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I guess the Minister is only responsible if the Minister isn’t Tony Abbott

Four young men died ‘under’ the Labor Government’s Home Insulation Program. Events, so tragic and avoidable that our current Prime Minister ordered a Royal Commission into the program within months of taking office. The Prime Minister, in self-justification that the Royal Commission was the most urgent matter facing the nation boasted that it revealed a ‘litany of failures‘ from the Rudd Government.

Who could ever forget the political mileage he tried to get out of his ‘pink batts’ terror campaign. Labor caused four deaths! Under his smug self-satisfaction at having scored a point score against Labor, there was no indication of empathy for the victims or concern over general workplace safety issues.

And who could ever forget that it cost a Minister in the Rudd Government his job. Ministers are to blame, apparently.

Now let’s go back in time to 2001 and a media release from the ACTU titled ‘Government Fails To Stem Workplace Deaths’, which reads:

A national workplace survey has highlighted the failure of the Federal Government to act against workplace death and injury.

More than half of Australia’s workplaces are failing to carry out basic health and safety precautions, according to an ACTU survey of more than 1200 health and safety representatives.

“More people are being killed or injured in workplace accidents than on our roads, but there has been no national response like the road toll campaign. The Federal Government must take the lead,” said ACTU President Sharan Burrow.

“Despite more than 450 people being killed and 160,000 seriously injured on the job each year, the Howard Government has sat on its hands. Instead, the Government has cut funding to workplace safety and blocked the introduction of new national safety standards. The removal of safeguards from workplace awards has compounded the problem.”

Key findings of the survey include:

  • Less than half (47%) of workplaces carry out regular health and safety inspections;
  • 30% of sick or injured employees are pressured to return to work before it is safe to do so;
  • 20% of health and safety representatives have been bullied or intimidated by management after raising health and safety issues. The most commonly reported health and safety hazards are repetitive work causing muscle strain (63%), noise (60%), heavy lifting (57%), extreme temperatures (55%), inadequate staffing (49%), long hours (40%), dust and fibres (38%), cleaning fluids (37%) and lack of training (36%).

Appalling, wasn’t it?

Now I wonder who the Minister was in 2001.

Well, here’s a surprise, it was Tony Abbott.

  • Minister for Employment Services (1998–2001).
  • Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations (2001–2003).

I guess the Minister is only responsible if the Minister isn’t Tony Abbott.


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  1. Ange Kenos

    FILTHY Abbott

  2. stephentardrew

    Excellent post Michael. And what will Labor say to defend itself and make Abbot accountable. There is something fundamentally broken with the opposition forces when the facts fail to filter through. Research demonstrates that, though conservatives are more driven by emotions, they are single minded when it comes to their interests and utilising any strategy for getting what they want. Progressives tend to be more rational yet spend a lot of time in polemic debates that fail to produce a sound coherent theoretical foundation upon which a unified single minded approach can be founded. I think a group of us want a more logical and coherent approach however searching around I do not see it. Over the years I have watched Bernie Sanders think long and hard about his fundamental principles so he can frame them consistently and coherently bring the public along with him. Where is our underlying theoretical base because Labor is not providing one. If Whitlam stuffed about like this lot he would never have succeeded.

    I really feel that progressive’s frustration come from the lack of a coherent policy framework representing their wishes and desires for social justice. We can bleat on about it however I do not see Labor formulating the basic architecture required to bring the left along. So maybe some independent thinkers need to formulate it themselves. The Greens seem to be moving in the right direction yet I feel they need sound critique and suggestions outside of their closed party framework.

    Just a bunch of musings.

  3. John Lord

    Royal Commission?

  4. mars08

    @stephentardrew… oh good greeeeiiieeefff… you can’t have Labor contradicting and opposing this govt on every little thing! You can’t have Bland Shrunken proposing a different narrative to Abbott and his thugs. That’s exactly what the Coalition wants! They’ll use it against the ALP…. the opposition will look… foolish and opinionated.

    No, it’s much better if Bog Static continues to play by the Coalition’s rules.

  5. diannaart

    Australia really can’t have enough RC’s – good call John.


  6. kerri

    Blind Freddy knows Abbott’s concerns for workers are as much a sham as his Government! If he is so concerned about workers being ripped off by Bill Shorten or Craig Thomson for that matter why does he see the sun in Kathy Jackson’s expensive, union funded behind?

  7. stephentardrew

    I agree about the RC John.

  8. jim

    The Lnp/ murdoch/ fairfax would make it very hard for the Alp or any party to get coverage as all MSM articals must go through the PM office 24 hrs before publication, So the ALP is trying to launch their own “newspaper’ on line. Abbott is gone MAD.

  9. Kyran

    RC’s seem, to me, to be about trying to point blame, without liability or accountability.
    I can’t imagine the grief of the family’s and friends, let alone workmates, of those four young men. That they would be hauled through enquiries, coroners hearings, more enquiries, and then a RC.
    What got improved by all this legalistic/political CRAP?
    Oh, that’s right!
    OH&S, DV, First People (fancy holding a summit, convened by white fella’s, in NAIDOC week), child abuse, asylum seekers, etc, are all very important issues, in my space. If you identify the problem, you can identify the solution.
    As to the last sentence (yep, cherry picking), minister, responsible and rabid. I don’t think I’m Robinson Crusoe here. Mutually exclusive!
    Thank you Mr Taylor. Take care

  10. Matters Not

    Four young men died ‘under’ the Labor Government’s Home Insulation Program

    Dear oh dear. A case of failing to distinguish between what is ‘causal’ and what is ‘co-incidental’. In my view, your opening sentence ‘frames’ the debate in Abbott’s favour.

    After all if the Snowy Mountains Scheme had never been funded then no individual would have died in its construction. Further if the Pacific Highway had never been built then the number of car crashes and resulting deaths would be significantly less. And more importantly (in the current context) if we as a Nation never invaded Iraq then ISIL would never have arisen.

    Please can we have a Royal Commission into that?

    You know, a government sponsored activity that contributed to the deaths of tens of thousands (and the displacement of many more) and the rise of the “Death Cult”.

    I just shake my head.

  11. stephentardrew


    So sorry that idealism thing gets hold of me sometimes and shakes me out of conformity.

    I will try harder in future to control my natural revulsion.

  12. lawrencewinder

    The rancid rabble which rules us and their IPA handlers need to be investigated by a Royal Commission….

  13. Pingback: I guess the Minister is only responsible if the Minister isn’t Tony Abbott – Written by MICHAEL TAYLOR | winstonclose

  14. Harquebus

    How does that saying go? Never have a Royal Commission unless you already know the outcome or something like that.

  15. Gary

    If you have Poopert Turdoch as the LNP mouth piece you won’t get negative stories like that.

  16. jim

    I point out that between five and twenty people get killed unfortunately each year in the mining industry, and I’d say lots more have very serious injuries and or adverse health caused from rabbits beloved coal.

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