve, instead blowing up to $400 million on dangerous or useless insulation for some 240,000 homes, and buying shiploads of dodgy batts and foil from foreign makers with dollars meant for spending right here.

“Nor is it even just about the farce of having a make-work scheme that ends with the Government spending another $10 million to ‘retrain’ 2000 of the people it’s just thrown out of work.

“Step back. The fact is this catastrophe is not the making of one hapless minister, but the inevitable and predicted result of rush-rush-Rudd’s entire style of governing. Garrett, this ‘first-class minister’, did no more than Rudd’s will, and in Rudd’s way. And the results are little different to what we’ve seen – or will keep seeing – from so many other areas under the control of this Prime Minister. Sack Peter Garrett? But then Rudd would have to sack himself.”

He goes on to list a number of major problems inherent in the Rudd Government:

First, impulsiveness. Think how Rudd decided to invest $43 billion on high-speed broadband without even a cost-benefit analysis, and after just two mid-air talks with Communications Minister Stephen Conroy as he rushed from one function to another.

Second, rush. Think how Rudd unleashed a tidal wave of extra spending last year – at least $80 billion – with little thought on what it would actually be spent on.
Or how he tried to rush in his mega-billions greenhouse tax on everything this year, long before the rest of the world was close to agreeing to any such tax themselves – meaning we’d simply drive our gassier businesses overseas.

“Third, refusal to listen. Think how Rudd even to this day will not discuss the mountain of evidence that his global warming policies to upend our economy are based on reports from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that now seem riddled with errors, exaggerations, fraud, bias and vested interests. Or how he’s ignored repeated warnings that his $16 billion ‘Education Revolution’ scheme is wasting scandalous sums on school halls and canteens that are not needed, vastly overpriced, or utterly irrelevant to a good education.”

The other features he mentions are equally concerning. Bolt concludes this way: “This insulation fiasco is just the first of Rudd’s many failures already to sink home to a public that’s been happy to give their new Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt. I fear there will be many more like it, some with even billions more at stake. Indeed, I’m now convinced Rudd is at least as incompetent a manager as Whitlam, but with none of Whitlam’s vision. While he still has Garrett to hide behind, this deeply insecure man can only hope you won’t see that, too. But the minute you do, he’s through.”

The left is always happy to take the high moral ground, and go on various moral crusades. But when the shoe is on the other foot, and when they are caught out doing all kinds of idiotic and damaging things, the very word they demand of conservatives seems to disappear from the left’s vocabulary. In my books that is moral hypocrisy.

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17 Replies to “Batt-Gate and Labor’s Moral Duplicity”

  1. Bill,
    Perhaps there should be more questioning of the fundamental issue of government interference in the market. Since when was it the government’s responsibility to centrally plan the economy? Its ‘batty’ scheme is one of many examples of this, including the other stimulus measures you mention.
    In Scripture we find government charged primarily with upholding justice, thereby creating an environment in which economic activity can flourish, and defending its citizens from foreign attack.
    The modern nation state has assumed far more than this and the drift to more and more centralist control seems to reflect the system that collapsed in Eastern Europe with the Berlin wall.
    Vaclave Klaus, the president of the Chech Republic speaks from experience about the dangers inherent in this trend.
    John Nelson

  2. Not to mention the LPG subsidy of $3000 per person to fit LPG to your car. It was was promised until 2014 – wonderful but it finished last year 2009. Gee I didn’t see that one coming. 130 or so workshops set up to fit LPG in Perth alone. How come the like’s of Rudd can get away with this stuff and whats more we elect them? A clamp down on centrelink payments is what we need right?
    Daniel Kempton

  3. And the whole sorry mess was motivated by the anthropogenic global warming scam. This is what happens when a government follows after a chimera and throws money at it – billions of dollars!! Yet the intransigent, obscurantist bone-heads (sorry, but I believe the term is appropriate) continue unabashed, despite the revelations from the CRU, the debunked ‘hockey-stick’ curve, the many ‘gates’ around the IPCC, the verdict of a growing number of rational scientists against the whole scam (e.g. Nils Axel Morner on rising sea levels), etc. etc. Four young people are dead, 93 homes destroyed, literally thousands more rendered potentially unsafe – all ultimately due to obsession with this malfeasant humbug.

    It also belies the socialist-statist dogma that ‘anything you can do government can do better’. In the light of this unbelievable bungle, what claptrap!

    Murray Adamthwaite

  4. The only problem with Socialism is, eventually you run out of other people’s money.
    Phil Manley

  5. The more I see of Kevin Rudd the more I am convinced that his Christian faith is needing to be called into question. However I believe that Garrett to some extent was a patsy for this rushed job. But houses were burnt down – yes beds were burning.
    Shonky contractors working in the ceiling and the roof – blue sky mining and the minister was ill advised by his department or took little notice of the advice they may have given him – short memories.
    But I wonder if Rudd wanted this program up and running so that he would look good for either Copenhagen or the election. Whatever I hope the Christian voting public will think twice before the electon if Rudd talks about Bonhoeffer.
    Wayne Pelling

  6. This whole incident proves Dudd’s reputation as a first-rate bureaucrat. Remember it was him that was the feared “dr Death” in Goth’s department in QLD that ran the public service. He proved to be a master manipulater of the levers of power. But this is all he is. Great for shuffling papers, writing reports, calling meetings and ticking boxes. But when his policies actually touch the ground then well…

    I was glad to see Kerry O’brien, for once, actually give Rudd the tough and probing interview he deserved. Take a look at his typical bureaucratese;

    KERRY O’BRIEN: But what went wrong, where did it go wrong?

