Misc. — June 26, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Midnight Oil’s Peter Garrett resigns Australian ministry post, won’t seek re-election

Peter Garrett

Following a Labor Party shakeup today that ousted Australia’s first female prime minister, former Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett has announced he is leaving government, as he resigns his position as Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth and won’t seek re-election to his seat in the House of Representatives.

In a statement posted on his website, Garrett — who was first elected in 2004 and served as Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts from 2007 to 2010 before becoming education minister — said: “I was a frontman who chose to be a team player and make a difference in politics. I do not, for one moment, regret that choice.”

According to the Associated Press, Prime Minister Julia Gillard was ousted as Labor leader by Kevin Rudd, her predecessor; Rudd is now poised to once again become prime minister. With Gillard’s defeat, the senior ministers who backed her, including Garrett, stepped down. Under Rudd, Garrett had been demoted over a “bungled home-insulation scheme.”

Garrett quit Midnight Oil in 2002 and has since performed with the band only a handful of times at charity events, most recently last year for the Sound Relief brushfire concerts. Three of his former bandmates — drummer Rob Hirst and guitarists Jim Moginie and Martin Rotsey — recently joined ex-Violent Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie to form The Break, a mostly instrumental surf-rock combo.

Read Garrett’s full statement:


Statement from Peter Garrett

26 June 2013

Now that Kevin Rudd has been elected Leader of the Parliamentary Labor Party, I am resigning my position as Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth and will not recontest the upcoming election as Member for Kingsford Smith.

I believe I have always acted in the best interests of the Party and the Government.  I was a frontman who chose to be a team player and make a difference in politics. I do not, for one moment, regret that choice.

I want to place on record my thanks to colleagues, staff and the community for their enduring support. To my wife Doris and daughters Emily, May and Grace a huge thanks for their support too, and the love they have given me since I entered Parliament in 2004.

At all times I have endeavoured to represent the people of Kingsford Smith faithfully and in particular, to have secured the protection of Malabar Headland for the people of NSW.

It has been a privilege to serve as a loyal Cabinet Minister for nearly six years, having participated in a number of crucial reforms that only Labor Governments can achieve.

I am especially proud to have had stewardship of the most significant education reforms we have witnessed in Australia, like the national curriculum, first national teaching standards and much needed investment for literacy and numeracy and indigenous education.

This culminated in the passage into law today of the Australian Education Bill.

We now have a new, fairer funding system based on the Gonski review which will ensure the needs of young Australians are met regardless of where they live or how much money their parents earn.

I pay tribute to Julia Gillard for having the foresight, courage and tenacity to drive these reforms, that will give thousands of young Australians a better future.

I am also proud to have committed our government to a world class system of marine parks, placed the Kimberley region on our National Heritage list, introduced the first e-waste recycling scheme and ensured resale royalties for Australian artists, including Indigenous artists.

These along with a host of other significant actions across many portfolios, have been the mark of a truly reforming Labor Government.

I wish the government well.






  1. Well… if Peter wants to reunite the Oils I’m sure he’d have plenty to write about for the next album.

  2. Nothing like claiming to be “a team player” and then quitting when your woman doesn’t win. If you don’t want to seek re-election that’s fine, but finish your term.

    • It’s SOP for senior ministers to resign, so the new PM can name his own people. He will continue to serve as MP, but won’t seek reelection.

      That’s a team player.

  3. ive always been a fan of peter and his music, last time i spoke to peter at his home he was right into making a difference and sticking in there when the times get tough, to me i see his dash out the door as a sign that he himself along with a few others that also joined him out the back door, to be apart of the engine that help politically assassinate Keven Rudd, and they know he knows that…. shame what happen to words like Duty and teamwork, and the most important loyalty and Honor

  4. Jim McCabe

    Hey tall one, reform the Oils!

  5. Thanks for the clarification, Jake.

  6. That 80's Guy

    Obviously Midnight Oil will be doing a reunion tour. Why else would he resign?

  7. I like nothing about Garrett. Neither his grotesque gyrations nor his ranting hectoring vocal style. He is gruesomely grotesque. He sold out on the Greens for expedience. He would prefer to see a very right wing PM Abbott than swallow his considerable ego and accede to the wishes of the Australian people to have Rudd whom they elected in the first place and whom he helped dispose. He is all ego this bloke and musically very untalented. To see him grandstanding at Mr Yunupingu’s funeral was galling; he was smiling while the relatives were grief struck. It made me sick like his awful music.

  8. Garrett was a disappointment from the time he got elected, partially because he abandoned completely those principles he espoused prior to his political career, but also because he was inept in his portfolios eg his failure to administer the Home Insulation Program, instead allowing the PM’s office to do it, he should have resigned before allowing that to happen. He may claim responsibility for education ‘reform’, but he did not drive it, Gillard did and she managed it, Garrett was simply a front man.

    In all the interviews I saw he delivered nothing but spin, no substance.

    He back flipped on his opposition to the alliance with the US and to the Pine Gap Facility. He supported the ALP’s abandonment of the 3 mine policy, he supported the Bell Bay Pulp Mill in the Tamar Valley of Tasmania, approved a plan to dredge Pt Phillip Bay. As the Minister for the environment he approved the major expansion of South Australia’s Beverley uranium mine, saying the uranium mine would use world’s best practice for environmental protection, ignoring the long term environmental problem of waste, the complete destruction of the environment within the mine’s footprint, the hazards of nuclear power such as Chernobyl and what would soon happen in Japan following the tsunami – a disaster that had long been forewarned. For all of his pre politician protestations in support of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia he stood silent on the NT Intervention. He opposed bi-lingual education and in doing ignored the plethora of research that demonstrates it works, he supported the return to assimilationist policies. Shame on him, shame on the continuing outrage that is the Intervention, shame, shame! He along with Jenny Macklin regrettably; like most of the rest of the odd bag of mixed lollies that makes up the elected members of the Australia’s Senate and House of Reps; remained committed to ‘moving forward’ instead of moving on to someplace else where he and her(and the majority of the rest of their elected colleagues) can do no more harm. He resigned 6 years too late.

    • Hear! Hear! I couldn’t have said it better Forrest. I was disgusted with how Peter Garrett turned his back on everything he supposedly believed in for political expediency. He was an absolute disaster politically from beginning to end.

      I would think if Midnight Oil have any scruples and if they want any credibility, they will find another front person, since it would be a complete joke for this man to front their band at this point.

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