Ministry debacle reflects on Rudd

Energy Matters0


Instead of holding firm and trying to reassure the concerned public the government was doing everything it could to resolve the potentially fatal and dodgy insulation in 240,000 homes, Rudd switched back yesterday. He gutted Garrett but left him filling valuable space in the cabinet room.

On Monday Rudd had distanced himself from Garrett, then on Tuesday he embraced him and his tar-baby problems and yesterday he dumped Garrett into the shell of a ministry as he tried to staunch the loss of political lifeblood and re-order climate politics.

Rudd also admitted the program had been handled inappropriately and shifted Greg Combet — who has had to fix various disasters in climate change policies from negotiating with coalminers to renewable energy — into the role of fixing the roofing debacle under the guise of energy efficiency.

Combet also has the role of protecting the declining reputation of the Prime Minister, who is now ultimately responsible for anything that goes wrong in the roofing scheme, which is apparently open to rorting even as electricians try to detect fatal faults.

But for Rudd, who had hoped to clear the politically disastrous roofing scheme out of the way and move on to a positive policy agenda on health and the economy, there are just more questions being asked about his judgment and ability to handle pressure.

There is also the clear impression being created that as the ETS fades into the future there is going to be more emphasis on energy efficiency, with the public servants in the Climate Change Department being co-opted to provide the necessary resources to fix the roofing insulation scheme.

And that sounds like a government in retreat moving towards Tony Abbott’s “practical solutions”.

Labor expects a further decline in the polls for Rudd’s personal standing, but is hoping that by acting spectacularly yesterday he was able to limit it.