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59

Risk and Incompetence in an Insulated Media

Garrett should resign over his bungled scheme that ignored warnings from Minter Ellison and which ultimately caused the deaths of four people and has increased rapidly the chances of tens of thousands of homes burning down.

That, in a nutshell, is the line the mainstream media in this country has pursued for nearly a week – with The Australian taking the lead role and the rest of the MSM herd dutifully following them down into what we now know is a cul-de-sac of complete and utter incompetence. There is simply no other way to put what has gone on here.

Let us be clear – the insulation scheme was only shut down after the Minter Ellison document became a pivotal issue, suggesting that Garrett not only failed to read a document back in April 2009 that seemingly highlighted every problem – both real and imagined (but more on that later) – that has come to pass in the scheme, but that if he had read the Minter Ellison document and acted upon it, if he had followed the advice of Minter Ellison, homes would not have burned, people would not have died, the scheme would not have failed. It was definitive proof, so the media narrative went,  that Garrett was a poster boy for ministerial incompetence writ large.

It was this Minter Ellison document and the plague like, hysterical misreporting of its contents, that forced public opinion to run so strongly against Garrett (with his approval rating of 28%) and the government that they were forced to shut it down – just as all governments shut down medium sized programs when public opinion gets beyond rational; witness the politicians superannuation scheme in 2004 and the Howard fuel excise indexation in 2001.

If the Minter Ellison document was reported accurately, the program would still be operational.

This scheme was shut down and the jobs of at least 5000 people and the immediate living standards of another 12-15 thousand family members got sent down the toilet because journalists were incompetent. On their heads rests the economic consequences of these ostensibly low income, lowest skilled people getting sacked.

This Minter Ellison Risk Register was a report that, according to The Australian, “warned of an “extreme risk” of house fires, fraud and poor quality installations”. On top of these frightening risks, The Australian stated that, “ Peter Garrett was kept in the dark by his department about warnings it received that the home insulation scheme should be delayed for three months because of “extreme risks”.

The only problem here is that this – and I mean all of this – is complete and utter bullshit.

But before we get to what the risk assessment actually says – because, let’s be frank, you won’t see that written anywhere in The Australian – what is worth mentioning first is the nature of the report for some context.

Garrett’s department commissioned one-stop consulting shop Minter Ellison for a risk assessment on the insulation program, a report it delivered to the department in April 2009. This report only cost the department $28,985. About now, some of you will be thinking “29K!! Outrageous!!” – but far from this being an expensive report, it’s actually very cheap in the broader scheme of government consulting work.

That cheap price reflects the very nature of the report’s contents (and goes to the heart of why top level public servants leave the PS for consulting work!). It wasn’t a comprehensive “The Final Word” style report – it was basically an appraisal of the risks that might pop up when it comes to rolling out the insulation program, a rough estimate on the costs that may be involved from those risks should they eventuate, and a short evaluation of the risk mitigation programs that the government had in place for each area as of April 2009.

In Question Time on Tuesday, it was revealed that the report took less than six days to produce – highlighting the serious but not definitive nature of the document. If Minter Ellison spent more than 50 hours on this report, I will eat my laptop. So the report isn’t comprehensive – nor is it meant to be – it’s simply a professional brainstorm done up into a nice report with some smart people in charge of the whiteboard and the pens.

That is what $29K buys in the world of the modern consultant.

What the MSM has been suggesting is that not only does the continuation of a multi-billion dollar program – the insulation rollout – pivot on the contents of a $29K report of programmatic risk, but that Peter Garret’s very tenure as Minister pivots on whether or not he actually read the thing.

That is pretty much one of the more ludicrous ideas you’ll ever come across – a multi billion dollar program and a Ministers tenure being determined by a report smaller than your average miscellaneous expenses budget – but none-the-less, this is The Australian and the herd of the mainstream media we’re talking about here. Who really gets surprised these days when you find that your already low expectations are still a little on the high side with this lot?

