Peter Garrett – How Do You Sleep When Your Cred Is Burning?

First up, I should declare that I’ve never liked Midnight Oil. I attended my first and last Oils gig in the late 70s at a half-empty Osborne Park Hotel – obviously, this was before they attained the popularity that would launch them as an Ozrock institution. Musically, I didn’t like their sound on record, and live this night I found them uninspiring. Garrett, in particular, irritated me. His trademark open-hand theatrics I found contrived, his lurching about the stage ungainly and distracting.

Further, I’ve always seen the band’s political sermonising, mostly through Garrett’s big mouth, as patronising and oh-so-safely leftist (“pc” in today’s terms), and have long harboured suspicions that these sworn enemies of the corporate world were actually playing the game as well as any suited yuppie, using their intrusively public political positioning as a branding strategy for the business that was Midnight Oil the band – and mighty successfully, as it transpired.

As time went on, it seemed to me that they were possessive of their ideology, almost as if in branding themselves so aggressively they had cornered the market amongst their rock peers on the causes they championed and those they railed against: indigenous rights, the environment, American bases in Australia, globalisation…just tick the boxes, and you end up with the Green Party manifesto. Not that there was anything wrong with that per se. I support most of the Greens’ policies. But I don’t brand my opinions for profit, and neither does the Green Party.

When Garrett came out as a pending ALP MP, I have to admit to greeting the news with a sneer and something akin to “I told ya so”. Here was the great Green giant of Aussie rock caving in to overtures from a mainstream political party that had long since pragmatically dispensed with their traditional left-wing working-class values in favour of more corporate-friendly policies – policies that had rescued them from their post-Whitlam years of political detention. Under Hawke (the Great Sell-out) and Keating, the ALP became progressively more, erm, “progressive” until the ground they were occupying was pretty well indistinguishable from the Lib’s traditional turf. Eventually, of course, they paid the price when the electorate decided they’d rather have the real thing and put the Libs back. Now, 11 years down the track, look what we’ve got…sad, but back to Garrett.

He must have known that becoming part of a mainstream political machine would mean, inevitably, compromising his leftist ideology. So why did he join the ALP? Wasn’t the Green Party a much better fit for him ideologically? Undoubtedly yes, if any of his Midnight Oil political mouthing off can still be taken seriously. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion, then, that joining the ALP was a career move for Garrett! What else makes sense?

Bob Brown (Greens leader) has expressed a sense of betrayal on behalf of the Greens at Garrett’s sell-out move to the ALP, and some of the compromises he has already made since being elected as an MP. Well he might, because Garrett has now removed any doubt about his capacity for shelving his beliefs in the service of the party machine: his public declaration of support for an American base in Geraldton, Western Australia would have to rate as a most undignified and (surely?) embarrassing turnaround from the Man of Principle whose past identity is enmeshed with his contemptuous vocal delivery of the lines, US forces give the nod/It’s a setback for your country from the Oil’s 1982 hit US Forces.

But before we damn the man as a shameless hypocrite, we should consider his defence: “You change your mind about some things over time.” A true politician’s answer, Pete – that is, no answer at all. Garret OWES his fans, the legions of Midnight Oil faithful, a real explanation. They believed in him and what he stood for. The least he can do now is tell them WHY he’s forsaken one of his fundamental convictions.

When you’ve hitched yourself to a set of political values so publicly, so stridently, for so long, that those values are part of your brand, surely it is disrespectful of your public – if not downright disdainful – to deny them a full and proper explanation of a turnaround as seemingly abrupt and jarring as this one. Especially since you exploited that brand both in profiling your band to attain fame and success and getting yourself elected to the ALP in the first place. “Changing your mind over time” doesn’t cut it. But like any politician caught in a position of extreme compromise, Pete won’t be drawn into an honest response. Who can blame Puffy Downer and the other goons on the Lib front bench for having a field day with him?

I would contend that Garrett has always been a careerist first. All that huffing and puffing in the Oils, that righteous condemnation of US bases in Australia, was clearly branding first and an expression of genuine conviction second – how can it now be claimed to be otherwise? To do so is to label Garrett ideologically fickle at best.

And if the US bases issue was just one more politically correct arrow in the Oil’s branding quiver, what of their stance on indigenous issues? On the environment? On ANY of the values they professed to hold so dear in those heady days as beloved Oz rock champions of leftist ideology? And the question might also be posed as to where Garrett’s hypocrisy and bending over for the party political machine leaves Midnight Oil’s iconic status, inextricably bound, as it is, with their political profile?

There are many who look admiringly on sermonising priests of rock like Garrett (until now), Bono, Sting and Chris Martin (now there’s a tosser) for their activism on world poverty, the environment, globalisation, American militarism and all the usual suspects. The media has awarded these larger-than-life figures a saint-like status, deifying them as they use their celebrity, wealth and power for the public good.

Indeed, Bono and co no doubt do believe emphatically in their causes and make a positive difference on a global scale way beyond the scope of proles like thee and me. But I’ll tell you what sticks in my craw: as I see it, they carry around an inflated sense of importance and act out of sheer egotism as much as altruism. There’s something in me that abhors bullshitters and egomaniacs, and persons of privilege who look upon themselves so very fondly as they bestow their good deeds upon a grateful world.

