Kevin Rudd’s lawyer says an inquiry into Labor’s home insulation program heard no evidence suggesting the former prime minister received safety warnings.
The royal commission into Labor’s home insulation program didn’t hear any evidence that Kevin Rudd received and ignored safety warnings, the former prime minister’s lawyer says.
Bret Walker, SC, has provided a written submission to the inquiry, which held eight weeks of public hearings in Brisbane this year.
The submission states while it had been publicly alleged that Mr Rudd was given at least 10 direct personal warnings about the program’s safety, the inquiry had heard no such evidence.
“No party represented at the commission nor the commission itself suggested … that the then prime minister failed to respond to direct warnings to him personally about safety risks,” Mr Walker wrote.
Queenslanders Matthew Fuller, Rueben Barnes, Mitchell Sweeney, and Marcus Wilson from NSW, lost their lives working under the $2.8 billion stimulus program.
In his submission supporting Mr Rudd’s evidence, Mr Walker says the inquiry heard nothing that suggested the then prime minister personally failed to take steps to avoid or prevent the men’s deaths.
He said ensuring workplace safety was the responsibility of the states and territories.
“No prime minister, including Mr Rudd, is responsible for enforcing workplace health and safety laws.”
Mr Walker also said there was no evidence contending that the insulation program was initiated or designed by Mr Rudd.
The Fuller and Barnes families have lodged a joint submission outlining what they believe are the scheme’s eight failures.
These include allowing foil insulation to be affixed with metal staples, the scrapping of training for all installers and the Commonwealth’s failure to consider installer safety as a risk.
Written submissions have also been made by the Sweeney family, Mr Wilson’s sister Jessica, the Home Insulation Industry Action Group and the State of Queensland.
Commissioner Ian Hanger, QC, has until August 31 to produce his report, but may recall witnesses if he intends to make adverse findings against them.