As the Senate committee into this demonstrated clearly (transcript available here soon),when this program was being developed by the Dept, they went out and collected a substantial array of information and policy advice to assist not only the Minister in the rollout of the program, but also to assist with the department’s own preparedness for implementing the policy. The department undertook internal research, they consulted widely with industry and other relevant government organisations like the ACCC and departments like DEEWR. They also engaged with third party specialists – one of which was Minter Ellison.

The department then collated and condensed this wide array of information from a wider array of sources into a set of advice briefs for the Minister. You see, that’s actually what government departments do. From the idiot commentary in the press you’d think that Departments should be abolished since the Minister apparently does everything – although as Bernard Keane regularly points out in Crikey, journalists failing Public Service Operations 101 is neither new nor irregular.

The Minter Ellison report was but one, small piece of info that went into this mix that made up the advice the Department provided to Garrett.

That gets us on to the actual Risk Register document itself. You can download it here, and use the explanatory cover email available here as a key to some of the abbreviations in the register. Remember, this document isn’t the be all and end all, it is but one piece of information the Department was using to identify areas of risk that needed to be managed. Also remember that the role of this report is to identify as many risks as possible.

When Minter Ellison talks about risk, they mean a professional definition of risk, not a literal definition of risk that you might find in a dictionary. That is something that’s important to keep in your though orbit as you go through the document.

The first thing to notice is that nowhere in this document does Minter Ellison warn of the dangers of workplace deaths or worker safety. The reason is obvious – existing generic workplace regulations were adequate enough to prevent deaths as long as employers abided by existing law. In the Risk Register, Minter Ellison did not identify any additional systemic risk of workplace deaths and safety becoming an issue.

Next up, you’ll notice that there are 19 specific and separate issues where risk factors are identified, the inherent nature of that risk is described, the risk mitigation strategies in the program as of April 2009 are rated on their strength and a rating is given on whether the risk is tolerable or not for each specific area.

As of April 2009, there were only 3 areas where the risk was not considered to be tolerable – as in, further strategies had to be developed in order to expect a successful outcome for that particular area of the program. These specific areas were:

Area 2. Procurement/Licensing. This specific area was about how licenses were going to be provided and as of April it had yet to be fully determined by the department . Similarly, business model planning was at the time being undertaken by KPMG over procurement issues.

Minter Ellison recommended for this specific area that delaying the program to September or starting a partial rollout with Sydney/Melbourne metro areas first was an option. The consequences of getting this wrong was that there would be delays when it came to getting insulation into ceilings – to the point where it may not occur at all. This option of delaying the program was based on what had occurred up to April 2009. Between April and July, the Department obviously developed procurement/licensing policy appropriately, since – and the pudding is in the eating – insulation was rolled out into ceilings with no major delays.

Area 3. Time. This was specifically about the internal mechanisms of the administration of the policy and how the time lines being so tight, there was a concern that the management and the actual policy administrators would be too green to deliver the policy out the door.

Between April and July of 2009, we know the Department mitigated these risks successfully as, again, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The program pushed insulation out the door on the deadline date of July.

Area 7.Political. This was specifically about the government’s public relations and risks to their political standing and had absolutely nothing to do with the actual program of getting insulation into ceilings. It was all about government communications management with the press and other people that might want to have a whinge about something.

Every other area, including installation quality and compliance, fraud, legal, regulation, industry capacity, outcomes (actual), delivery, take-up, training mechanisms and product quality were all given a tolerable risk rating by Minter Ellison.

They were all given a risk approval by Minter Ellison.

Let me say that again, every one of those areas just mentioned were all given a risk tick.

What you have been reading from the press is ill-informed, pig-ignorant bullshit. Let’s go to a few examples.

Dennis Shanahan

Garrett led a department charged by cabinet with implementing a scheme for which it was not equipped, and which was warned there would be fraud, fires, waste and accidents if it did not delay the start of the scheme by at least three months.

