Garrett was lead singer of the rock band Midnight Oil from 1973 until its disbanding in 2002. He served as President of the Australian Conservation Foundation for a total of 10 years and, in 2003, was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to the environment and music industry.
He has been an Australian Labor Party member of the House of Representatives for the seat of Kingsford Smith, New South Wales, since October 2004. After the Labor Party won in the November 2007 election, Garrett was appointed Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. On 8 March 2010, his portfolio title was changed to Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts. He continued in this role in Julia Gillard's first Ministry. He was re-elected at the 2010 election and was appointed Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth by Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He was sworn into this portfolio on 14 September 2010 as a member of the Second Gillard Ministry. In 2009, the French Government appointed Garrett an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. In 2010, WWF Australia and International presented him with their Leaders for a Living Planet award.
Music and activism 
Born on 16 April 1953, in Wahroonga, Sydney, Garrett attended Gordon West Public School and then Barker College in Hornsby before studying arts at the Australian National University (ANU), where he was a resident at Burgmann College, and later law at the University of New South Wales. About the same time he became a singer with the Australian rock band Midnight Oil in 1973, after responding to an advertisement placed by one of the band's founding members, Rob Hirst. In tandem with their musical and commercial success, the band were long identified with environmental causes. They were particularly critical of United States' military and foreign policies during the 1980s.
Garrett was president of the Australian Conservation Foundation (1989–93, 1998–2004). He joined the international board of Greenpeace in 1993 for a two-year term. He served as adviser and patron to various cultural and community organisations, including Jubilee Debt Relief, and was a founding member of the Surfrider Foundation.
On and off stage, Midnight Oil often made political statements. At the closing ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, the group performed before the Prime Minister, John Howard, and a television audience of hundreds of millions, wearing black overalls bearing the word "sorry". This referred to the Howard Government's refusal to apologise to Aboriginal Australians for the former policy of removing of Aboriginal children from their families.
In 2000, Garrett was awarded the Australian Humanitarian Foundation Award in the environment category and in 2001 he received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of New South Wales. He left Midnight Oil in 2002 to concentrate on his environmental and social activism, effectively spelling the end for the group. He has since ruled out any future musical projects, stating that his musical career was always exclusively bound to Midnight Oil.
Australian federal politics 
Garrett's first attempt at entering politics was in 1984, when the Nuclear Disarmament Party invited him to stand for a New South Wales seat in the Australian Senate at the federal election in December. He refused at first, but after consulting the band, he agreed on condition that he head the ticket. He needed 12.5% of the vote to win a seat in the Senate voting system, but a primary vote of 9.6% was insufficient when Labor gave its preferences to the conservative Liberal and National Parties ahead of the NDP.
In June 2004, Labor leader Mark Latham announced that Garrett would become an Australian Labor Party candidate for the House of Representatives at the 2004 federal election, in the safe New South Wales seat of Kingsford Smith which was being vacated by the former Cabinet minister Laurie Brereton. There was some initial criticism from Labor members in the electorate, as this overrode the local branch's wishes. He won an easy victory on 9 October, increasing the Labor majority there.
In June 2005, Garrett was appointed Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Reconciliation and the Arts.
Garrett has modified many of his earlier views and says he is now a "team player" in the Labor Party. He now supports the U.S.-Australia alliance, and no longer opposes the Joint U.S-Australian Defence Facility at Pine Gap. He says he will argue for environmental causes inside the Labor Party, but will observe the decisions of the ALP caucus, including accepting any decision to change Labor's "no new uranium mines" policy. Garrett's change of stance drew criticism from both journalists and Midnight Oil fans, who contrasted Garrett's former pronouncements on environmental and political issues he made before joining the Australian Labor Party.
While the media sometimes labelled him a "turncoat", some commentators, such as the Canberra Times columnist John Warhurst, defended his need to be a "team player" if he was going to play the political game "from the inside".
Garrett campaigned for Labor in the 2006 Victorian State election. There was controversy when he sent a letter to the constituents of the seat of Melbourne, where Labor and the Greens were embroiled in a tight contest. In the letter Garrett urged voters not to vote for the Greens, claiming they were in alliance with the conservative Liberal party. This incurred the ire of Greens leader and former Garrett ally, Bob Brown who accused Garrett of having "sold out" and of going against the green movement, since joining the Labor Party
In December 2006 Kevin Rudd, the newly-elected Labor Party leader, announced that he planned to appoint Garrett to his front bench. Garrett was subsequently appointed as Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment & Heritage, Arts.
In the 2007 Federal election, Garrett was re-elected to his seat with a 4.56% swing towards him. However, his campaign was fraught with a number of tactical errors, including journalist Steve Price claiming that Garrett had said to him that Labor would simply change all their policies once they got into power. This was disputed by Garrett as a "short jocular conversation".