    KEVIN RUDD: Well, compliance means that you have a compliance system within it which provides quality control and assessment of the installations which go into each home. The compliance…

    KERRY O’BRIEN: Yes, I understand-I understand what the compliance is, I’m saying what went wrong with the compliance system? How did it fail?…

    …KEVIN RUDD: From the period when this report was delivered, which as you said was in April, and when the guidelines for the program were introduced at the end of June and early July, the Minister, I’m advised, received not just input from risk assessment documents, risk assessment meetings involving not just Minter Ellisons, but a whole range of other people, and the Department in response to that put together the guidelines for the program.

    Damien Spillane

  7. Phil, we don’t have socialism in Australia, we have incompetence and stimulus funding schemes that are not well thought through.
    The insulation batts is one example of where National and State occupational, health and safety Acts, Regulations, Codes of Practice, Australian Standards and guidance material from the various Workcover authorities was not systematically used nor sufficient government oversight exercised.
    Michael Webb

  8. The Whitlam government was described as “a government of bugling ineptitude.” That description fits the Rudd government very nicely. The Whitlam government lasted three years and went out in a landslide; I pray that history will repeat itself.
    Des Morris

  9. Hi Damien,

    Yes that episode of 7.30 Report made me cringe for Rudd. O’Brien had him well and truly roasted and Rudd was tried his best to avoid answering the tough questions about ACCOUNTABILITY.

    Makes me wonder how on earth this government was going to roll out an ETS. To be honest, I believe they had NO IDEA of the complexities of such a scheme, as there was very little (if any) information available to the public about how it was going to work/affect us.

    Abbott is a burst of very fresh oppositional air, and Rudd is now smelling the smoke of REAL opposition!

    Jane Petridge

  10. Jane, yet Abbott, and more particularly the broader Liberal Party parliamentary front bench and backbenchers, have already brought policy closer ( sad to say) to the bad aspects of the ALP. Fo example Tony Abbott is going to continue to allow mass immigration just as the ALP is doing. Mass immigration, especially from certain regions fo the world, is proving incompatible with our Judeo-Christian heritage. Further Australian cultural identity is being lost more and more as each year passes.

    Abbott is still going to introduce an ETS. I wish he would just reject it outright because there is no connection between global warming and carbon increase. In fact there is no evidence of global warming as a long term trend.

    Michael Webb

  11. John Nelson makes a key point. Government is over-reaching itself, trying to play ‘god’ as it were in far too many spheres of society – including interfering with the market (in this example). This is just another example of that fundamental mistake being made by our political leaders, who reserve no limits for government involvement but what their own judgment (and that of the nation at large) determines.
    Unfortunately there is also a lack of integrity in government i.e. the doctrine of ‘ministerial responsibility’ specifically.
    Let’s remember that we are called to pray for our leaders, they certainly need it.
    Isaac Overton, ACT

  12. The stimulus program was a mega billion dollar insult to the Australian people! What arrogance of Rudd to say “I know better than you. You need to spend, not tighten your belts, so we will do it for you.”

    We should just accept that Governments know better what to do than us.

    Jeremy Peet

  13. Want to know the fundamental reason why KRudd’s insulation scheme was always doomed, like all his other mad-rushed and impulsive Spendulus pork? Milton Friedman explains on the video The 4 Ways to Spend Money: the worst of the four ways is when you spend someone else’s money on someone else: there is no incentive either to get best value or to economize on the cost.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  14. Thanks Jonathan for sharing that link. My father tells often that the best person to spend money is the one who earnt it, and big governments violate that principle big time. Good video that, I’m going to bookmark it for later sharing.
    Keith Jarrett

  15. Murray, Please be careful whom you quote. You mention “Nils Axel Morner on rising sea levels”, a concept which I also think unproven and likely a part of the AGW fallacy, but Wikepedia ( states “He is also known for his support for dowsing”, an opinion which I would find “difficult.”
    Graeme Cumming

  16. Graeme,
    You should also know that Wikipedia is known for its AGW advocacy – quite militant in fact. Hence Wiki would have a special interest in denigrating any “denier” by any means possible.
    But to your main point: here again is an ad hominem, of the ‘circumstantial’ variety. Because (it is alleged) X holds views in other respects which are in some way objectionable, therefore we may discount his views on (in this case) AGW. So according to this line of reasoning, we don’t even have to examine his views in his field of international expertise, i.e. sea levels: their phenomena and causes. Yet he has studied this subject throughout his professional life, and his views must command respect. But because he is a (gasp!) “denier”, and holds some odd views in other respects you and others would tell me that those views can safely be ignored without even a hearing. I protest!
    There is altogether too much of this “don’t like the message so shoot the messenger” attitude in this whole argument, particularly from the AGW side, and I am thoroughly tired of it.
    Murray Adamthwaite

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