No – that is a totally and utterly incorrect. Minter Ellison did not say that fraud, fire and waste would occur if the program was not delayed, they stated clearly (although obviously not clear enough for some!) that delaying the program was an option to guarantee procurement/licensing issues were fully developed and for internal administration to be effectively put in place. However, those issues were fully developed between April and July, such that we saw the program rollout on time.

Minter Ellison said the risk of fraud, fire and waste was acceptable, and didn’t mention “accidents” in the risk register at all! 5 arse-hats, go stand in the corner Dennis .

Courier Mail Editorial

This document, which is more than 10 months old, was drawn up by a major Australian law firm, Minter Ellison, and was comprehensive enough to foretell just about every disaster that has befallen Mr Garrett’s housing insulation program

That was its job – to predict every foreseeable risk. It also stated the risks were acceptable in 16 of 19 areas, and in those 3 that were not acceptable at the time, the department successfully met its deadline for rollout, demonstrating that the risk was mitigated.

Andrew Bolt

Garrett’s own department commissioned a report from Minter Ellison Consulting last year on whether its free-insulation scheme would work, and in April last year the report was sent to both Garrett and Rudd’s office, warning the scheme was in fact dangerous and could waste hundreds of millions of dollars.

Minter Ellison never anywhere in the report stated that the scheme was dangerous. We’d get you to wear the dunce cap but there’s only so many a single person can have on their head at a given time.

ABC Online:

Mr Garrett is under pressure to reveal when he was first briefed about the Minter Ellison safety risk assessment, which warned of shonky installation and house fires

The report did not warn of shonky installation and house fires, both of those areas got the risk assessment tick.

The Oz

The advice from top-tier law firm Minter Ellison outlined strategies to tackle serious risks in the program. It warned that the government’s timeline was too tight for the program to be delivered in a “properly controlled way” and said the Environment Department was ill-equipped to roll out such a massive program.

What it actually said – specifically on the issue of time, was:  “time available to develop and deliver the program in a properly controlled way may be inadequate

Compare that to the dross above: “It warned that the government’s timeline was too tight for the program to be delivered in a “properly controlled way

Anyway, that’s enough of these fools – let’s now move on to looking at some actual numbers suggesting that far from the insulation program being the cause of a dramatic increase in hell, fire and brimstone breaking out in the nations ceilings, it actually reduced the rate of installation caused fires. Yes, you read that right. Follow me to the next post.

57

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  • 1
    dogma
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Poss, Nobody says it better than you’ve just have. Now the Greens are swallowing this bullshit with yesterday’s censure motion.

    We can safely say that the Australian media have all jumped the shark.

  • 2
    wilful
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Mate, get a real job. As a credible Australian media commentator. Give up on that academic statistics stuff, we need you out there eviscerating the bullshit fulltime.

  • 3
    Paul Ferraro
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    If what you say is true Poss, then it will be a crying shame if MediaWatch don’t pick up on this.

  • 4
    Nipper Quigley
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Possum, you really are Australia’s answer to Dubner and Levitt (Freakonomics) in exposing our own (or Rupert’s own) fakes and fraudsters that get far too much exposure.
    Keep up the good work.

  • 5
    Supersmirk
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    I have been saying for nearly 20 years that journalists in this country are lazy. They rarely fact check any more, everything is “opinion”, and most often just regurgitate what others have already said. Now Rupert wants people to pay for this tripe? Poss, love it when you get in this sort of mood call it the way it is.

  • 6
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Supersmirk – should have seen the first draft! I sent it to my lawyers and they went “Not in a million years!”. This is the extraordinarily 100% legally safe version – which is a pity, the draft version contained some cracker gags!

  • 7
    Flaneur
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    …should have seen the first draft!

