So the deaths of some young Australian workers as a result of poor training by the businesses that employed them have outraged Australians in general, and the Coalition and their supporters in the media in particular.
Sure, after the federal ALP Government got involved in the sector the rate of fires actually went down. But not to zero.
This is why “pink batts” is a byword for government incompetence. Because it represents government failure to properly regulate small business, and governments putting employers’ interests ahead of workers’.
What kind of government would allow the private sector to implement a government program without strong regulation and red tape? How could a government “put the economy ahead of human safety“?
You know those aren’t the kind of things we’ll see from Tony Abbott.
This is why we can be confident that Tony Abbott will set out, very shortly, any day now, probably this week while people are interested in the “pink batts” deaths as an example of why these policies are needed, his plan to increase regulation of small businesses, particularly those in the insulation installation industry. And why he will push for an expanded role for WorkSafe and equivalent organisations and tougher penalties for employers who put workers’ lives at risk.
Because this isn’t a cheap smear by a leader whose party’s record on worker safety and adequate regulation of small business is far worse than Labor’s.
This is a matter of saving lives. And if the coroner says it will take regulation and sacrificing some economic growth to save lives, then Tony Abbott will put the interests of workers ahead of his party’s ideological obsessions and do just that.
Even hardline pro-economy and pro-business Prime Minister Kevin Rudd would find it difficult to disagree.
UPDATE: Informative chart of workplace deaths dramatically falling under the ALP:
Of course, I’m sure Tony Abbott and the Liberals supported all the steps Labor took to achieve that result.