Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] Peter Garrett's maiden speech - Rivers, global warming worry Garrett

Ross Locket rosslocket at optusnet.com.au
Wed Dec 8 02:36:33 MST 2004

Former rock star Peter Garrett used his maiden speech in federal parliament
to call for action on the environment and the plight of indigenous
The former Midnight Oil frontman was elected to the safe Sydney Labor seat
of Kingsford-Smith at the federal election.  He said he had a singular
passion for Australia.  "I do love a sunburned country its ancient
landscapes, its exhilarating reaches of sand and sea," he told parliament.
"And I value its traditions; none more so than the freedom to express an

"I've protested, sung, marched, written organised and campaigned on those
things I simply believed were important, not just to me but to the life of
the nation."

Mr Garrett expressed alarm at global warming, the state of Australia's
rivers and the record numbers of animals and plants which are facing
extinction.  "This is the roll call of evolution happening in the space of a
few generations," he said.  "The greatest loss of living things that make up
our biodiversity since the disappearance of the dinosaurs."

Mr Garrett said the government was not doing enough to address global
warming.  "The truth is that this government fiddles while Australia burns,"
he said.

Mr Garrett said that within a short time of Captain Cook landing in Botany
Bay, which is now located in Kingsford-Smith, local Aboriginal tribes had
been wiped out by small pox or run off by new settlers.  He said health
statistics showed indigenous Australians still faced significant
"Mr Speaker this nation really does need to get its act together on this
issue," he said.  Mr Garrett said he supported Labor because it was a part
of reform and social justice.  "Labor has a proud history," he said.

"A proud record as the primary party of reform and social justice on the
Australian political landscape."

Mr Garrett thanked the people of Kingsford-Smith for electing him to
parliament. He also thanked Midnight Oil fans.

"It's simply not possible for me to fully express here the unique adventure
that we had as a bunch of students who set off to conquer the local pubs and
then the world with a handful of songs about Oz and a dream to have a go of
making a living out of music that wasn't seen as commercial or likely to
succeed," he said.

"And I thank all those punters who came back again and again as we journeyed
through their suburbs and cities.

Mr Garrett revealed his Great Great Great Grandfather John Garrett and his
son Tom Garrett both served in the NSW Parliament in the nineteenth Century.

"There was more than a bit of Tory about both of them it seems and they were
both newspaper proprietors," he said.

"I want to ensure the House there is no genetic flow on here."

December 8, 2004
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