    And when do we get the “Black Label” subscription site? ;-)

  • 8
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    When I move to the Cayman Islands :-P

  • 9
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I sent it to my lawyers

    What you can get sued for calling the media fools? Bugger.. better go make some edits to my blog! ;-)

  • 10
    Tri$tan
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    “The first thing to notice is that nowhere in this document does Minter Ellison warn of the dangers of workplace deaths or worker safety. The reason is obvious – existing generic workplace regulations were adequate enough to prevent deaths as long as employers abided by existing law.”

    You’ve kind of misinterpreted how health and safety law works here… essentially it’s not a ‘rule’ based system like it used to be, but ‘risk’ or ‘process’ based legislation, with a rules added on top. What’s not clear is the legal role the government must play here as they are not an employer, and there is probably a different role the legally have in each state.

    However, that aside, if you feel the government has a responsability the idea is that they had a solid process for establshing health and safety following a risk managment model.

    Did they propely try to identify risks?
    Did they appropriately come up with controls?
    Did they comminucate the controls needed to installers?
    Did they have ways of ensuring that the controls were put in place by installers?

    You are bang on the money that this minter ellison report is way to high level to answer the above questions… and the risk ranking methods using a matrix are also dodgy… but anyway, the it did identify a issue under question 4. Importantly the control suggested to follow the above process are:

    Developing links with ACCC and other regulatory bodies• Information available through call centre and is being reviewed as the business model is being developed• Strategic communications strategy in place• Communications channels with industry have been identified and are being developed• Regular communications with States and Territory regulatory bodies in palce• Early installation guidelines include specific quality and safety requirements – installers must be verified – hooked into Australian Standards• Breach reporting system in place. Site inspections – planned to begin early 09/10• Assessing training requirements and discussing with DEEWR• Internal compliance and monitoring system under development• Technical Working Groups with industry covering safety and quality of product

    The question is not if the risk was determined to be ‘extreme’ without controls, on some fairy scale done by some lawyers. The question is if the above controls – quite reasonable in general – were implimented effetively.

    This question is yet to be answered.

  • 11
    vp
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    However, that aside, if you feel the government has a responsability the idea is that they had a solid process for establshing health and safety following a risk managment model.

    Did they propely try to identify risks?
    Did they appropriately come up with controls?
    Did they comminucate the controls needed to installers?
    Did they have ways of ensuring that the controls were put in place by installers?

    I recommmend a visit to Ms Kruk’s testimony to the Senate.

  • 12
    Harry "Snapper" Organs
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Well done, Possum. Very much appreciated, as opposed to the rubbish being promulgated by the MSM.

  • 13
    streetcred
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Very illuminating. I have to say, listening to the moralising ravings of the mad monk on this issue almost almost makes you wish there is a hell, cause he’d be for the fryer for sure.

  • 14
    Tony of South Yarra
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Possum said: “Minter Ellison recommended for this specific area that delaying the program to September or starting a partial rollout with Sydney/Melbourne metro areas first was an option.”

    Incorrect. The report recommends, specifically, “Extend rebate scheme to 30 September 2009; possible hybrid model allowing full implementation as planned on 1 July 2009 in Metro Sydney/Melbourne”.

    That is, the “hybrid” “Metro Sydney/Melbourne” model was the alternative to extending the scheme to 30 September 2009. The government, however, did neither.

    The “Inherent risk quantification”, they advise, of doing neither would be “Delays or total non-delivery; substantial increased costs; increase in other risks incl fraud & political fallout; litigation risk $20-60m. Substantial political fallout”.

    At least two of those were accurate predictions, while litigation risk remains to be seen.

  • 15
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The Senate committee transcript is now up:
    http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S12843.pdf

  • 16
    JBG
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Ahhhh Poss, this article is the reason why you’re toiling in obscurity and not a member of the MSM.
    True, the Minter Ellison report has certainly been a crucial aspect of the media and the Opposition’s attack, but so too has the 12 other written reports from unions, industry and state consumer watchdogs that were put on Garrett’s desk over a period of 12 months. You can’t just cherrypick the ME report because it doesn’t warn – as did the ETU report – that the program “will result in death(s)”.
    And what have we seen? Four deaths, 93 house fires, a thousand electrified roofs and 240,000 faulty insulation installations. The media has reported these warnings far and wide, yet not a single line in your article.
    How surprising.