Hypocritical sell-out careerists like Garrett who made his name and wealth from the issues he has shown himself so willing to compromise is now burning in a bed he made for himself, torched with glee by the same media that helped to create his public persona. So how are you sleeping these days, Pete?

54 thoughts on “Peter Garrett – How Do You Sleep When Your Cred Is Burning?”

  1. What a pathetic blog.
    What a negative, unhelpful view of an Australian who is trying to do things for others.

    You suggest he has sold out by not joining the Greens who apparently are perfect. What relevance do they hold to the future of Australia?
    And how much more effective will a committed Australian Labor Party be than a slightly stronger minority party like the Greens?

    By joining the ALP he is attempting to strengthen a party that was once a great force and made a difference to many people’s lives.

    You talk about him bettering his career as if he had not already achieved so much before entering federal politics. He was president of the ACF two times and no doubt had a number of opportunities there that would have served him well.

    But instead he has joined the tough battle that no one has completed successfully yet; beating Howard. He has never allowed his personal life to be a part of his public persona, so please do not compare him to Bono.

    And you also draw on song lyrics from 1982 which were sung about a particular series of events in a period very different to now. If Garrett seriously used his song lyrics from 25 years ago to express his current views on important issues then we would be rather worried.

    I have no problem with you not supporting Garrett and supporting the Greens but personal attacks on his career that are an off shoot of certain myths created by the media, are just not on.

  2. Dear oh dear – what have we here? Bit sensitive to any criticism of your man Pete, are we? Not one of that tribe of Sydneysiders who won’t have NUTHIN’ said against your Oils, by any chance?

    Let’s analyse your little tanty bit by bit, shall we, and see where that leaves your indignant frothings and poutings?

    You dismiss my blog as “pathetic” on the basis that it presents a “negative, unhelpful view of an Australian who is trying to do things for others.” This suggests that anyone in service of any kind in this country is beyond reproach.

    You don’t seem too keen on Howard. No doubt he thinks he’s in service for his country and whatever your politics, I guess you’d have to acknowledge that he occupies the highest public service position there is and is “trying to do things for others” – or doesn’t he count because…well because…oh, just because you don’t like him or share his politics? If my blog had focussed on the hypocrisy of Howard, and the spin he feeds to the media in place of honest opinion and substantiated fact, you’d be nodding your agreement and tapping out words of approval plucked from the other end of the descriptor spectrum.

    Why should Garrett be spared when the crime is the same? He’s just another politician now, bub…and as for “trying to do things for others” – gimme a break! Firstly, he’s paid quite well for his do-gooding, and secondly, do you really think “career” is not in the equation for him? Which is fine, by the way – if he hadn’t postured for so long as a man of unwavering principle!

    How about responding to the main point of my blog – which was that he betrayed his large fanbase (and I’d suggest this extends beyond the Midnight Oil zealots – or did, until recently) in refusing to break from the tiresome political tradition of not answering legitimate questions: in this case, why he has done a 180 on American bases, when he was SO voluble in his opposition for SO long, with nary a signal of a change of view until just a few weeks ago when challenged on the issue and succumbing to the party line, meek as a kitty – WITHOUT EXPLANATION. That is gutless and patronising in anyone’s language (except yours and the other Garrettphobes, which may just be dwindling by the day).

    If you disagree, spare me the tanty and come back with a reasoned response.

    You seem to have made an incorrect assumption that I see the Greens as “perfect”. Where did I say that? I’ve voted Labor more often than Green. Anyway, if you’re such a Garrett disciple, why aren’t you voting Greens, or would you take issue with my observation that Garrett’s political views circa Midnight Oil had far more in common with the Greens than the ALP?

    If you do not take issue with this (and if you know anything about the Oils, I don’t see how you could), how do you respond to my charge that Garrett’s decision to join the ALP, which now shares more common ground with the Libs than the Greens and probably always did, can only be explained as essentially careerist? Again, reason in place of pouting please, if that’s at all possible.

    I find your questioning the relevance of the Greens naive, to be frank. Do you think there is no place for minority parties in Australian politics, that they have no influence at all? The job of the minority parties is – in Chipp’s words – “to keep the bastards honest” and to represent alternative views that might not yet be mainstream, but that may well be at least as important to the future of the country as the vote-catching and electorate-safe policies of the ALP and the Libs. I think we can safely agree that climate change is an issue that the Greens recognised as vital way before the major parties, don’t you? Yet you blithely dismiss them simply because they are not one of the Big Two! I could blast on about the function of minority parties ad nauseum, but that is best saved for a blog down the track, if I can be bothered (The Boomtown Rap is not going to be a politicial blog per se).

    You say Garret “never allowed his personal life to be part of his public persona” – to which I say, how the hell do you know? Do you know him personally? Further, why is this even an issue? If anything, I would contend that the presentation of a public persona is again just another aspect of spin and branding…which is precisely what I was charging Garrett with in my blog! So thanks, I guess.

    Your “point” about the song lyrics from 1982 is a furphy. The real point was that Garrett publicly and often, and for many years, spoke out against the presence of American bases in Australia, his stance identical to that represented in the song “US Forces”. Thus, I didn’t “draw on” these 1982 lyrics unfairly at all. They embody Garrett’s stance on US bases right up until his recent unexplained turnaround.

