The families of four young men who died rolling out Labor’s home insulation scheme are still suffering and say the then government acted “disgracefully”.
The father of a young man killed in Labor’s home insulation debacle says former prime minister Kevin Rudd acted “disgracefully” when he went to Canberra seeking answers over his son’s death.
Kevin Fuller has also questioned whether Mr Rudd is truly sorry for the scheme that also killed three others.
Mr Fuller has told a royal commission he holds Mr Rudd as one of the main people responsible for the death of his only son Matthew, 25, and was appalled by his attitude and demeanour when they met.
He said he and wife Christine were in a meeting with then climate change minister Greg Combet when Mr Rudd burst in and “disgraced himself” by saying “all the wrong things”.
“I think he wanted to be seen to have seen us,” he told reporters outside the hearing.
Mr Fuller then met with then opposition leader Tony Abbott who he applauded for delivering on his promise to have a royal commission.
Mr Fuller said for the first nine months after Matthew’s death Mr Rudd “didn’t want a bar of us, and nor did most of the other politicians”.
When asked whether he was happy Mr Rudd had accepted ultimate responsibility for the debacle he said: “I think over time he truly starts to believe he was sorry.”
In his address to the inquiry, Mr Fuller described a long list of let-downs in the regulatory system and at the hands of public officials he had encountered in his battle for justice.
“As just a father or just an Australian I expected the system would get off its arse, go and sort, go and find out, go and change things and make stuff happen,” he said.
“Nobody did, nobody.”
The Fullers were disappointed by a senate inquiry that went nowhere and had to fight for a coronial inquest into Matthew’s death.
He also said it was hardly justice that Matthew’s employer only got a two year good behaviour bond and a fine for a few thousand dollars despite being “dodgy”. Matthew, the first to die under the program, was electrocuted installing insulation at a Brisbane house on October 14, 2009.
Little more than a month later Rueben Barnes, 16, was killed laying batts in central Queensland.
Mr Barnes’s sister, Sunny, fought back tears while describing how she and her siblings struggled with depression and found it difficult to maintain their jobs, while her relationship with her father was destroyed.
Mr Combet apologised, on behalf of the then-government, for the men’s deaths after giving evidence at the commission on Friday.
But he said employers of the installers had to also accept some responsibility.
The $20 million royal commission is expected to wind up on Monday after eight weeks of evidence.
Commissioner Ian Hanger, QC, is expected to deliver his findings by June 30.