<em>Midnight Oil</em>‘s and Australia’s Future Climate Change Minister


I’m not very culturally literate, and it took my table partner at the ongoing Australian American Leadership Dialogue to tell me that the erudite, bald-headed guy speaking eloquently and convincingly about sensible strategies to confront climate change was a former lead singer of the group Midnight Oil, Peter Garrett.
I had my picture taken with him — which I’ll post later — but which I took not because he was a singer but because he is currently the Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Heritage. This means if Labor wins the upcoming elections, this smart enviro-wonk will be Minister.
I’m convinced, particularly after this meeting, that Australia is well positioned to be a global change agent in many key issues. It’s a smart country with smart people who don’t have population weight — but who could have considerable weight in international problem solving, particularly climate change.
To live by the rules of this meeting, I can’t report on his commentary. However, I can report that Peter Garrett is sitting across from me, and he’s sitting smack dab next to Paul Wolfowitz — who despite any criticism I would lodge against his take on a proliferation of wars in the Middle East is admirably sitting through an entire day of discussion on climate change.
More later.
— Steve Clemons


12 comments on “<em>Midnight Oil</em>‘s and Australia’s Future Climate Change Minister

  1. private live says:

    Australia is a good place. Your article very good.


  2. Carolann E. Candy says:

    I always knew Midnight Oil with Peter Garrett would someday follow through. Seen them live, understood the urgency of their message way back in the day. My heart is glad he is on-going in his desire to see much needed change take place. He’s never professed to be a “politician” in the real sense of the word, however, he has been known for the “true sense of the word” amonngst those who know him and know of him. We could use a Peter Garrett here in Alberta. I wish I still had my Tshirt from the concerts, I have my memories and now I have the reality that he is still very much alive, very much active and very, very much on the mark.


  3. Emma says:

    Peter Garrett is an idiot. former greens member who walked across the floor! he wont even ban plastic bags for gods sake, how can he even pretend to care about the environment when a stunt like that makes it obvious that he doesn’t. as for the pulp mill, my guess is that it wont be him that stops it.


  4. kim carsons says:

    At Present Peter Garrett is just a pin-up boy for the Australian Labour Party, who are still cozying up to the coal industry, still continuing to destroy high conservation forests and rainforest, still continuing to throw money at roads and tunnels, rather than public transport, stil oooking to increase the sale of uranium for “safe and non violent means” As a radical Peter Garrett is a spent force:- if, and its a big IF, he challenges the status quo of his party who somehow want to retain howard’s lack of vision by attempting a waterered down version of pleasing everyone by firstly 1) standing up against the behemouth that is Gunns (plundering public forest for short term gain, with 1st world looting the 3rd world type of ethical standards)he’d better act fast!!


  5. MP says:

    Since we’re talking guitar, let’s not forget Richard Thompson.


  6. TokyoTom says:

    A little Googling will bring up a speech Wolfowitz made while at the WB about how climate change is screwing up the livelihoods of those in the Amazon.


  7. John says:

    I am an Australian have been a fan of Garrett’s music for much of my life, we grew up in the same part of Sydney. I beg to differ however over his politics. The Australian Labor Party do not stand for much of the words in Garrett’s lyrics. His song US Forces (banned on US radio) is in sharp contrast for his support for new US bases in Australia. I suggest you dig a little deeper. No one is serious about climate change if it will impact big business, not even Garrett.


  8. Nigel says:

    Peter Garret is one helluva guy, Midnight Oil were awesome, some really great songs, including commentary on aboriginal affairs in Australia. Here’s hoping the side trip to Scores a few years back does not impact his leaders ( Rudd ) ratings to badly.
    Oddly enough New Zealand and Australia have drifted apart with our respective current leaders, one hopes imminent changes on both sides of the Tasman fix that sad state of affairs.


  9. The Dude says:

    Peter Garret is one smart dude… Australia is lucky to have him. My recommendation if you want to get 1 Midnight Oil album? Earth & Sun & Moon with stuff like this…
    “Was it just a dream, were you so confused
    Was it just a giant leap of logic
    Was it the time of year, that makes a state of fear
    Methods were the motives for the action
    And did I hear you say
    My country right or wrong
    Did you save your face
    Did you breach your faith
    Women, there were children at the shelter
    Now who can stop the hail
    When human senses fail
    There was never any warning, no escape
    Did I hear you say
    My country right or wrong
    My country oh so strong
    My country going wrong
    My country right or wrong
    I hear you say the truth must take a beating
    The flag a camouflage for your deceiving
    I know, yes I know
    Its written on your soul
    I know, we all make mistakes
    This is not a case of blurred vision
    Its a case of black holes, pocket holes, soul holes
    And did I hear you say…”
    Seems relevant, especially sitting at a table with Wolfowitz doesn’t it?


  10. rich says:

    Your pal is Albert Lee? Great to know he’s still at it–even back in high school (ages ago) Lee wasn’t too well-remembered. I played every recording by Lee I could find. And interesting they referenced Glenn Cornick–whose work with Tull is amazing.
    Midnight Oil’s Peter Garrett was all over environmental and indigenous issues early on, earning expertise and cred by the early-to-mid 1980s. The real deal.


  11. negropontedeathsquads says:

    Any questions about Midnight Oil/Peter Garrett, ask me. I’m a huge fan, with all the records/bootlegs/videos. If you want to impress Garrett I can point you to some of their best songs. Their 2 best albums/CDs were ‘Place Without a Postcard’ and ‘10,9,8…’, although ‘Red Sails’ and ‘Diesel and Dust’ come close. If you can get your hands on an mp3 of their songs ‘Lucky Country’, ‘Warakurna’, ‘The Power and the Passion’, you’ll be in ozzie heaven. If you ever see the 1982 concert movie ‘Saturday Night at the Capitol Theatre’ available on the ‘Best of Both Worlds’ DVD you’ll understand…


  12. Joe Klein's conscience says:

    So Wolfie still hasn’t learned? That figures. The neo-con’s are unrepentent. Always blame someone else for what goes wrong. Problem is, they are propped up by wingnut welfare.


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