    Finally, what do you mean by “personal attacks on his career”? And how is my criticism of Garrett “an offshoot of certain myths created by the media”? What myths? Is he exempt from the scrutiny other politicians live under just because he used to be a singer in a rock band that you evidently rate highly for some reason? Why is my attack on his moral integrity any different from the typical content of media commentaries on Howard etc you encounter daily in newspapers, on tv, and indeed, in blogs? And why do you see my “attack” as personal? I might think the guy’s a wanker, but my post is not informed by that personal view – I went to some trouble to set out reasons for my charges of hypocrisy and careerism. Maybe you could learn a little from that.

  3. Unlike the author of this blog, I like Midnight Oil’s music more than I did when I was younger and a hell of a lot thinner and had more time and energy to be angrier. I was totally blown over by the band at a gig in London in 1985 (I’m a Brit in Tokyo) but I hadn’t listened to them for over a decade until a few weeks ago when I thought, “hang on, let’s go down musical memory lane with Midnight Oil.”
    I was really disgusted to see big Mr. G sitting there in a suit smirking away in what looked like a pig pen of the smug and smarmy. I thought he’d gone into some sort of honorable retirement in the background, but the more I think about it, the more I agree with the author of this blog. To see someone who took my parents money and then my money to buy and listen to songs such as When the Generals Talk and now to spit in the face of so many things he shouted about for so long and took so many peoples money for…
    As to being ripped off and lied to by pols, and I always suspected Tony Blair, for example, of being a closet Tory (without realising just how power mad he really was) but to see PG up there smirking and disavowing central principles that he shouted at for so many years just for his next career move: ghastly. What a ghastly, manipulative man. It seems Peter Garret has found the career and position most suited for him. Stick a fork in him; he’s done.

  4. Paul

    We’re essentially in agreement about Garrett, so will resist the temptation to piss in your pocket on that.

    You’re one of the few folk I’ve come across other than me who didn’t trust Blair right from the start. I smelled FAKE as soon as I saw him. He seemed to me to be disingenous, an adman in politician’s guise modelling himself on Clinton but with a few wiley UK-friendly tweaks (and I have to say here, I did like and respect Clinton – and I think history will look kindly on him). As it turns out, Blair’s a Tory in Labor garb. And unlike Clinton, I think political historians will regard him with a cold eye.

    A brief aside: I can relate to your “thinner and angrier” comment – but isn’t the Japanese diet helping to contain the kilos? Or have you crossed over to the Macodonaldo side?


  5. Attacks on personal appearance and demeanour do little to shore up your arguments,repeatedly in inerview after interview Garrett has been the first to admit the need for compromise,in the tit-for-tat world of parliamentary politics,it is essential.

    At least he still has the will to admit that and not be stymied by potshots from pundits and blowhards (assuming present company’s exclusion,but it remains to be seen).

    Either way he is damned for standing up for what he believes in,and damned for not standing up for what someone else thinks he should be standing for,in that way he is in very good company,I seem to recall a young man from Roman occupied Palestine who did much the same.

  6. Moishe

    Strewth – you really ARE a Garrett disciple. That’s some comparison, the “young man from Roman occupied Palestine”!

    In the context of my complaint in this blog about Garrett’s compromising of his principles for the sake of his career and The Party, the historical figure from Roman occupied Palestine who comes closest to Garrett is Pontius Pilate, who went against his personal convictions and bowed to the demands of the crowd, keeping them happy in the greater interests of the Empire he represented.

    You’re right that “attacks on personal appearance and demeanour do little to shore up your arguments” – thing is, my only reference to Garrett’s personal appearance was in the course of explaining why the Oils didn’t appeal to me when I saw them live. That has nothing to do with the rest of the blog or my argument that Garrett has sold out and at least owes his supporters some explanation beyond “changed my mind”!

  7. Maybe Peter Garrett is really an undercover terrorist just PRETENDING he’s in support of U.S. bases in W.A.? Or, maybe, he’s just a bald-headed fuckwit singer from a shit sold-out band?

  8. Hello ,
    Perhaps Senor Garrett thought he might just be able to make a bit more of a difference from within a major [ ? ] party than from within a minor one , don’t you think ?

    Give the guy some credit for weighing up the pros and cons , please .

    As to Tony Blair , he is a disgrace to the other one , Eric !

    The problem with politics is the plethora of Juduses in their midst , of which Blair [ Tony , not Eric ] is an exceedingly prime example in extremis .

    He has FAKE written all over him a la the late lamented richard Nixon .

  9. As a former oils fan Pete’s selling out to the ALP party machine appartchiks was obviously far more personally upsetting to me than it was to the author of this article.

    I didn’t percieve Midnight Oil to be a “safely” pc band in their heyday, just good solid rock and roll backed up with a brain.

    I don’t think its correct to conflate the ideology and wishes of the rest of the band with Peters personal hypocrisy.

    As far as I can tell Rob Hirst and others are still involved in musical projects with a political edge to them. Not sure if they’ve personally given Mr Garrett the verbal flogging he deserves, publically anyway.

    I’m incredibly angry with that two-faced maggot Garrett, that rotten turncoat bastard ruined some of my favorite songs from my teenage years simply by virtue of the fact that the bald-headed twat was singing them.

  10. From what I’ve read, Hirst is very supportive of Garrett’s ALP career.

    You’re right, though – I was never an Oils fan (especially because of Garrett’s vocal inflections and finger-spread hand jerking nonsense), and was not surprised when Garrett sold out. His behaviour was in keeping with my cynical appraisal of the band, and him in particular.

