Former Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, is suing the ABC over allegations that he was warned of safety risks relating to his home insulation program. The notorious program that was responsible for the deaths of four installers in 2010 was part of a national rollout for subsided home installation that was part of a financial stimulus package.
On Wednesday the ABC reported that Rudd and the senior Labor Members of Parliament Julia Gillard, Lindsay Tanner and Wayne Swan were cautioned in a cabinet report of safety risks and potential critical failure of the stimulus package in 2009.
The report in question is also a part of several other stories that were leaked from confidential files that were found in a second hand filing cabinet. A filing cabinet filled with thousands of classified and top-secret cabinet documents was sold at a second-hand ex-government furniture store in Canberra.
ABC has made an arrangement with the government to return the filing cabinet that had documents that were meant to be classified for another 10 years. The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) had brought a safe to the Australian network at 1am on Thursday. The safe was to keep the documents secured due to the highly classified information that they contain.
The documents also featured 4 other federal cabinet meetings. The network chose not to publish the other stories due to the secret nature of the documents.
However that didn’t stop them from publishing a report about the warned safety risks that led to four deaths. Rudd had been quoted in ABC’s story saying that he was aware of the safety risks to the installers but rejected them and failed to act on the warnings.
Rudd later responded that all claims that the ABC stated regarding him being warned of safety risks were a lie. Rudd continued to say that the documents were reviewed by the royal commission in regards to the Abbott government in 2014’s plans for home insulation.
The documents weren’t new as all of Rudd’s documents were reviewed by the royal commission even after the Prime Minister’s department and the Australian government solicitor had advice against it. After the reviews it was concluded that Rudd was unaware of any potential safety flaws with the insulation and there were no findings against the former Prime Minister.
Rudd continued to protect his public image also saying that any risks that he was made apparent of that were contained in the leaked documents were of administrative and financial risk to the commonwealth.
Since the ABC was aware of these facts before their report was published, Rudd is taking legal action against the network.