The relatives of four men who died installing insulation deserve answers, not apologies, from former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd when he fronts an inquiry, a lawyer says.
Mr Rudd will take the witness stand at the royal commission into Labor’s home insulation program on Wednesday, May 14.
The bungled stimulus scheme has been blamed for the deaths of Queenslanders Rueben Barnes, Matthew Fuller and Mitchell Sweeney, and Marcus Wilson from NSW.
Lawyer Bill Potts is representing Rueben’s father Murray who simply wants the former government to take responsibility for its actions.
“Rueben’s father wants to know where the buck stops,” Mr Potts told AAP.
“Does it stop at the PM’s desk?”
Mr Rudd apologised for the three Queensland fatalities in July last year after a coroner found the scheme’s rushed rollout was a significant factor in their deaths.
Mr Potts said apologies were easy to make and the families deserved concrete answers from the $20 million royal commission.
“It’s not just crocodile tears we’re after.”
Former environment minister Peter Garrett, put in charge of the scheme, will give evidence the day before Mr Rudd, according to a witness list released on Thursday.
Former Labor senator Mark Arbib, who was charged with coordinating government stimulus programs, will appear on May 12.
The relatives of the men who died will be permitted to address the inquiry the day after Mr Rudd’s appearance.
Mr Rudd will be represented by leading defence barrister Bret Walker, SC, and is expected to be pressed about the scheme’s rushed rollout, including revelations two public servants were given two days to cost it.
He may also be questioned over the program’s lack of installer training and what safety warnings he received before its July 1 2009 rollout.
The royal commission before Ian Hanger, QC, resumes in Brisbane on May 1.
It’s expected to wind up on May 16, after former Labor frontbencher Greg Combet gives his evidence.
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