    So, I wasn’t upset by the grand sellout. It merely exacerbated my contempt.

    Nevertheless, I can understand your sentiments.

    Re your comment: “I don’t think its correct to conflate the ideology and wishes of the rest of the band with Peters personal hypocrisy.” Fair enough point. I don’t know enough about the ideological stances of the rest of the band to be able to offer an informed comment in response, except to say again that I always saw the Oil’s political stuff as branding…and oh so predictable. That sort of ideological predictability always makes me suspicious.

    I’m not meaning to imply that there was NO conviction in their political positions individually, but when their most prominent member and public spokesperson sells out as Garrett has, and there is no public denouncement of his hypocrisy by other band members, doubts creep in about how deep any of that political posturing as a band ever really went.

  11. Onya for immortalising Garrett’s hypocrisy in your quilts, Paula!

    Notice how quiet he’s been about the Gunn’s controversy in Tasmania? The guy’s a lost cause.

  12. Peter Garrett in my 45 yrs I have never seen such an about face in someones ideals as that which you have shown. I have some advice for you – !. Give back all monies made from your protest / idealism music that you scammed from us 20 yrs ago , 2. Resign your ministership and crawl into a hole so deep that you never again emerge.
    You are a man without any morals , you owe most of your wealth to Mother Nature and I can now only wish for you and your family the worst type of agonising slow death that pretenders like yourself deserve . I would gladly dance on your grave and celebrate the passing of a true piece of filth.

  13. Whatever you do, don’t hold back, Anthony! Haha.

    Seriously, I get it. The guy is quite contemptible. Yet plenty of folk I’ve expressed this to have indicated that they see Garrett as simply playing a game of pragmatics.

    Perhaps, but I come back to the point I made in my post – why didn’t he join a party like the Greens who share the views he so publicly espoused in the Oils? And then I come back to the conclusion that the prick is a careerist above all else.

    Fuck ‘im. He’s lost whatever respect and cred I ever afforded him – which was not much. Same with you, by the sound of it.

  14. I need to know why? The ALP is really just the left arm of the Libs nowadays, part of the system’s pretence of choice so, in reality he may as well have joined the neo-cons and I must know what’s really behind this huge shift in his political loyalties. The answer may be much darker than we all realise.

  15. Hi Felix.

    Care to elaborate on your dark conjecturing?

    Careerism seemed the obvious explanation for this fake’s public aboutface, but I’m intrigued about the motives you’re attributing to him.

  16. I find it unbelivable that this man has ticked the box that allows the ownership of an Australian Uranium mine to a U.S weapon dealer ( Neal Blue of General Atomic) after all the brain washing he inflicted on me as a wide eyed 13 year old watching him PREACH to me at one of his concerts in the early 80’s
    He obviously had , or has , a “clever and cunning plan” for the destruction of this place.

  17. Hi Scott, and thanks for your comment.

    I’m afraid I am not the slightest bit surprised. Garrett’s shown himself to be a fake from the moment he joined the ALP, when the Greens were clearly a much better fit for his (purported) values and causes. Since then, he’s confirmed time and again that he’s hostage to party politics. Now it’s reached the stage where he’s learned politicspeak (eg: “I’m a team player”, which attempts to make a positive out of his hypocrisy).

    The guy’s a careerist and a fake. Case closed.

    I do have sympathy for your position, though. I never could stand the prick, but you were evidently one of the legions of young fans who trusted him as a mouthpiece for the values you also held. I can imagine you feel quite betrayed.

  18. Thanks Rolan,

    not it’s rare to find people not so naive to see that the oils never sounded sincere. I mean, i’m not as offended as you, but it’s a joke that they meant what they sang about.
    It’s a bit embarrassing, and it always was, that the oils cliched and so polarized faux political stance was fake, insincere, and cashing in big time. Welcome to the music business. Realize the equation, success is directly proportional to selling out.

    I mean hasn’t the Garrot got a law degree or something? you think they give law degrees to honest, sincere or philanthropic people? Come on?

    The only wake up is that people were stupid enough to believe the Oils cornflake packet politics.
    Maybe they should wake up and realize that Democracy has nothing to do with representing people’s choice.

    Thanks again Rolan

    in a net of bile you offer some reality.

  19. Appreciate your comments, melvin…and share your views.

    Oh ho ho – don’t get me started on lawyers. Fucking ego-bloated, low-life rip-off merchants (with the odd exception…very odd).


  20. Garrett has had his own brain removed and in its place had a smaller version of Krudd’s implanted. He has lost any and all passion he had for the environment and other such stuff. He is a living example of a tosser who has become a bigger tosser by becoming a brainwashed polly. What a loser. Good blog by the way.

  21. Peter Garrett you are what you do and not what you say. Show me just ONE single example of a decision you have made as environment minister that is actually pro-environment and in line all your previous blah blah as Australias rock ambassador for green. Shame on you.

  22. In my teens I completely wore out a cassette of Diesel and Dust from over use.

    Sell My Soul. Used to be one of my favourite songs by any band, anywhere from any period. Hearing it now make me shake my head.

    “Sincerity is everything. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made”. George Burns. Surely one of those ‘American Forces’ Pete is/was afraid of.

