Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] PG talks...finally

Tari, Vince Vince.Tari at nmhg.com
Wed Jun 9 19:16:39 MDT 2004


Garrett nails colours to Labor's mast

Rock star and environmentalist Peter Garrett has declared his intention to
run as the Labor Party's candidate for the federal seat of Kingsford Smith
in Sydney.

Mr Garrett made his announcement flanked by Federal Opposition leader Mark
Latham at Maroubra Beach in the heart of the electorate.

Appearing publicly for the first time since news of his possible candidacy
broke, Mr Garrett says he "has nailed his colours to the mast" and wants to
serve the seat of Kingsford Smith as the ALP candidate.

The former Midnight Oil lead singer says he will move to the electorate
after the next election if elected and says he does not believe his personal
politics will clash with those of the ALP.

Labor leader Mark Latham says he is delighted Mr Garrett has agreed to

Mr Garrett says he understands the frustrations of local ALP members but is
willing to front an open meeting to put forward his credentials.

He says that despite controversy in Kingsford Smith, he believes local ALP
supporters will come around.

"I'm convinced those people who are real Labor supporters will support the
Labor candidate," Mr Garrett said.

He says he has long had connections in the Kingsford Smith area, as one of
Midnight Oil's first gigs was held there, he has surfed there and
entertained people at local hotels.

Mr Garrett says the decision to leave his role with the Australian
Conservation Foundation and enter politics was a difficult one.

"Politics is an imperfect game ... yet it's the best game we have for making
things better," Mr Garrett said.

Electoral roll

On the issue of his electoral roll status, Mr Garrett says it was only
recently that he discovered he was no longer registered as a silent voter.

He says he definitely voted in the last federal election and in 1996 and
that whenever he was in the country and was able to vote, he did so.

"I take full responsibility for me not being on the electoral roll in the
past," he said.

"My understanding was that I was on the roll, I received no communication
from the electoral commission but I'm not on the roll.

"[I received] no communications from them that I'm aware of to tell me that
I'm not on the roll.

"I voted and as of yesterday I'm on the roll as a regular enrolled candidate
and that's where I'll stay."

Asked if Mr Garrett would serve on Labor's frontbench, Mr Latham said that
was a matter for the ALP caucus but he would be surprised if Mr Garrett was
not a frontline minister at some time in the future.

Mr Garrett defended his decision to join Labor after running for the Senate
with the Nuclear Disarmament Party in the 1980s.

He says joining Labor does not betray those who voted for him then and urged
them to consider why he was campaigning for Labor and to consider voting for
him again.

He says there is no conflict between his views and Labor on the environment
or the future of the Pine Gap security facility.

After long campaigning for the joint Australia-US facility to be closed, Mr
Garrett says he now believes it is an essential part of Australia's security

He says the international climate has changed from one of disarmament to one
where Australia must monitor potential terrorist threats to protect its
national security.

Mr Garrett says he has not decided what ALP faction he will join.