24 Apr 2010

Criticism of Rudd for failing to face the music

10:17 am on 24 April 2010

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia is being hit by criticism that he is unwilling to be the face of bad news announcements by the government.

Earlier this year, Mr Rudd promised to take responsibility for the good and bad news.

But he was absent recently at big embarrassing policy backdowns. The ABC reports junior ministers were sent to face the music intead.

The prime minister was happy to be photographed in insulation factories and childcare centres for promises on home insulation and a pledge to build 260 childcare centres.

But in the decisions to ditch those programmes on Thursday, two junior ministers - Greg Combet and Kate Ellis - handled the task solo while Mr Rudd toured Tasmania.

The prime minister was also absent from recent announcements on immigration and a decision to set up a taskforce to investigate reports of school hall rip-offs.

Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt has challenged Mr Rudd to make a return visit to the insulation factories he visited last year.

Those pictures outside Parliament House are the metaphor for somebody who is a fundamental fraud.

"He has still not yet apologised for the house fires or the tragedies or the impact on small businesses," said Mr Hunt.