Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] PG - one step closer to Canberra??

Tari, Vince Vince.Tari at nmhg.com
Sat Apr 24 21:38:54 MDT 2004


Labor plans to use Midnight Oil's Peter Garrett to derail Turnbull - Glenn

April 25, 2004
IN a last-ditch effort to stop high-flying Liberal Malcolm Turnbull getting
to Parliament, sections of the NSW Labor Party are pushing for
environmentalist and ex-Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett to run against
the former merchant banker at the Federal election, due before the end of
the year.

In return, Garrett would be assured the Labor candidate in Wentworth would
run "dead" and Garrett would receive ALP preferences.

The plan, being floated inside the ALP, follows the Greens' barnstorming of
inner Sydney city councils at the March local government elections.

The party doubled its vote across NSW.

Wentworth is a fringe CBD seat east of the city, regarded as blue-ribbon
Liberal, but with a swing of just under 8 per cent for it to fall. This
seems a more likely prospect after the recent preselection battle that saw
Mr Turnbull oust one-term sitting member Peter King in what the King camp
described as "the mother of all branch-stacks".

Many Liberals in the seat are disillusioned over what they see as Mr
Turnbull's brutal treatment of Mr King.

Mr King, in turn, is still refusing to say whether he might run as an

If he were to contest, it could force Mr Turnbull to preferences, making him
vulnerable to a combined preference flow to Mr Garrett. 

"The King scenario would make the Garrett plan much more plausible," a
senior Federal Labor frontbencher said. 

The ALP's experience in the Federal seat of New England has convinced some
in the party that Labor voters can be educated to direct their vote
elsewhere, if required.

Two elections ago in New England, the ALP vote was 23 per cent. But that
fell to 10 per cent last time after the party urged supporters to vote for
Tony Windsor, an independent, denying the National Party a previously safe

Mr Garrett has yet to receive a formal approach from Labor regarding
Wentworth. Greens Leader Bob Brown last tried to get Mr Garrett to run a
year ago, but Senator Brown says at that time the President of the
Australian Conservation Foundation indicated his priorities lay outside

However, Mr Garrett was asked by The Sunday Telegraph earlier this month
whether he'd consider running in this year's election.

"I'm keeping a watching brief on it," Mr Garrett said.

The inspiration for the Garrett plan was Clover Moore, the independent who
stunned Labor last month by defeating its candidate, Michael Lee, for the
Lord Mayoralty of Sydney.

On realising she had become a real threat during the campaign, some at Labor
HQ discussed approaching her with a deal: in return for pulling out of the
mayoral race, she would get a similar preference deal in Wentworth to that
now being mooted for Mr Garrett.

But Ms Moore announced she would keep her State seat and Labor's plan was

Now the same deal is being talked about for Mr Garrett.

Bob Brown would like his mate to run for Parliament but won't pressure him.

That pressure has increased, though: thanks to the ALP.