The Political Power and the Passion (or Back Benches Are Burning)
November 30, 2006 7:59 PM   Subscribe

AustralianPoliticsFilter: Congressman John "Orleans" Hall has nothing on Midnight Oil's Peter Garrett, who quit singing political rock to start rocking politics, was elected to the Aussie Parliament in '04 and has now been named the Labor Party's "Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Reconciliation and the Arts" (whew, what a title). But it's not all "Blue Sky (His)": he's been attacked by a former environmental activist ally in the Green Party and mimicked by Treasurer Peter (no relation to Elvis) Costello. At least he's healthy, unlike some Australian singers (or singers in Australia).
posted by wendell (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This will wendell, wendell.

Sorry couldn't help myself.

Peter Garrett is an interesting character. He'd make an excellent environmental minister but I think he'll be stifled on just how effective his policies could be in a Labor Party that is seemingly lurching ever more further away from it's social democratic roots. I'm not so sure he'd make a great PM as was suggested by Daniel Johns during this years ARIAs but he'll probably be better than Beazley is apparently doing and let's face it, anyone is preferable to Howard and his band of goons.

And while we're on the subject of Howard and his goons, the Costello 'Beds Are Burning' clip is undeniably hilarious (especially Hawker's stern-faced lack of humour) but for the love of fuck, does he have to keep dragging out the Centenary House thing? Message to Pete: LABOR SOLD THE HOUSE! THE ISSUE IS DEAD AND BURIED. THE WORLD HAS MOVED ON!

Fucking wanker he is.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:37 PM on November 30, 2006

Brown is a wanker. The essence of his whinge is that Garrett as campaigning, shock horror, for the Labor Party. Like he's one of their members or something!!!
posted by wilful at 8:43 PM on November 30, 2006

Effigy, it's taken me 7 years to become a meme here. I'm gonna enjoy it til mathowie takes my t-bird away. But do you have a video link for Costello's performance? Do they have YouTube Down Under? (KIDDING)
posted by wendell at 8:44 PM on November 30, 2006

do you have a video link

wendell, you linked to one yourself. Under the photograph, it says "video: pete's moves". It takes you to news' video content page, not directly to the clip, but if you do a search for "costello", the clip's there. (though it's not nearly as good as I'd hoped).
posted by bunglin jones at 8:52 PM on November 30, 2006

Do they have YouTube Down Under? (KIDDING)

Not at all wendell. It's in keeping with the tone and quality of your post.
posted by peacay at 8:54 PM on November 30, 2006

What wilful said.
posted by sien at 9:18 PM on November 30, 2006

It's in keeping with the tone and quality of your post.
Not sure if I should take that as a compliment...

If you don't like this, here's what I just posted at MoFi.
posted by wendell at 9:35 PM on November 30, 2006

Do they have YouTube Down Under? (KIDDING)

We do, only here it's called YouBeaut.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:47 PM on November 30, 2006

I heard that in Canada, it's called YouHoser.
Why am I derailing my own thread?
posted by wendell at 9:54 PM on November 30, 2006

Actually, the essence of Bob Brown's complaint is not simply that Garrett is campaigning for the Labor Party, but that in doing so, he is contradicting the very kinds of beliefs that made him famous from his Midnight Oil, Nuclear Disarmament Party, Australian Conservation Foundation & Greenpeace days:

Senator Brown has said Mr Garrett once was opposed to uranium mining, logging of native forests and nuclear-powered ships docking in Australian ports.

"The Greens remain strong on the principles Peter once sang about."

One might add that Garrett seems to have had fuck all impact on Australian politics. Have two years really passed since he was elected? Who has ever heard him do or say anything at all on the national stage? For lefties like me who grew up inspired at least partially by Garrett's message, he has been nothing but a severe disappointment in politics.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:56 PM on November 30, 2006
posted by clyde at 9:57 PM on November 30, 2006

Why am I derailing my own thread?

