Peter Garrett has today undermined his own Government’s arguments in support of keeping a fourth letter on their disastrous Home Insulation Program secret.
Having decided to declassify and this week release three letters from Mr Garrett to the Prime Minister, as well as three replies, Cabinet Secretary Joe Ludwig outlined his Government’s rationale:
“While these letters would have originally disclosed Cabinet deliberations, as their content is now largely in the public domain, no public interest immunity is claimed in respect of them.”
Senator Ludwig, letter to the President of the Senate, 26 May 2010
Unfortunately for the Government’s case for continuing secrecy, Mr Garrett today supported the fourth letter’s release as per Senator Ludwig’s formula:
“… the Prime Minister has related some of the matters specific to that letter already in the public domain and into the Parliament…”
Peter Garrett, media conference, 28 May 2010
This $2.5 billion scheme left an estimated 240,000 homes with dangerous or sub-standard insulation and has been linked with at least 145 house fires and four deaths.
Given the seriousness of this matter, and the Government’s decision to declassify selected letters, the Rudd Government should similarly declassify and release all correspondence between its Ministers in relation to this program.
This includes a letter from Mr Garrett to Mr Rudd dated 14 August.
By continuing to refuse to release this fourth letter, what is the Government trying to hide?