Australia’s environment minister rocks

Posted by Laura Grant on November 30, 2007
Posted in Green News

Peter Garrett, the two-metre tall, bald-headed former frontman of Australian rock group Midnight Oil, has been made the environment minister by the country’s newly elected Labor government.


His band, which was very popular in South Africa in the late-1980s, sang about environmental and social injustice. “Beds are Burning”, a song about Aboringinal land rights, was an international hit. In 1990, the band reportedly also staged an impromptu concert outside oil company Exxon’s headquarters in New York with a banner that read: “Midnight Oil Makes You Dance, Exxon Oil Makes Us Sick.” The group disbanded in 2002 and Garrett turned his attention to politics.

In what is widely reported as “punishment” for political gaffes he made on the campaign trail, Garrett did not get responsibility for climate change, this was given to another minister Penny Wong, 39, who is Malaysian-born and openly gay.The change in government is good news for the UN’s Kyoto agreement. Australia has been one of the major greenhouse gas emitters – the US is the other one – that has refused to ratify the protocol and agree to emissions reduction targets.Kevin Rudd, Australia’s new prime minister, has already decided to ratify the protocol and participate fully in the fight against climate change, the Guardian reports, leaving the US somewhat out in the cold. In fact, Rudd has said he will join Garret and Wong at the Bali meeting of environment ministers to discuss the future of the Kyoto agreement beyond 2012.


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