There's danger aplenty for Peter Garrett in a story in the Melbourne Age this morning about an apparent reluctance to release a a safety risk assessment on the government's insulation rebate program, prepared by lawyers from Minter Ellison early last year. The Environment Minister promised to make the document available when being interrogated by Kerry O'Brien on the 7.30 report on Thursday night. Yesterday, his office confirmed that it would be released, reports the Age, but did not say when.
To me the delay smacks of desperation as the spinners try and figure out a way of pretending that what is contained in the assessment does not really add to the case that Garrett should be dismissed.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has so far been steadfast in supporting his Minister yet this is emerging as the biggest political problem he has yet had to confront. The deaths of young men in ceilings and an outbreak of house fires are things that can be understood by all of the voters whether they have an interest in politics or not. And in so far as we yet have an indication of what the mob think about it all the news for Messrs Garrett and Rudd is not at all good.
They are by no means a definitive guide to public opinion but these little opinion polls from newspaper websites should not be dismissed as completely irrelevant either.