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Rudd takes responsibility for axed insulation -

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Rudd takes responsibility for axed insulation scheme

Samantha Hawley reported this story on Tuesday, February 23, 2010 12:20:00

ELEANOR HALL: The Prime Minister this morning condemned the Coalition for its comments that
Australians are more at risk from the Government's home insulation scheme than from terrorism.

The Opposition is accusing the Government of timing the release of its counter terrorism white
paper to deflect attention from the insulation debacle, as Samantha Hawley reports.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: The Prime Minister called the press conference to talk about the home grown threat
of terrorism but in the end Peter Garrett was the main topic of discussion.

Kevin Rudd defended his decision not to speak during a censure motion against his Minister in the
Parliament yesterday.

KEVIN RUDD: As far as all that is concerned, you would have heard my remarks in complete support of
the Minister in Parliament last week. My position on that has not changed one bit.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: The Prime Minister's adamant that Mr Garrett has not breached his ministerial
responsibilities.

KEVIN RUDD: I stand by the Minister as I did last week as I will do next week.

REPORTER: Mr Rudd, risks were identified and action was taken to mitigate them but ultimately the
program had to be abolished because of failure. Where do you eventually apportion blame?

KEVIN RUDD: Well, as far as responsibility for any government program, I as Prime Minister of the
country, am responsible for the good news and the bad news, the implementation of programs
effectively, the implementations of programs which have problems. As Prime Minister of the country
I take full responsibility to that which goes well and that which doesn't go so well.

REPORTER 2: What does that responsibility that you take ultimately amount to in terms of ...

KEVIN RUDD: It is my responsibility to the Australian people.

TONY ABBOTT: Every day the scandal, the maladministration, the disastrous incompetence surrounding
Minister Garrett and the Home Insulation Program just deepens.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: The Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is redoubling his attack. On his way into
Parliament this morning, he questioned Peter Garrett's claim that he wasn't shown a key risk
assessment report into the Home Insulation Program.

The report received by the Minister's department in April last year warned that the scheme should
be delayed for three months.

TONY ABBOTT: It seems that the department deliberately kept the Minister in the dark or the
Minister deliberately didn't want to know what was going on and either way this is an absolute
travesty of government.

REPORTER 3: Are you saying that he lied in Parliament?

TONY ABBOTT: I am saying, uh, that this whole program is now enmeshed in such extraordinary
official incompetence and ineptitude that it is just absurd to think that the Prime Minister can
pretend that this is a first class minister running a first class department.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: The Prime Minister says Peter Garrett heeded numerous warnings.

KEVIN RUDD: That doesn't detract from the problems which have been encountered. They are real and
the Government fully accepts that but I think we also need to keep this debate in its proper
context.

REPORTER 4: Are there any more at risk from dodgy home insulation than they are from a terror
attack?

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: That question relates to this comment from Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham, who's
cynical about the timing of the terrorism white paper release.

SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Well, the greatest threat to the safety of many Australian families over the last
12 months has been the Home Insulation Program and Peter Garrett's mismanagement of it and
tragically that is an ongoing threat to safety.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: The white paper was due out last year but the Prime Minister's defended its
unveiling this morning.

KEVIN RUDD: We have specifically taken advice from our agencies following the events of December 25
which isn't that long ago.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: But by Question Time all focus will be back on Peter Garrett. The Opposition says
he must resign or be sacked today.

ELEANOR HALL: Samantha Hawley in Canberra.