    Heard Pete speak at the RSL in Alice a few months before the last election. “Kevin Rudd” this and “Kevin Rudd” that. He had more interaction with the crowd as a rock star than a politician and wouldn’t talk about anything of substance not on his agenda. Wouldn’t address the ALP platform to a local group on nuclear waste in the NT but is quoted as saying “NT nuke waste deal a joke”. Wouldn’t talk about Pine Gap. A high school rock band played louder than the Oils right after his speech so no one could really talk to him.

    Maybe he always was a careerist or maybe he just changed his tune and sold out.

    Spring cleaning of CDs and came across an Oils CD. Felt worse about the fact it would be taking up space in a landfill than the fact I would never listen to it again.

    SORRY… indeed

    ps Melvin/Rolan I know plenty of lawyers who “do good”. Met a fair number of community workers only interested in their paycheque.

  23. While I don’t want it to look like I am dry-humping your leg, this is a great article. There isn’t a single point I disagree with. I have to say I thought I was the only one who thought the ‘Oils’ were a bunch of self-righteous cunts. Growing up in Koondoola, I had a many friends who worshipped them and their message. Personally I found it hard to take. Even though I was pretty left as a teenager, I just couldn’t buy what they were selling. I always saw them as social elitists, who had never done a hard day’s work.

    Fast forward 20-years, and I find that Garrett is a sell-out – I live in the states so I am not so current on Australian news. I think the only surprise here is that it took 20-years. Ok, so he has said that his opinions has changed. Well, fine, but can he stop selling the ‘Oils’ back-catalog of bullshit. Actually, a step further: release a new album of songs detailing his current ideals. I bet that would sell millions.

    Finally, I haven’t seen a reference to the Osborne Park Hotel in many a year – Wasn’t the live band area called Century 21? At least I think it was the last time I was there in 1988.

  24. Thanks for your acknowlegement, David (although you’ll excuse me if I keep my leg – actually, both of them – well out of your vicinity). Clearly, you’re a man of class and taste.

    Our views of Garrett and the Oils obviously converge; not much point in my commenting further there.

    I left Perth in 83 and didn’t return until 88, so I don’t know about the Osborne Park Hotel circa 88. It was a fucking dive back in the late 70s, when I saw the Oils playing there to a half-empty house. These days, it’s just another bland suburban pub, indistinguishable from any number of others. At least, that was my impression when I last had a drink there, just because it was in a convenient locale, about 3 years ago. It was a stinking hot late summer afternoon, and there was an electricity outage – the bloody beer wasn’t cold! Unfair, I know, but I don’t see any reason to go back there…guess I’m not one to ask about the pub or its history!


  25. There don’t seem to be any Garrett supporters left since this blog was written over two and a half years ago. I guess a few of his anti-environment Ministerial decisions have woken people up.

    He should be proud of himself when he retires on a fat polician’s pension in a few years. He’s approved the Gunn’s old growth forest pulp mill in Tassie, approved the the shooting of 400 kangaroos at the defence base in Canberra, approved an increase in uranium exports to countries who may well use nuclear weapons against us in the future: to name only a few of his achievements as a minister so far.

    Never liked the Oils either. Garret’s very unattractive contorted jerking while singing always turned me off. Ugly man. Ugly turncoat. Snivelling coward when it comes to principles. Everyone who voted for him on the basis of his previously stated environmental convictions must feel like monumental idiots.

  26. Hahaha – onya, Deb! For Pete’s sake don’t hold back.

    Some Oils fans seem very forgiving of their frontman (see Moishe’s staggering comment above). Then there are those who choose to believe that Garrett’s remained true to his principles, and is playing a game of pragmatics, having decided that he can make more of a difference in a mainstream party like the ALP than in a smaller agitator party such as the Greens. I don’t need to spell out my response to that, and I have no doubt about yours!


  27. Hi,
    Just getting back to you after a two year break! I prefer fish to meat, although I’ll eat just about everything, whether it’s PC or not, as long as it’s tasty, but I seem incapable of eating Macs; it was from when I worked for one in Catord in 1984 as a school holiday job. After a week of scortching/ regurigating fat on hot places and dispensing sludge I couldn’t eat that vile rubbish again.
    But that’s besides the point. That bald bastard seems to actually be promoting policies that are totally the opposite from the ones he expoused in Midnight Oil, stealing my parents and my money. He is actually being praised by the uranium industry and taking away money from musicians.

    This I read on Wikipedia:
    1. On 20 December 2007, Garrett approved a controversial plan to dredge Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay. This move has attracted strong criticism from environmental groups who are concerned that the 23 million cubic metres of sand, rock and contaminated silt dredged from the bay’s shipping channels will affect fishing and tourism in the area.

    2. Garrett approved a major expansion of South Australia’s Beverley uranium mine on 28 August 2008, saying the uranium mine would use world’s best practice for environmental protection. Garrett’s decision was praised by the uranium industry, but criticised by the Australian Conservation Foundation which said the decision would result in the mine spreading acid and radioactive pollution over 100 square kilometres.

    3. Garrett announced on 24 October 2008 that the government would be withdrawing all $2.6 million funding from Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM). ANAM, which is responsible for training Australia’s most promising classical instrumentalists, will be forced to close if it cannot attract funding from other sources.[22]

  28. Just a few comments on Peter Garrett.. I cheered when he entered politics as a Green candidate. Finally, we have a high profile, environmental warrior who will go into bat for Mother Earth. After all, buy all his albums and you will understand that Peter stands for.

