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Abbott narrowly escapes semi-trailer collisio -

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Abbott narrowly escapes semi-trailer collision

Broadcast: 17/02/2010

Reporter: Emma Griffiths

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott narrowly avoided being hit by a truck in an accident blackspot this


TONY JONES: Well, more problems with the Government's insulation scheme have emerged, with industry
leaders saying hundreds of thousands of homes have been fitted with sub-standard material that
won't actually provide any insulation.

And the Foil Insulation Association says it sent a letter to the Prime Minister warning him of the
dangers a year ago.

The Opposition leader says Kevin Rudd and his Environment Minister are in denial.

But Tony Abbott had his own very personal drama to deal with today when road safety became an issue
very close to home.

Political reporter Emma Griffiths.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Tony Abbott wanted to bring attention to this accident black spot. This morning, he
was given an all-too-personal experience of it.

The driver of the car had stopped to turn right. The semi-trailer swerves to avoid ramming it from
behind. It almost topples over and skids to a halt.

The near miss happened on a notorious stretch of the Princes Highway, south-west of Melbourne.

TONY ABBOTT, AUSTRALIAN OPPOSITION LEADER: I was probably a bit lucky in that I only saw it after
it had, kind of... finished.

I've got to say that, uh, the driver did a great job in keeping his vehicle upright, um, in that
situation, and I'm just very pleased and relieved that no one was hurt because it could have been a
very nasty situation.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: The Opposition leader had travelled to campaign for a better road.

TONY ABBOTT: We just saw a moment ago how perilous this road could be.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Another potential peril of dodgy home insulation was visibly demonstrated today.

A month ago, this western Sydney home had new ceiling batts installed. Today, the ceiling caught

POLICEMAN: This fire was caused by an insulation product. More specifically, it appears by the
faulty installation of this product.

TONY ABBOTT: Mr Rudd and Mr Garrett are still in denial about this.

(Clamour of reporters)

TONY ABBOTT: They're-they're in- they're in electrocution denial about this.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: The industry has been given a chance to shed more light on the issue.

Those who speak for installers of foam insulation told a senate inquiry that up to 400,000 homes
had been fitted with inferior imported products.

TINO ZUZUL, POLYESTER INSULATION ASSOCIATION: Conservatively, 30-40 per cent, in my belief, are
homes that are under- or, non-compliant product that does not achieve the R values.

So, hence, there's no benefit to 30-40 per cent of homes installed to date.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: And those representing the foil side of the business say its members are heading
for disaster. They want the whole scheme shut down.

BRIAN TIKEY, FOIL INSULATION ASSOCIATION: The current path, I believe, is an absolute train
leck-train wreck with regards to the reflective insulation industry.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: The Foil Insulation Association says it wrote to the Prime Minister this time last
year, just as the Government was announcing the scheme.

The letter warned of the potential problems and asked for a delay. The association says it never
received a response.

The Prime Minister says the decision to go ahead with the scheme was taken to support jobs and that
the Environment Minister has worked his way through the relevant safety standards.

KEVIN RUDD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: No one is suggesting that there have not been significant
problems with the implementation of this. And the way in which it has been implemented has been
done by the Minister based on the best advice available to him and the Government.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Despite the growing list of complaints, most in the industry agree it'd be too
damaging to cancel the scheme.

Emma Griffiths, Lateline.