Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd: Cabinet Was Told There Were No Risks And The Next Day An Installer Died

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at the royal commission into his government’s home insulation scheme

Federal Cabinet was informed, through a Government Strategic Plan on October 13, 2009, that there were no major risk issues with the home insulation scheme.

The next day, an installer, Matthew Fuller, was killed on the job.

Mr Rudd is being allowed to use an uncensored statement when giving evidence to the royal commission into his government’s home insulation scheme.

Previously, the federal government had sought to suppress parts of Mr Rudd’s prepared statement on the ground that it referred to confidential federal Cabinet matters.

Today, Mr Rudd is using an un-redacted copy of his 31-page statement.

The statement reads: “My understand is that the home insulation program was listed as one of the five parts of the Copmmonwealth’s contribution to the National Strategy. I also understand that, under the major risks section of the anlysis, there were no issues raised in relation to the Home Insulation program.”

The royal commission is investigating how warnings on the roll out of the home insulation scheme were handled before the deaths of four installers in 2009 and 2010

Mr Rudd, in answering questions, talked about how the government in 2008 and 2009 came to realise that it needed to do three things in response to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC): guarantee bank deposits; guarantee interbank lending to keep the banks servicing business; and implement fiscal stimulus measures.

And in general, the government had been looking at ways to reduce carbon emissions. “We were seeking to explore a range of measures which could deal with climate change, including reducing carbon emissions by one means or another,” he said.

Mr Rudd said it was all absorbing keeping track of the GFC as it unfolded. The greatest fear was that Australia would slip into a recession.

“This is an all-absorbing enterprise for me at this time in terms of the data coming in from around the world, the meetings we are having with the Australian banks, the risk that were posed to various individual, Australian financial institutions of possibly falling over and the real concern that we are about to catapult into a recession,” he said.

“Much of my waking moments and some of my sleeping moments were spent on this.”

Earlier the father of Mitchell Sweeney, who was electrocuted age 22 while installing insulation, made a statement to the commission. Martin Mitchell said: “We love you very much Mitchell and we haven’t stopped missing you.”

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