  • 17
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    JBG,

    I singled out the Minters report because such a hoo har was created over it.

    So let us go to these other reports. All of the reports handed to the department, both internally generated and third party, went into the information pool that advice was drawn from.

    Now what of these reports?

    What specifically about these reports?

    As for the outcomes. Of the 4 deaths, 1 was from heat exhaustion – clearly an employer/employee issue.

    Another was an electrocution resulting from the deceased using materials that were not approved!

    Of the other two – what evidence, argument or otherwise do you have that these workplace deaths were as a result of programatic risk as opposed to breaches of existing state based OH&S regulations?

    Because, so far, not a single piece of evidence has been produced over these deaths to suggest anything other than OH&S breaches. The likes of you just trawl these tragic events around as facile political death porn.

    On the fires:
    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/02/24/did-the-insulation-program-actually-reduce-fire-risk/

    That’s what the data says.

    The 240K faulty installations has not yet been verified – that number is a Coalition number plucked out from some weird extrapolation, so forgive me if I take it with a grain of salt until a full audit has been completed.

    All I’ve seen so far is a gross negligence in reporting the reality of what has occurred under this scheme because too many journos, like you, were either lazy or more interested in the politics of it than what actually happened.

  • 18
    dendy
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    This is a really interesting analysis. And I wasn’t aware that at least two of the deaths were because of OHS issues.

    I think the message I get from this is that these days, facts are not important to the MSM. They regard themselves as players. The Australian, of course, has debased itself over the past few years to become nothing more than the Liberal Party’s propaganda wing, so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised at what their ‘journalists’ type. But a more interesting question is why haven’t Fairfax or the ABC done some serious investigation into it?

    Is it that there’s no funding for even modest investigative journalism? Is it that the ABC and Fairfax are so scared of being accused of Left bias that they’ve gone in completely the opposite direction and now have a Right bias? Is it that politics has become a spectator sport where facts are seen as an inconvenient hold up of play?

    I am perplexed as to why this basic sort of analysis hasn’t been done by the department and used by Garret to defend himself. Is it too complicated a message? Did they leave it too late and so, ‘lost control of the narrative’?

    Also, why is this Garret’s problem? Don’t we have industry standards for safe installation of this stuff? If it’s not done properly isn’t that a state or local government responsibility? Aren’t there building inspectors who are supposed to certify the stuff is installed correctly? Are their licensing and operational procedures defined by Garret’s department? If not, then how can he be blamed for allegedly poor outcomes?

    All very peculiar.

  • 19
    Maxi
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Congrats Possum on a well done deconstruction of the mainstream media and their manipulation of the public mind in context of the ‘minter report’. nice work

  • 20
    Tri$tan
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    By defininition all the deaths are because of OHS issues!

  • 21
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Quite!

  • 22
    Plane
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Good blog, thanks

  • 23
    dendy
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Tristan said “By defininition all the deaths are because of OHS issues!”

    Hmmm… A bit of hair-splitting here. Perhaps I should have said because of “allegedly ignoring OHS requirements”.

    But your point is right. Any death at work is an OHS issue – either with the enforcement or development of regulations. Are either of these Garret’s responsibility?

    I am merely seeking information.

  • 24
    BH
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    the draft version contained some cracker gags

    Come on, Poss – eliminate the names and use the gags please. By the way you’ve just bamboozled the MSM with the use of ‘programatic risk’. That word is too big for we mortals to understand, isn’t it!

    Really appreciate your dissection of this matter.

  • 25
    Rocket Rocket
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    “The Australian” made Rudd their “Australian of the Year” for 2009 for his actions on the GFC.

    I’d like to see them go one better and give the 2010 award (to be presented on a dais by Rupert himself!) to you Poss, for services to the media!

