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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Garrett: and so it came to pass « Previous | |Next »
February 26, 2010

I landed in Melbourne this morning from photographing in Tasmania to learn that a wounded Peter Garrett, the Minister of Environment, had pretty much reached the end of his illustrious career. I was surprised. I thought from reading the headlines that the roof insulation story had been managed and controlled by the Rudd spin machine.

Presumably, an ambitious Garrett sought political power so as to make a real difference to the lives of the Australian population. If so, then that goal is clearly unattainable with his " reduced range of responsibilities".Garrett loses all responsibility for energy efficiency ( the insulation scheme, solar rebates and other energy-efficiency programs) and becomes Minister for Environment Protection (whaling, biodiversity and conservation) Heritage and the Arts.


The fallout from the home insulation disaster continues to widen, even though the Rudd Government has suspended the scheme, and Greg Combet has been bought into fix the government problems. If it is tough on Garrett, he knew the political game that he wanted to be a success in. He has been required by cabinet solidarity to announce so many pro-industry decisions on the environment that he has largely lost his green credentials. That is being a team player.

To be fair a lot of Garrett's troubles arise from the Rudd Government's poor track record on climate change, solar energy, as well as the rorting the energy efficiency and solar schemes by the shonky installers (spivs and fly-by-nighters)in the industry. These days Ministers are not sacked and do not resign when departmental public servants fail them because of their incompetence.

The judgement is that Garrett, politically speaking, is damaged goods, with limited opportunities for political rehabilitation.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:02 PM | | Comments (10)


Not to forget that The failure of the ETS is a blow to the Rudd Government's claims to be a great reformer. These look to be pretences

Two other Garrett programs have also been canned. One was the Green Loans scheme, which has turned into a complete administrative mess. The other, the solar panel rebate scheme, was cut after a big cost blow-out.

It's Micky mouse stuff.

Combet's star is on the rise. There's an interesting future ahead for that man.

“He who rides the tiger can never dismount”... or something like that.

Garrett sought political power, at a cost. I really, really want to to know what he achieved by becoming just another cog in the grubby machine.

Seriously, can someone PLEASE show me a substantial, worthwhile program he championed. Something that ONLY Garrett could have conceive? Something that no lesser apparatchik could have administered?

Was it worth the price???

As a dyed in the wool Greenie I have found Garrett's performance appalling, Gunn's etc too sad to remember the whole list.

However . . . . .

With the insulation Garrett has been screwed by Tony Abbott's command of the hyperbole and everyone's inability to crunch the numbers, deconstruct the story, unpack the concept.

Possum Comitas over at Crikey reckons
1. less house fires under Garrett 1 in 11808 installations
previously 1 in 908 installations
2. 4 dead workers, are state OH&S laws 1 was heat stroke & 3 were electrocution. One of those was expected to install 9 roofs in a day. It takes 2.5 hours to install batts in a roof
Tony Abbotts Workchoices regime would not help these workers
3. Ellison Minter 16 page, $28,000 report identified 16 risks and highlighted high risks with Political, source of insulation & ????
4. The department had no knowledge or experience to manage building trades
5. When the legislation for installing PV Solar Panels the working to require wires to be tied to the joists was omitted so most roof cavities with PV solar are now spaghetti wires

The insulation, solar HWS & Solar PV programs were designed to keep people working and there wasn't time for the department to gear up - probably would take years to build up the expertise to manage such a program efficiently

Abbott has been very opportunistic and has said on Channel 10 at 8am if the government can't run and insulation program then it can't run Medibank and Medicare.

Abbott is running around sobbing crocodile tears over the lost insulation jobs. The grieving families must be getting very tired of being used as political footballs but what would a mad Jesuit care about collateral damage.

Very annoyed that journalists aren't pulling up Tony Abbott on his lies.

Billie's analysis is superb.
I would also emphasise a deliberate preference for structures that promote the "new" IR over responsible OHT, for the enjoyment of bosses, by Garrett's superiors, that meant that the scheme was virtually condemed to failure.
So, I remain unamused at Rudds claim to be "taking responsibility" ( what does that means: he picks up and carries his cross to Calvary, while the whips wrap around his shoulders? ), when he then chops Garrett, no doubt to the delight of those inside cabinet who are in the pockets of lobbyists?
If it had been Mar'n Ferguson or a pitiful nitwit like Conroy or Arbib, would the treatment have been as severe?

The installers may have trouble finding other jobs. Especially now that all the boat people will most likely be taking them.

In Victoria the cowboy insulation installers worked for Citywide. They drove rental trucks and were Irish & English backpackers who [may have] outstayed their visas.

Billie is right about the role of the media in all this. They're not even pretending to be reliable sources any more.

Add Rudd's 'admission' of failure over the weekend and you have to suspect that Rudd knows he's in for a media thrashing this year. I expect it will be interesting, and depressing, to see how far they will go to produce the gripping election year they clearly want.

yep the public image of Greg Combet is that of a Labor troubleshooter bought into clean up the mess.