Politics: Peter Garrett

Is it ‘Your Honor’, Dr. Garrett, or just Peter today?

You can call me anything you like but just don’t call me soft.

What made you quit Midnight Oil after twenty-nine years and go into politics?

I think that we had an incredible go at it. I certainly found musically that we’d taken it about as far as we could. I’d already done a lot of the work in politics. And we’d spoken a lot about it, so when the opportunity came to make that real I decided to take it.

Which was more interesting: being the Minister of the Environment or Education?

I think education in some ways. When I was Environment Minister, I had already been an activist so I knew the issues pretty well. But in educational it was a new game for me. I enjoyed it a lot. I never once felt as though what I was doing wasn’t useful.

How dirty a game is politics? Is there a difference to the music industry?

Oh, they’re very different. Obviously it’s about processes and political compromises and putting policies in place. But it’s not cleaner or dirtier than other aspects of life. Other than the fact that some of the people who work in politics have been playing the game for most of their life.

What made you quit politics last year?

I’ve done what I could and I felt I needed to get out and do some other things. I still had life in my legs and the Prime Minister I supported was challenged by the former Prime Minister I didn’t support.