Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] PG latest

Tari, Vince Vince.Tari at nmhg.com
Mon Jun 7 17:54:18 MDT 2004

The PG situation continues to cause somewhat of a shit storm amongst the
local Labour Party members.  

It seems everyone has had a say on the situation except for the big guy
himself. Reports here are that he has cancelled all public appearances until
the dust settles. Hope he pipes up soon & tells us what his plans are.

Pity John Howard is overseas right now....would be interesting to hear what
he has to say about the current situation.


ALP clears runway for Garrett's next gig
By Anne Davies, Aban Contractor and Stephanie Peatling
June 8, 2004

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Rock star and environmentalist Peter Garrett's future in federal politics
now rests in his own hands, with the ALP machine set to clear the way for
him to take the safe seat of Kingsford Smith - if he wants it.

While no decision has been taken by the NSW state office to override a rank
and file preselection in the heartland Labor seat, there was a strong view
within the senior ranks of the party yesterday that the federal leader, Mark
Latham, should get his way so close to an election.

The former Midnight Oil singer remained elusive yesterday, but senior Labor
sources close to Mr Garrett were expecting that he would accept the offer
once the internal ructions within the party caused by reports of his
impending preselection had settled.

Mr Garrett pulled out of public engagements scheduled for today and did not
return calls.

Mr Latham confirmed he had offered Mr Garrett a spot in Parliament, but
would not say if he had accepted.

"Peter Garrett, right around Australia, is a very well regarded person. He's
inspiring on issues such as the environment and indigenous affairs. He is
the sort of person that we need in the Federal Parliament," Mr Latham said.

 "Anyone who goes into politics knows that at the end of the day our
responsibility is to put in place candidates who are good for the nation. We
don't it for ourselves; we do it for Australia," he said. 

Mr Latham effectively endorsed Mr Garrett as the party's preferred candidate
for the seat, saying he would be "a fantastic parliamentarian" and that it
would be "an honour to have him in our ranks".

The ALP state executive met yesterday afternoon to discuss the mutiny in the
local branches within the Kingsford Smith electorate triggered by the sudden
resignation of the sitting member, Laurie Brereton, on Friday and news of
the approaches to Mr Garrett to take the seat. 

We are not going to be treated as cyphers. - Right power broker JOHNO
JOHNSONCandidates are usually chosen by local branches, but the state office
can override this process and the national executive can also intervene in
federal preselections. 

A Melbourne Cup field of candidates had been jockeying to replace Mr

"The meeting resolved to continue discussions with the Federal Electorate
Council and with the federal leader," a senior Labor official said after
yesterday's meeting at Labor's Sussex Street state headquarters. 

"No decisions on the form of preselection have been taken."

Local officials will now come under intense pressure to accommodate the
leader's wishes.

But there may still be a fight. The local ALP branches within the electorate
of Kingsford Smith have summoned their 1000-strong membership to a meeting
tonight at the Randwick Labor Club. Right power broker, "Johno" Johnson, who
was backing one of the candidates, warned: "We are not going to be treated
as cyphers ...

"Peter Garrett is a very principled person. I don't think he would want to
put himself in the position were 1200 branch members would be opposed to

Mr Garrett's proposed candidature also angered sections of the union

The national secretary of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy
Union's forestry and furnishing division, Trevor Smith, warned Labor that it
faced a "massive backlash" if it preselected Mr Garrett, especially among
regional workers.

"Workers want to see the ALP be fair dinkum about winning government not
involved in a pathetic version of political celebrity squares," Mr Smith

The Greens leader, Bob Brown, warned Labor politics would "stymie" the
enormous contribution Mr Garrett had yet to make to Australia's future.

"The prospect of Peter being inside the party that, for example, is
woodchipping Tasmania's ancient forests at the greatest rate in history,
concerns me for Peter's sake," Senator Brown said.

The executive director of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Don Henry,
said he was "grateful for the work" of Peter Garrett as ACF president, a
position he has held since 1998.

Holding the office of president of one of the peak environment groups puts
Mr Garrett at odds with the Labor Party on the issue of Tasmania's
old-growth forests.

The ACF wants immediate protection for 240,000 hectares of Tasmania
including all high conservation old growth forests and wilderness areas. But
the Labor Party has said it will not jeopardise timber industry jobs by
abandoning the existing Regional Forests Agreement.