Some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, I think, wendell.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:57 PM on November 30, 2006

Brown's absolutely right about Garrett. His only political function is as a sponge for Labor, to soak up as many Green votes as they can without actually taking any left-wing positions. He seems a nice enough guy, but he's being used.
posted by stammer at 10:20 PM on November 30, 2006

Yes, we have YouTube down under. We also have Fosters. Sometimes they come together.
posted by tellurian at 10:21 PM on November 30, 2006

Here's Brown's full speech on Garrett.
posted by stammer at 10:31 PM on November 30, 2006

I've met Garrett, and believe he is genuinely passionate about the liberal cause (remember his first foray into politics was nuclear disarmament, and Midnight Oil were heavily anti US-forces (so to speak) in the 80s when nuclear death seemed the biggest hazard.
I think it can be summarized as can you be most effective outside the political process, as an agitator, or working for change from within?
I think Peter is a great test case to answer this question, and I expect his low national profile, although he does lots of press the flesh stuff, even in another state last week for the Bracks Victorian re-election, is part of Beazley's (in my opinion flawed) "don't startle the horses" strategy.
Yuck, what a horrible sentence.
Anyway, I think Beazley believes after 10+ years of conservative government that the public has been conditioned to react negatively to overt left wing displays, so Garrett is being fenced in to tow the more moderate line until they win government.
I expect then he will take the same role Malcolm Turnbull plays for the conservatives, a maverick full of big ideas, who can be forgiven if those ideas don't poll well, but is a great tool to float new, more controversial policy.
Am I cynical, you bet, but I have learnt that a dishonest government can sink a sincere opposition everytime.
Take a leaf from the US Dems... get back in power, them frame the debate to achieve your ends.
Federal labor is in a mess generally, although hopefully the latest leadership spill will result in some stability.
My own opinion is Julia Gillard is the horse to back for electoral success, either on her own, or as a Rudd deputy.
posted by bystander at 4:12 AM on December 1, 2006

What the Greens are complaining about is Peter Garret being used to parrot lies without checking the facts. In the recent Victorian election I got a personalised letter from Peter Garrett claiming the Greens had given preference to Liberal party in Victoria when it is easy to check that the Greens did no such thing anywhere in Victoria.. this was frequently repeated on the Labor campaign trail despite being not the case.
posted by zog at 4:35 AM on December 1, 2006

My own opinion is Julia Gillard is the horse to back for electoral success, either on her own, or as a Rudd deputy.

You've got to be kidding me. Gillard is a dolt. She is Labor's Pauline Hanson. That people stick microphones under her chin says more about the overall talentless bunch of cretins that constitute the federal Labor party these days than it does about any political nous on her part. Rudd is an arrogant twat but at least is he is halfway intelligent.

Labor is in tatters. The outcome of the leadership contest this coming monday is completely irrelevant because Labor is completely irrelevant. They need to get some decent horse flesh and it is unlikely to come from the backbenches.
posted by peacay at 5:24 AM on December 1, 2006

errr...that first para in my last comment should be in italics to indicate I'm quoting bystander.
posted by peacay at 5:25 AM on December 1, 2006

Do they have YouTube Down Under?

Yeah, it's called Pornotube! [/dodges rotten fruit]
posted by jonp72 at 6:22 AM on December 1, 2006

What I have learned: Horses are important in Australian politics.
posted by asok at 8:50 AM on December 1, 2006

Peter Garrett is going to be far more effective in Australain politics than Bob Brown in the long run, I predict.

Part of the reason taht the Greens are so practically ineffective is their holier than thou attitude and inability to represent a broader church. Until they start considering governing for the majority of Australians, they'll remain an ineffective minority.

The Democrats have done a lot more for progressive reform of laws than the Greens have. But they're tarred with the brush of pragmatism, while Bob Brown's shit apparently don't stink.

I applaud Peter Garrett going into Federal politics as if he doesn't ahve all of the answers and has stuff to learn. He refused a Shadow Ministry when recruited - but maybe he'll get one come Monday.
posted by wilful at 6:08 PM on December 1, 2006

As much as I admire Peter Garrett, and have been a Midnight Oil fan since I was a teenager, him getting wheeled out to parrot untruths developed within the bowels of the Labor propaganda machine for the Victorian election shows he has been pretty much assimilated into the Labor machine and wont do much good there.
posted by zog at 7:26 PM on December 1, 2006

« Older Ancient tsunami devastated Mediterranean   |   It's so wrong but it feels so right Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments