Mr 73 per cent: Former prime minister Kevin Rudd in 2009. Photo: Paul Harris
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd's record-high popularity stopped bureaucrats from opposing the home insulation scheme before its much-criticised rollout, an inquiry has heard.
Insulation consultant Kevin Herbert claims Mr Rudd's popularity rating of 73 per cent was used to discourage bureaucrats who raised potential safety issues with the program during a meeting in February, 2009.
Mr Herbert's statement to a royal commission says the potential for fatalities, as seen in New Zealand, was raised.
Prime minister's department staffer Andrew Wilson was also asked if Mr Rudd would consider looking at the issues before the scheme proceeded.
Mr Herbert said Mr Wilson replied: "You can't disagree with a PM who is rating 73 per cent in the polls."
After the meeting, he said he asked Mr Wilson: "Are we really hearing that you're saying the PM wants this to go ahead no matter what?"
"Mr Wilson replied to me 'Yes that really is it, it's going ahead'."
However, Mr Wilson has previously told the inquiry he didn't recall making any reference about Mr Rudd's popularity.
The Rudd government announced the scheme on February 3, 2009 to stimulate the economy and create jobs during the global financial crisis.
It ended up being inundated with low-skilled workers who only required a general safety induction before entering ceilings and is blamed for the deaths of four workers.
The inquiry continues.