5 August 2013: Peter finished his third term as the federal Member for Kingsford Smith

27 June 2013: Peter Garrett resigned from his position as Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth and will not recontest the upcoming election as Member for Kingsford Smith. Read Peter’s statement of 26 June 2013

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Peter Garrett was elected as the Labor Member for Kingsford Smith at the 2004 federal election. In 2007, he was appointed Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts following the election of a Federal Labor Government on 24 November. On 8 March 2010, following a restructure of the Department of the Environment, Peter was sworn in as Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts.

Following the 2010 federal election, Peter was sworn in as the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth on 14 September 2010.

Widely known as a passionate advocate and campaigner on a range of contemporary Australian and global issues, he was the former president Australian Conservation Foundation, an activist, and former member of Australian band Midnight Oil.

The ‘Oils’ were renowned for their fierce independent stance and active support of a range of contemporary concerns including the plight of homeless youth, indigenous people’s rights and protection of the environment.

The band’s protest and benefit shows, notably the anti-Exxon performance on a truck-top in the streets of New York and, of course, the ‘sorry suits’ performance at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games closing ceremony were hallmarks of a thirteen-album career culminating in the ARIA lifetime achievement award in 2006.

Peter served two terms as president of the Australian Conservation Foundation. In his first term, from 1989 to 1993, significant results were achieved for many threatened areas of the Australian environment including the Queensland Wet Tropics rainforest and Jervis Bay in NSW. In his second term, the ACF grew strongly, developed partnerships with non-government organisations and business, and expanded its campaigning into marine conservation and northern Australia.

He received the Australian Humanitarian Foundation Award ( environment category) in 2000, and in 2003 received the Order of Australia (Member General Division) for his contribution to environment and the music industry. In 2009, the French Government appointed Peter an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. In 2010, WWF Australia and International presented Peter with their Leaders for a Living Planet award.

Peter is married, has three adult daughters and lives in Randwick.

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Find out more about Peter via the following links.

Words + music

For me, music is still the food of life and books remain the great reservoir of imagination and insight, ie the good stuff for us all to draw on. I’m not listening or reading as much as I’d like but here’s a sample.


Zeitoun, Dave Eggers Jackson’s Track, Carolyn Landon and Daryl Tonkin The Boat, Nam Le People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks March, Geraldine Brooks The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island, Chloe Hooper Cloudstreet, Tim Winton Jamaica, Malcolm Knox Remembering Babylon, David Malouf The Lost Boys, Sam de Brito A Fraction of the Whole, Steve Toltz The Bookseller of Kabul, Asne Seierstad Raindance: Australia’s longest summer, A C Flanagan Other Country, Stephen Scourfield The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama


Gurrumul, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu I Believe, Tyrone Noonan Sentimental Horses, The Millionaires The Last Ghost Train Home, Perry Keyes Memories & Dust, Josh Pyke Grand National, John Butler Trio California, Something For Kate

I’m often asked for ‘Top 10′ lists. These lists change over time but here are a couple of  my ‘Top 10s’ from the last few years

My 2009 TripleJ Top 10

      1. God of Small Things, Dragon From the new album ‘Happy I Am’: how neat to take Arundhati Roy and give her the Dragon classic pop rock treatment. Suits all ages.
      2. Bapa, Gurrumul I know this was a 2008 release but he has been touring in the UK/Europe in 2009, and is homesick. It’s a very beautiful record from a beautiful man.
      3. Someone So Much, Bob Evans Talk about multi-talented – the Jebs used to rip your heart out! The song-writing continues from the last solo album to be really evocative and warm. Wraps you up in blackbutt honey.
      4. Resistance, Muse I guess it was only a matter of time before someone channelled Queen. But Muse are more than that; very original, incredible playing and production skills, and so dramatic.
      5. Shark Fin Blues (live at the Hi-Fi), The Drones Bare boned, raw, and with lots of gut-movement. It would be great to sneak away and hear in a sweaty club.
      6. Losing Touch, The Killers They’re a very good band by the sounds of things. Can they keep it up? Who knows, but it’s great listening.
      7. 21 Guns, Green Day They just keep on delivering and straddling the line between their punk heritage, pop sensibilities, and a very fine ear for what makes a great song.
      8. Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse, Revenge The weird little keyboard really adds in this kind of hypnotic and very atmospheric song.
      9. Out The Airlock, Paul Dempsey Kind of interesting that singers and writers from really good bands are coming out and making really rich solo albums. And this is another one: strong and evocative.
      10. Hey Baby Come On, Kram See the above for Paul – but Kram plays the drums too!


And another Top 10

    1. Flame Trees, Cold Chisel This is Chisel at their best. Evocative country town narrative, two great voices, swing, and a glorious middle eight.
    2. All Along the Watchtower, Bob Dylan Poetry in motion – still utterly absorbing.
    3. Blue in Green, Miles Davis Hasn’t been touched, and isn’t likely to be while I’m still alive.
    4. Maybe I’m Amazed, Paul McCartney and Wings Great love song. Starts and stops and starts again like love encounters can.
    5. Evie, Parts I, II & III Harry Vanda and George Young, performed by Stevie Wright. Vanda and Young go bitter-sweet, and its got a great riff.
    6. Shipbuilding, Robert Wyatt performed by Elvis Costello. Costello does Robert Wyatt: a stunning song on the futility of war.
    7. Wide Open Road, The Triffids Sound of my Australia – aching big spaces.
    8. Heroes and Villains by the Beach Boys Brian was a gifted composer, and they were great singers.
    9. A Day in the Life, The Beatles Narrative from British life in the 50s and psychedelic jamming out: Lennon at his best.
    10. Anyone who had a Heart, Dusty Springfield Epic love pop song. Real emotion, sensational production.