    Now, listening to the party lines that you adhere to when approving a nuclear dump and how you are doing nothing about the whale research, I am ashamed. Of all the people who I thought would stay true to their word, I see that even you have become another face in an institution which does not really represent me anymore. At least not the person I voted for. I want this person who you claimed to be to at least come out and show us all what you said you would do. Show us what you have personally achieved whilst in your position of power!

  29. I’m 24 years old. I got the best of midnight oil cd for Christmas when I was 12 years old. I loved the music but never understood the ideology behind those wonderful evocative anthems until I became interested in politics at around the age of 18.

    I suddenly began to listen to Garretts lyrics like a Christian studies the words of a preacher. This would become the blueprint for my own ideologies. I loved the fact that this band tried to bring to my attention the plight of the aboriginal people. I loved that it spoke of corporate greed with passionate disdain.

    But, above all else, it made me proud for the first time in my life to call myself an Australian. This music was unique to me and the issues of my country. I was an official worshipper of the cult of Oil. Garrett was the disciple.

    Unlike the author of this poignant article, I loved the heart on sleeve style of Garretts lyrics and persona. That’s just me, I love grand gestures and rebellion, it gives me goosebumps. Garrett had all that plus the conviction to actively engage in his ideologies through good works.

    I became interested in politics and attended several environmental protests and marches with righteous indignation. Garrett was a continual inspiration for me and I owed the band so much.

    I am completely shattered at what this man has done to his legacy. How easily he has thrown away his beliefs for personal/political gain. As the author poses the question, did he ever really care?
    He owes people like me an explanation. I was wary when PG joined the ALP but I envisioned him as the great insider, planting bombs from within the party walls.

    But alas, the fire has died within this man. A stunning turnaround for someone who once could illicit positive change in peoe, like myself.

    I still listen to the Oils, but only to reinforce my own mission. As far as I’m concerned, Peter Garrett died in 2007.

    And now his political career seems doomed. What a pathetic end to a terrible chapter in his legacy. Garrett will forever be remembered as the man who turned his back on his fans, and on his soul

  30. I’m sorry,

    but this is the sort of article the media have been recycling since Garrett first joined the ALP in 2004. They already knew of the election was won Garrett would have to ‘sell-out’ on certain issues.

    It comes with the political territory. The truth is, Garrett has not been the best minister but I think his mindset is incrementalism, not all out revolution. You may consider that a sell out but I just consider it growing up. A lesson for almost everyone, sometimes it may not be as glamorous, but make change where you can.

    Here’s an article I wrote on Garrett, I believe the perspective is a lot more bi-partisan towards Garrett’s supposed ‘selling out’

  31. If you’re sorry, Gordon, perhaps it should be because you’re evidently one of the types who accept the ideological shape-shifting that is endemic in politics and has undermined the credibility of politicians to the point where hardly anyone believes hardly anything any of them say. I find that sad. Christ, stand up and demand some integrity from your elders, instead of crumpling and speaking in forked tongue just like them! You wanna be part of the problem, rather than the solution?

    I suspect your main motivation for posting is to channel readers to your brand new blog. Well, don’t worry – I’ll leave your link up because I do adhere to my principles, one of which is not to censor comments on my blog posts. Try that linking strategy on any of the mainstream media blogsites, and many cit J ones, and you’ll find your post never gets published.

    As for your blog offering a “more bipartisan perspective” – what are you talking about? There is no partisan crap informing my post. I fact, I vote ALP, and sometimes Greens in the Senate. This post is about Garrett and his demonstrable and unexplained hypocrisy in the light of his very public past sermonising – nothing to do with ALP vs Greens vs Libs or any other political party.

    If you’re going to pop in for a bit of self-promotion, it is courtesy to at least make a genuine attempt to engage with the writer of the post you’re ‘commenting’ on.

    All you’ve done here is attempt to diminish my post by lumping it with mass media bandwagon jumping. That’s not only unjust and mischievous – it’s offensive. I detest the mainstream media and their dull populist commentaries, and I suggest to you that at the time this post was written, there were very few others of the same ilk. To try to claim that commentaries like this have been around since Garrett joined the ALP in 2004, and that I am merely recycling old ideas, is incorrect and ends up reflecting poorly on you, not me.

    Defend yourself if you do not agree. Point to other articles pre-dating mine that make the same points I have here. Should be simple enough, if your claim is valid. So, money where your mouth is, sonny.

    Here’s a thought: how about actually taking up the points I’m raising in this post, rather than trotting out generalisations that do not directly apply to anything I’ve actually written?

    eg: My main point is that Garrett has proven himself a careerist – as I always suspected – in his very decision to join the ALP rather than the Greens, a party that’s a far better fit for the policies and ideals he espoused so fervently in the Oils, and upon which his brand, and that of the band, was built.

    And when you’re finished with that, how about commenting on my proposition that he owes a little something to the fans who believed in that brand, and made the Oils the success they were? A little something like an explanation for his turnaround on so many of his loudly proclaimed core beliefs as Garret the Oils frontman…

    If you have something of substance to say about the actual content of my post, I’m inviting you to say it. If you do not, then I think you’ll have provided irrefutable evidence that the motivation behind your commenting is self-promotion, not genuine engagement in discussion in response to my post. Which rather undermines YOUR cred, dunnit? And along with it, the cred of your blog.

    PS: When you comment, at least use your own words and thoughts, rather than lifting someone else’s. I refer to your statement: The truth is, Garrett has not been the best minister but I think his mindset is incrementalism, not all out revolution. YOU don’t think that – John C Baker does. You’ve merely copied the comments he made on your blog post – virtually word for word – and presented them as your own here. Plagiarising reader comments is pretty poor form.

  32. Just a thought, now I never understood his music and I have only just watched him sing, beds are burning He honestly in my grotty mind looked like he wanted to do a Poo by that lake he was singing at. Why did Mr Rudd choose him in the first place. I understand he likes the environment and all but I get the impression that MR Rudd, employed him because he needed more populuarity and Garrett was the man to do it.

    Maybe when the Transport minister Scews up again Mr Rudd can hire Jessica Watson, the girl who is sailing around the world to be the transport minister or minister for Youth affairs.

    I never got into music but I hope Garrett does something positive for Australia rather than give people the impression he is only doing what his advisors and boss want him to do.

  33. The only post script I would add, Bruce, is that Garrett has now morphed completely into “one of them” – ‘them’ being the current crop of slick-talkin’ risk-averse poll-worshipping ventriloquist dolls that pass for politicians in both the major parties. Just another mainstream party man-in-a-suit (and going by the batts fiasco, incompetent to boot).

    I don’t think politicians have ever been held in such contempt by the electorate (Garret most certainly included), and deservedly so.

    However, as Tanner (with Faulkner, one of the two most substantial members of the ALP, and in their premature retirements a great loss to the party and the parliament) claims in his recently published book, the ‘third man’ in this mess of mediocrity is the irresponsible media. We can’t know just how great their part has been in the dumbing down of Australian politics, but this sly multi-headed beast undoubtedly has a lot to answer for.

    Thanks for your comment.

  34. Rolan, why must one “hump your leg” in order not to receive a uninspired verbose diatribe response you give to anyone to dare to disagree with your, quite frankly, boring rants.

    The reason I stop in to look at your FIG JAM blog is not because I like your benighted movie reviews or your “I was a foodie before anyone ever ate anything” blogs but because I have never come across such a pathetic deluded individual as yourself. You appeal to my interest in psychology as you feel justified to personally attack anyone but yet you can not handle or absorb any kind of criticism to your ”superior” being.

    In regards to Peter Garrett, his cred is definitely questionable but only in his performances as a minister and MP. He owes nothing to his music fans, just to the public of Australia in his role as a member of parliament. He has already reached a generation on his green left wing messages through Midnight Oils songs of which people will take out of it what they choose and do with it what they will.
    If that is not enough for you Rolan you should just go to the movies and come home and cook a pizza. All the important stuff.

    Your blog is your cred and that speaks for itself. You are an arrogant, ignorant, egotistical, incorrigible bastard.


  35. Hahaha. So many assumptions, Brucie old boy, so many assumptions. Oh, you’re a funny and very angry little chappie, to be sure, to be sure – you are little, aren’t you? Of course, I could be wrong. It occasionally happens.

    I wonder, could you be related to another bilious bighead who goes by the handle of Obiter? If not, you have a psychological doppelganger living in Queensland. Funny, I note your IP address is Qld-based. Come to think about it, that “humping your leg” phrase sounds familiar. You haven’t been posting under various aliases, have you Brucie? That would be most undignified!

    Since most of your post comprises personal attack, you’ll excuse me for opening my response in kind. As ye sow etc…

    I can’t be bothered with your stuff on Garrett. My position is clear, and your comment adds nothing of consequence to those genuine posters who have already responded more articulately and without the hysteria. And let’s face it, you don’t really care about the topic of my post, do you now? The real purpose of your visit is quite obvious.

    Hey – here’s a suggestion. Why not start a blog of your own? It would give you something to do with your time less negative than fixating on moi. Besides, I’d be interested in taking some pointers from you on how to write movie reviews and opine on food-related issues. I have to assume you’re drawing on considerable expertise in those areas in assessing my efforts so scathingly. If not, it would be fair to conclude that your parting comment is one of the purest examples of projection on the web, would it not? And boy oh boy, that’s saying something!

    Go take a valium you poor, frothing old fart.

    Pity there’s no medication to quell that green-eyed monster that’s eating you up.


  36. As a Canadian, who has a political background as an assistant to Member of Parliament in the Canadian House of Commons, I find this blog to be quite informative and helpful. I believe you are trying to balance matters in an informative way.

  37. Thanks for your comment, Bruce – rather kind of you, I must say, but I’ll take it! On the topic of balance, may I add I am gratified by your perhaps generous appraisal after the raving, unprovoked and irrational slag-off from your namesake whose post precedes yours. You’ve restored my faith in the good Bruces of the world!


  38. As a teenager growing up in Adelaide I was seduced by the power and conviction of Midnight Oil (and particularly Peter Garrett). I too became interested in, and an advocate for, environmental, anti nuclear and anti-US bases issues. For me, the music, lyrics and conviction of Midnight Oil were a very powerful force.

    I thank Midnight Oil (and Peter Garret) for awakening me to these important issues.