  • 26
    Pete WN
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Fantastic post!

    I liked Crikey’s old tag of “Telling you what they wont” – this article is a great example.

    It’s quite amazing to see the BS our journalists are allowed to print, particularly on an issue of fact checking and thoroughness. Oh the irony.

  • 27
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    The coroner reports will be the thing that show the cause of death, and any warrantable action from said cause.

    The fibwells are really despicable and should hang their heads in shame

    :(

  • 28
    p-ho
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    poss … a bit of research and fact checking sure does go a long way …

    ..best article i have read in ages …

  • 29
    Virginia Nightingale
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    What a relief…a believable article on this at last! But surely Crikey is not without some complicity in this! I seem to remember Crikey offering almost a primer for the Abbott forces on how to get Garrett!

  • 30
    Stevo the Working Twistie
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    No! I won’t accept it! That nasty Garrett fellow killed them, like that nice Mr Bolt says. You and your stinking lefty facts.

  • 31
    Greg Angelo
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Now that everybody is sinking the boots into Peter Garrett over the “ Insulgate” affair one should remember that ministerial ignorance as a defence was refined into a high art form by John Howard and “Lord Downer” during the various prevarications in relation to AWB bribes and the “children overboard” disasters to nominate but two examples.

    Now that the problem has appeared in the current government, it would appear that there is a chronic and systemic blockage in the flow of critical information which would require Ministers to accept consequential responsibility under the Westminster system. Accordingly it is understandable why successive Ministers do not resign in the face of these systemic failures.

    As a consequence of this continuing malaise, it would be appropriate for the government to make immediate and strenuous efforts to punish the miscreants in the public service whose continuing failure to pass on critical information make life so difficult for their Ministers.

  • 32
    Kevin Herbert
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Possum: you’ve been on the gum juice ..again….and it’s affecting your judgement..badly in this case.

    You claim; ”Let us be clear (read ” completely mistaken” ) – the insulation scheme was only shut down after the Minter Ellison document became a pivotal issue, suggesting that Garrett not only failed to read a document back in April 2009 that seemingly highlighted every problem – both real and imagined (but more on that later) – that has come to pass in the scheme”

    The key reason the HIP was closed down, was because the the DEWHA audit results showed there were an estimated 140K non spec installations in the first 1.1 million installations….end of story. The Minter Ellison data was a sideshow.

    Get over it Poss.

  • 33
    The Pav
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Poss

    Thanks for the excellent article.

    Whilst I agree with your assessment of the journalists it begs the question of the goverments competence in mounting a sound defence.

    You have said what they should have from the start & killed the matter as an issue whilst happily slapping the opposition around the head for trying to make political capital out of personal tradgedies

  • 34
    ruawake
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    The key reason the HIP was closed down, was because the the DEWHA audit results showed there were an estimated 140K non spec installations in the first 1.1 million installations….end of story. The Minter Ellison data was a sideshow.

    The latest audit figure quoted in Parliament today is a staggering 2%.

  • 35
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Mmm, crikey editor runs this after the horse bolted. As does the author. Gallery writers don’t have that luxury. They play live ball. That statistic is very revealing subject to the fact the pump priming guarrantees larger number of victims in raw numbers. That probably does require a higher governance responsibility at an overall lower risk rate.

  • 36
    Kevin Herbert
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    ruawake: you should reference your data accurately….you don’t always beliee what you hear in Parlt, do you?.

    Dead Marsupial: and…….??????

  • 37
    Elan
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Oh thank God for that!

    I had begun to think this was a total PossCom love-in!!

  • 38
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    Insightful elan insightful

    but sadly no-one cares about the fibs anymore or what they say or do

    Meet your new reality

  • 39
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    I do not think they were lazy at all, They got as much information as they wanted to run the stories they wanted. What you saw is exactly what they wanted.

    That this is the only issue they found suitable to go for a bootstrapping campaign against Garrett just shows how tight a ship Rudd has been running and how pathetic they truly are.

