Rudd sends juniors to face the music

Rudd sends juniors to face the music

Sabra Lane in Canberra, ABC April 23, 2010, 10:27 am




Prime Minister Kevin Rudd promised to take responsibility for both the good and bad news under his Government.

But recently he has sent junior ministers out to take the heat for embarrassing policy backflips.

Two months ago Mr Rudd assured the public that the buck stopped with him.

“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,” he said.

Days after that statement, Mr Rudd revealed he had demoted Peter Garrett over the home insulation debacle.

But since then Mr Rudd has been absent when it comes to announcing big, embarrassing policy backdowns, instead sending out junior ministers to face the music.

The Prime Minister was happy to be photographed in insulation factories and childcare centres for promises on home insulation and the pledge to build 260 childcare centres.

But in the decisions to ditch those programs yesterday, two junior ministers – Greg Combet and Kate Ellis – handled the task solo while Mr Rudd toured Tasmania.

The Prime Minister was also absent from recent controversial decisions on immigration and the decision to set up a taskforce to investigate claims of school hall rip-offs.

Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt has challenged Mr Rudd to make a return visit to the insulation factories he visited last year.

“Those pictures outside of Parliament House are the metaphor for somebody who is a fundamental fraud,” he said.

“He has still not yet apologised for the house fires or the tragedies or the impact on small businesses.”

On Channel 7 this morning, Mr Rudd was asked why he did not join Mr Combet in killing off the insulation program.

“He is actually the minister responsible,” Mr Rudd replied.

“It was important that the minister who I appointed responsible for dealing with these problems, Greg Combet, explained its contents and the actions which the Government has taken in response to them.”

The increased pace of ditching promises and policies has led some observers to conclude that the Government is gearing up for an early poll in August.


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