When I was a grommet I was a big Midnight Oil fan - Head Injuries and Place Without A Postcard were on regular rotation every weekend down the coast. In fact the first big concert I ever went to was their Blue Sky Mining tour at Memorial Drive in 1990, when I was 16.
Anyway, being young and clueless the lyrics didn't mean much to me - I was only interested in the music (especially Rob's frenetic drumming). I was aware that their songs were politically motivated, but as I didn't have much of an interest in world events or environmental issues at the time I didn't understand the gravity of what they were singing about.
In recent years I've started to go back through my old albums and Midnight Oil have been back on the playlist quite regularly again. And it's incredible to listen to their words now that I've got a greater appreciation about the world. The band's ability to meld interesting, relevant and somewhat alarming topics with sonic guitars, driving rhythms and incredible tunes really makes them quite unique as an Australian band.
So my point is - what happened to Peter Garrett? Hearing the conviction in his songs and the message that surrounded the band back then was, and still is amazing. But having gone from the Australian Conservation Foundation to Greenpeace to the Nuclear Disarmament Party and now the Australian Labor Party, Garrett seems to be a shell of his former self - at least in the public political arena. Watching him on panel shows like Q and A is awkward and unnerving.
Great band, watching Garrett jumping around on top of the speaker towers was all time. Unfortunately I think he has sold out for the almighty dollar.
First unsupervised concert I was allowed to go to was the Oils at the Sydney Entertainment Centre in 1983. I was 15 years old. It was an awesome night.
Ten to one remains a favourite album as well as their first self titled album.
Maybe Pete thought he could make a difference on the federal scence but has been hoodwinked and hamstrung by the Labor party.
Maybe he would have had more success as an independant?
He got religion. That stuff will really mess anyone up.
I think Peter Garrett's record in promoting Aboriginal and environmental issues shouldn't be questioned. As far as I'm concerned he can hold his head high and I am absolutely sure he would be welcomed with open arms in Aboriginal communities all over the country.
Don't care he is in parliament now nor that his voice is restricted by the disciple of a political party ..... at least he is having a crack, as he has done for 20 plus years.
Another example of trial by media?? ... Gee, James Hird today who will it be tomorrow???
I absolutely hate the media at the moment ..... so why are all outlets now acting like Fox News??????????
From an old Bernard Keane column. Few good points made vis-a-vis political motivations.
"Garrett â€‰â€”â€‰like Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull â€‰â€”â€‰doesnâ€™t have to be in politics, or in fact work at all. All could retire now and spend the rest of their days counting their money. All are in politics because they want to achieve genuine change. It would have been easy for Garrett to remain a musician and head of the Australian Conservation Foundation. Or he could have joined the Greens. Garrett would have had a good career as a Greens senator. You suspect much of the vituperation directed at him is because people resent that he didnâ€™t do that.
Instead, he went for the tough option, joining a major political party and sticking his hand up for ministerial responsibility and accepting the requirements of party discipline. He did that because he could achieve more that way. And he has. Despite the constant criticism of the Governmentâ€™s solar policies, the solar panels program was a huge success. Garrett successfully argued in Cabinet for a massive increase in funding after its initial allocation was used up far more quickly than expected. He also secured additional arts funding, particularly for indigenous arts. He got $4b for insulation in the stimulus package â€‰â€”â€‰a program Peter Costello proudly boasted of knocking off when brought forward by Turnbull as Environment Minister.
The real challenge as Minister for Environment is within government â€‰â€”â€‰any government â€‰â€”â€‰trying to win internal battles with pro-development and resource ministers, trying to secure and retain funding for environmental programs, trying to convince colleagues round the Cabinet table that the old jobs-versus-environment dichotomy is a con. Garrettâ€™s won some and lost plenty as well. But heâ€™d have known that when he took the decision to join Labor."
The Oils have always been political. The first song of Midnight Oil's first album had the verse:
I was taken by surprise by the glint in his eyes,
And a sweet campaign smelling strongly of lies'
Your a picture of Mr Clean,
But the closeup's make you look awful mean,
Your just a conman raving and your saying nothing new.
Classic hey! Sound like anyone we know?
Darn right there YS.