Bleijie says Rudd must answer for young insulation deaths
LATEST: Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie says Prime Minister Kevin Rudd can no longer avoid questions about his failed foil insulation scheme, following findings by the Coroner.
Coroner Michael Barnes found the Federal Labor Government's rush to conceive and implement the program contributed to a lack of proper safeguards, which in turn contributed to the deaths of three Queensland men.
"My heart goes out to the loved ones of Matthew Fuller, Rueben Barnes and Mitchell Sweeney," Mr Bleijie said.
"These three young men lost their lives because of a chaotic, rushed and underdone Federal Government policy.
"Kevin Rudd took ownership of the scheme under his first Prime Ministership and the responsibility should lie with him.
"These tragedies were preventable. In April 2009, Queensland's Building Services Authority warned the
Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet about the risks but it never responded.
"It took Matthew's death to make it realise there was a problem.
"The former Queensland Labor Government also sat on its hands on this issue.
"Within months of being elected, the Newman Government directed the Coroner to hold this inquest into Matthew, Rueben and Mitchell's deaths.
"I thank the Coroner for his findings and I will consider his recommendations."
Dad welcomes findings but says no-one can bring his son back
UPDATE: The father of Rueben Barnes believes justice has been done "to an extent" but knows no justice will bring back his son.
Murray Barnes was not at the Brisbane Coroner's Court on Thursday when State Coroner Michael Barnes handed down his findings into the three Home Insulation program-related deaths.
But through his lawyer, Mark Williams, he said he was very happy with the inquest result.
Mr Williams said his client felt justice had been done - to an extent.
"But no amount of justice can bring back his son, children should be burying their parents as opposed to the other way around," Mr Williams said outside court.
"He wanted mechanisms to be put in place to ensure that no further deaths occur and there has now been those recommendations made and some of those we look forward to seeing a implementation of as urgently as possible."
Mr Williams said Rueben's father was happy with the Coroner's referrals to the DPP.
Insulation bosses could face prosecution over Rueben Barnes' death
TWO directors of the company that employed home insulation victim Rueben Kelly Barnes could face prosecution after the State Coroner referred their actions to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The move is part of State Coroner Michael Barnes's findings following the inquest into three deaths related to the Federal Government's botched Home Insulation Program.
Rueben Barnes died on November 18, 2009, when he used a metal pole to push insulation into place in a Stanwell home, near Rockhampton, and touched an electrified screw that had pierced an electrical cable.
He was working for Arrow Property Maintenance when he was electrocuted.
The inquest into Ruben's death also investigated the deaths of Mitchell Scott Sweeney and Matthew James Fuller, who also died during the roll-out of the Rudd Government's home insulation program.
Mitchell, 22, was electrocuted installing insulation in North Queensland in February 2010.
Matthew, 25, died in Logan in October 2009.
In handing down his findings in Brisbane this morning, Mr Barnes said Rueben's induction and training was clearly insufficient.
He said Rueben's death could have been avoided if the power was isolated in the home he was installing insulation in.
But he said that was not mandated or common practice in the building industry.
The Coroner's Court also heard there was suspicion Rueben's employer, Arrow director Chris Jackson, committed perjury when he gave evidence.
Mr Barnes also said Rueben Barnes's siblings argued Mr Jackson and co-director, Richard Jackson, should also be prosecuted for not complying with the Electrical Safety Act.
Mr Barnes found a prima facie case existed and referred the directors to the Queensland Justice Department chief executive to decide on prosecution.
In 2010 following Rueben's death, Arrow Property Maintenance as a company was fined $110,00 for breaching the Electrical Safety Act
Mr Barnes concentrated his recommendations on the State Government, which he found failed to adequately respond to the increased risk of harm that came with the Home Insulation Program roll-out.
The Coroner recommended the Fair Trading Office undertake a review of the failure and embark on a public awareness campaign regarding the risk of electrocution in roof spaces.
Mr Barnes also found the industry representatives that did play a part in the home insulation program planning process seemed to have been distracted by getting a slice of the pie.
He also commented on the speed in which the program was rolled out with the interest in stimulating the economy.
The risk of physical danger, damage to property and fraud should have been obvious, Mr Barnes said.