    I don’t expect any of the right wing media or ABC to be bothered with genuine data or context. They know what they are supposed to do and only need a Labor target and a topic to pursue it endlessly no matter how remote or rediculous.

    This passes for the press in this country don’t you know. I hear they have similar problems in the USA. Fortunately there they have some diversity of media.

  • 40
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    I think another embarrassing fact for these media goats, and they extend in commentary to other papers as well unfortunately, is that Garrett truly is smarter than them all.

    But there is another telling truth. Garrett is also smarter than anybody in the Opposition.

    Maybe the media should take a step back and think on that and maybe take the Opposition to task for their lows standards and now systemic incompetence.

  • 41
    earnest scribbler
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Interesting article, but don’t fall into the trap of using this argument to counter the whole affair, otherwise you sink to the level of the MSM.

  • 42
    Juggler
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Kevin Herbert: Irrespective of the exact reason the programme was shut down, Possum’s main point about incompetent/ignorant reporting of the Minter Ellison document in the MSM still stands. But to suggest that media and political pressure wasn’t a major factor in closing down the scheme seems rather facile to me, and the timing extraordinarily coincidental if it wasn’t!

    I would be interested in seeing the DEHWA audit results firsthand, though — do you have a reference or link you can cite?

  • 43
    gtpfb13
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Now all we need is for someone from Minter Ellison to stand up and announce that the media has completely misrepresented their report.

    Then let the back peddling begin.

  • 44
    James McDonald
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Tom McLoughlin:

    "Mmm, crikey editor runs this after the horse bolted. As does the author. Gallery writers don’t have that luxury. They play live ball."

    That defence was valid back when the daily newspapers were mostly news reportage with a bit of opinion. Now it’s the other way round.

  • 45
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Mike Mirdak, the Secretary of the Dept of Infrastructure, Transport etc completely and utterly smashed the incompetent media interpretation of the Minters Risk Register completely out of the park in the Senate Committee about 10 minutes ago.

    You can watch it streamed here:
    http://webcast.aph.gov.au/livebroadcasting/eventdetailsSenate.aspx?eventid=1511367

    It’s back on in about 10 mins (they’re having a small break)

  • 46
    Tri$tan
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I’d love to see that Possum, but the link doesn’t work…

    Also above it was recommended that I visit Ms Kruk’s testimony to the Senate.

    Where do I get that?

  • 47
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Tri$tan, you can get the transcript here:
    http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/eca_ctte/eehp/hearings/index.htm

  • 48
    vp
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Interesting. On The World Today they played a brief excerpt from the Senate. Made it sound like Mary Jo had a resounding victory.

    BTW, the transcript isn’t up yet; just the order of the day.

  • 49
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Kruk and Mrdak pretty much destroyed all of the lines that have currently been run about the Minters report.

  • 50
    revolution909
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Some thoughts.
    Whilst I agree that certain media interpretations of the ME report and the associated press surrounding issues of work practices and safety contributed to the program’s demise, I would suggest that the program would have been ceased in any case.
    As has just been intimated in the Senate hearing, it was the model of the program that led to its demise, primarily due to a lack of foresight by the relevant Govt departments – essentially DEWHA and the minister were re-active to problems as they arose, and not particularly in timely fashions.
    The final model as it came in to being on July 1 is quite simple to understand – a system of rebates was converted into a system whereby installers could directly claim from the Govt (through a system administered by Medicare.)
    From July 1 until September 1 anyone with an ABN could register on-line to become an installer and claim the rebate (claimed on-line) – not much oversight from the get go, one would argue. As of Sept 1 the program required that 1 installer, acting as a ‘supervisor’ possessed certain qualifications – either a builder’s or similar licence, had completed a 1 or 2 day insulation course, or had prior industry experience, as well as an OH&S accreditation – any other installers merely had to have an OH&S card. It was not until one week prior to the end of the program that DEWHA required all installers to possess some sort of qualification….

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