Rockstar turned politician Peter Garrett has announced that he will quit politics at the next election, following an incredible evening that saw Julia Gillard lose the prime ministership to Kevin Rudd after a leadership spill of the federal Labor Party.
The Midnight Oils frontman has also decided to quit cabinet, leaving behind the school education, early childhood and youth portfolio, following a number of other cabinet colleagues who also quit the ministry.
“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,” Garrett said in a statement.
“I believe I have always acted in the best interests of the Party and the Government. I was a front-man who chose to be a team player and make a difference in politics. I do not, for one moment, regret that choice.”
“I am 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.”
“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.”
Thanks for all the support, no regrets here as I resign as Minister and rejoin my dear family with good things done for our nation. PG
— Peter Garrett AM MP (@PGarrettMP) June 26, 2013
Peter Garrett was elected as the Labor Member for Kingsford Smith at the 2004 federal election. During his time in politics he’s been responsible for a number of ministerial portfolios including for the environment, heritage, the arts, and more recently for school education, early childhood and youth.
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.
Garrett’s enthusiasm and passion for music was largely evident in his political career, with the 59-year-old regularly speaking out about the importance of music in the school curriculum, including a 2011 speech to a NSW high school on the subject, as well as the importance of the live music scene – and especially the Sydney venues he and his band started their early career in.
Earlier this month, Garrett joined NSW live music venue Playbar in the fight against Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, who has been threatening the security of the Surry Hills bar located just beneath her offices, after lodging multiple noise complaints to Sydney City Council against the newly established venue.