    I have no major issues with Peter Garrett going into mainstream politics. I even understand that this inevitably involves compromises.

    What I find abhorrent though, is that Peter Garrett is still receiving very healthy royalties from anti-nuclear, anti- US, anti-uranium mining, pro-environment songs by virtue of their continuing high rotation on certain commercial FM stations. THIS is where the confict is.

    Lets face it, Peter Garret has become the person he used to condemn with such passion and conviction.

  39. Thanks for your comment, Bill.

    Your royalies point is a valid and clearly made one that no one has articulated so directly until now, although I think it’s assumed as inherent in the charges of hypocrisy that have been levelled at Garrett.

    I don’t agree that this is THE conflict. It’s a key one, to be sure, but there are others, as per my article and this comments thread. I maintain, for example, that Garrett’s values while fronting Midnight Oil were far more closely aligned to the Greens than the ALP, and that his decision to go mainstream politically was at least partly careerist – ie: out of self-interest, rather than motivated by core values. Others have argued that he recognised that the potential to “make a difference” is greater in a party that has a real chance of forming government.

    Whatever, you’d have to assess Garrett’s political career as flawed at best to this point. And the truth of your parting comment is undeniable as far as I’m concerned.


  40. I know I’ve come late to the party, but I’ve only just ‘discovered’ “Beds are Burning” – I’ve found it thought provoking and have been googling – which is how I discovered this blog.

    I don’t know much about the chap(Garrett), what his original views/opinions were or what his subsequent achievements as a politician have been – but I think the views expressed in your blog are a tad cynical and disingenuous.

    If there is a gap between the views and opinions that he expressed in the past, as an artist ,and what he has achieved, as a politician, I’m sure there are less cynical, more generous explanations.

    The role of the artist is to provoke thought and discussion. They should be the grit in the oyster of society. The role of the politician is to actually produce the pearl. A much more complex proposition.

    Maybe the lesson here – is that no matter how well meaning or passionate an artist is, they don’t necessarily make great politicians.

    As your blog demonstrates, it’s easy to express opinions. It’s another matter altogether to deliver change.

    Let’s give the chap some credit – at least as an artist – this song achieves it’s goal of making one think and discuss. As does your blog.

  41. Hello Rob

    Re: I don’t know much about the chap(Garrett), what his original views/opinions were or what his subsequent achievements as a politician have been – but I think the views expressed in your blog are a tad cynical and disingenuous.

    Hmm. If you don’t know much about Garrett’s past public political stances, or his political performance since, how do you reach the view that my post is cynical or disingenuous (especially the latter, which I find an offensive – and unsupported – accusation)? Serious question. I’m not having a go at you. It just seems to me that you are making an assertion based on no knowledge or evidence. If this is not the case, please enlighten me.

    Re: As your blog demonstrates, it’s easy to express opinions. It’s another matter altogether to deliver change.

    Firstly, I agree that it’s easy to express opinions, but I do not see how my blog demonstrates that, as you claim. The opinions I expressed were not just thrown out there. I took care to express my arguments and assertions carefully, with evidence to support my contentions. I put it to you that it is NOT so easy to express opinions in an articulate, orderly, logical and well-supported manner. I sought to do that. I may or may not have been successful, but good written argument is not so common. There are instances of crap opinionated blowhard bigoted opinion all over the net. I put it to you that I do my best not to add to this pollution.

    Further, what is your point in comparing the difficulty of expressing opinion in a blog post with delivering change through political means? How are the two related? I don’t see what you’re getting at. Seems to me an instance of passive-aggression. The only agenda I can see behind this remark of yours is to attempt to undermine the value of my post. Why would you seek to do that? Seems sorta underhand. Why not simply stick to arguing your view on the content of the post? I’m not a politician. I’m a writer.

    As to your parting comment – what has the artistic merit of Beds Are Burning got to do with my post? Why should I give credit to Garrett for that when it’s got nothing to do with the points I’m making in my post? I wasn’t writing a review of Midnight Oil’s work.


  42. Australians are very good liars, and young people were content to replace activism and free thought with putting a CD on and singing along, as if that will change the world. Liars loved that shit.

  43. “Australians are very good liars”? What, genetic programming from our convict ancestors? Fark, what a stupid generalisation.

  44. So the Oils are reforming to cash in again on the old brand as if Pete’s sellout, oops “change implementation” never took place. Please anyone point out to me the “change” he effected while securing his parliamentary pension?

  45. Pink bats are not really designed to be thrown at the stage. Solution: get one pink bat. Lay on the ground and jump on it to compress it into a thinner sheet. Cut up into manageable pieces. Use these pieces to wrap up small rocks which will give them a little mass so they can be hurled at this sell-out. If enough punters do that, maybe he will get the message that people no longer appreciate his music or him or anything he says or does.

    1. Pink Batts 101

      An excerpt from the above link:

      In October 2010, the Auditor-General delivered a damning report into the program after claims its hasty introduction had made the scheme rife with “cowboy” operators delivering shoddy work to fuel their short-term profits. Then-environment minister Peter Garrett was demoted over his role in the Rudd government’s bungled scheme, introduced in 2009 as part of its economic stimulus package.

      Great blog btw Rolan. Keep it up.

  46. Um, I was joking. The point being that I thought your post was politically-driven and not worthy of serious response. Rolanstein 101.

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