Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] Garrett shrugs off celebrity status

Nathan Arrowsmith nathan at nathanarrowsmith.com
Sat Sep 11 00:41:20 MDT 2004

Garrett shrugs off celebrity status

Former Midnight Oil frontman and federal Labor candidate Peter Garrett 
visited the trendy latte suburb of New Farm today, urging punters to 
take him seriously.

Mr Garrett, who was the rock band's lead singer for 26 years and is now 
the federal Labor candidate for the Sydney seat of Kingsford-Smith, 
dismissed claims that entertainment celebrities did not fare well in the 
political arena.

"I don't see myself as a celebrity candidate. I see myself as a serious 
candidate," Mr Garrett told journalists during a meet and greet with 
Labor MP Arch Bevis at the James Street markets in Brisbane's inner city.

"I've had 25 years in public life or more, a strong connection with a 
number of issues in this country, particularly environment [and] social 
justice issues, worked strongly in the community sector and feel very 
confident in the strong policy sweep that Labor brings to bear which I 
can advocate."

James Belcastro, owner of the Fresh Fish Co in the marketplace, agreed 
that the former Midnight Oil lead singer was "more than just a pretty 
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"He's very much a man of the people," Mr Belcastro told AAP after Mr 
Garrett and Mr Bevis had visited his store.

"He's not so much a celebrity just talking about products, he very much 
stands by them. He's committed whether he's a rock star or not."

Heads turned in the busy marketplace as breakfast goers recognised the 
famous face, come to support Mr Bevis who holds the Labor seat of 
Brisbane on a paper-thin margin of less than one per cent.

Mr Garrett shrugged off his celebrity status, but a question about the 
Queensland Government's new tough smoking bans, it rekindled memories of 
his days as the rock band's lead singer.

"I always wanted to see smoking in rock venues slightly lessened over 
time because it was pretty difficult to sing when all that smoke was 
there," he said.

"I think here in this state it's a good solid direction in terms of 
health. I applaud it."

Mr Garrett refused to comment on the bombing outside the Australian 
embassy in Jakarta, telling journalists the issue was too serious for 
candidates to be making "off the cuff remarks to the media".

When asked if he believed the sexual status of lesbian Liberal candidate 
for Brisbane, Ingrid Tall, would damage her campaign, Mr Garrett 
referred to Mr Bevis to answer.

Mr Bevis again declined to comment on the matter.