On 29 November 2007, the Prime Minister-elect, Kevin Rudd, named Garrett Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts; however, his responsibilities did not include the climate change role, which was given to Penny Wong.
On 20 December 2007, Garrett approved a controversial plan to dredge Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay. This move has attracted strong criticism from environmental groups who are concerned that the 23 million cubic metres of sand, rock and contaminated silt dredged from the bay's shipping channels will affect fishing and tourism in the area.
Garrett approved a major expansion of South Australia's Beverley uranium mine in August 2008, saying the uranium mine would use world's best practice for environmental protection. Garrett's decision was praised by the uranium industry, but criticised by the Australian Conservation Foundation which said the decision would result in the mine spreading acid and radioactive pollution over 100 square kilometres.
In January 2009 it was discovered that the Christmas Island Pipistrelle (a type of bat) had an estimated four individuals left. An immediate capturing project was requested to save the species, and efforts for approval included a personal meeting with Garrett, who was the environment minister at the time. Due to a potential cost of a few hundred thousand dollars, the government decided against quick action and instead undertook a bureaucratic feasibility study. After its eventual assent in August 2009 a team of experts travelled to Christmas Island to capture the remaining individuals but only one was detected, which managed not to be caught. Its subsequent disappearance may be one of very few times extinction has been witnessed first-hand.
In 2009, Garrett would not give the proposed $2 billion mill in the Tamar Valley the go ahead until more studies were undertaken on its potential impacts to marine environments. A new condition was put on the mill meaning Gunns could be liable for criminal and civil penalties if the mill is approved and breaks defined "environmental limits".
In December 2009 Garrett made his final decision on the Traveston Crossing Dam (on the Mary River (Queensland), rejecting the proposal. Garrett determined that the impacts of the proposed dam on nationally listed threatened species (Australian lungfish, the Mary River Turtle and the Mary River cod) would be too great and unacceptable impacts on matters of national environmental significance.
On 26 February 2010 the Prime Minister reduced his appointment to the Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts. This demotion was in response to Garrett's administration of the Home Insulation Program (HIP) which was linked to four deaths, over 100 house fires and allegations of fraud.
It was revealed in May 2010 that Garrett had written to the then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, on four occasions raising concerns about safety. Further to this, the Hon Gary Gray – Special Minister of State and Special Minister of State for the Public Service and Integrity, revealed that the environment minister was demoted, losing responsibility for the insulation program, because Rudd had a shocking interview on The 7.30 Report and needed a scapegoat.
He states: "The majority of caucus felt he had been badly treated. For Rudd and his office to position Garrett as the fall guy was disgraceful, weak, sneaky, unprincipled and just plain wrong. All along, Peter properly put his objections to the administration of the program on the record. How can you have a situation where Rudd executes complete and total influence, micromanages everything, yet not the home insulation program? The shape and execution of the program was certainly designed by the prime minister's office, if not the prime minister himself." 
Garrett was re-elected at the August 2010 election with a substantially reduced majority, surviving a two party preferred negative swing of 8.1%. After the election he was appointed Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth.
On 2 February 2012, Garrett, with the Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin, announced an expansion of the Improving School Enrolment and Attendance through Welfare Reform Measure (SEAM), a controversial program under which parents of indigenous students in the Northern Territory can have their Centrelink payments suspended for three months if their children are not attending or enrolled in school. Though the Government claims that it improves indigenous school attendance, it has been heavily criticised by indigenous spokespeople and academics for being excessively punitive rather than implementing other more popular policies that have been far more effective in improving school attendance, such as reinstating bilingual learning. Furthermore, the Government has been criticised for being deceptive about getting a mandate for this from consultation with indigenous leaders.
Political positions 
On 7 September 2011, as Education Minister, Garrett announced a Government alteration of the National School Chaplaincy Program by offering schools the opportunity to employ, instead of "a religious support worker" (chaplain), a "secular student well-being officer".
Personal life 
- Garrett is married and has three daughters.
- Garrett's childhood was spent in Wahroonga, the oldest of three boys who all attended Barker College.
- His father died while he was still at school. His mother died in a fire at the family home, during his period at university.
- In 2007 the artist Michael Mucci entered a portrait of Garrett in the Archibald Prize.
- Garrett is the uncle of Nickelodeon Australia personality Maude Garrett.
See also 
- "About Peter". Peter Garrett. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- "The night a man woke up to mortality, love and civic duty". 13 June 2004. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- "It's an Honour:AM". Itsanhonour.gov.au. 9 June 2003. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- "Australia's Rudd unveils cabinet". BBC News. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- Today 21 °C Tonight 16 °C (24 August 2010). "Peter Garrett retains Kingsford Smith". Southern Courier. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- White, Cassie (11 September 2010). "Gillard unveils major frontbench shake-up – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- "Parliament of Australia: House of Representatives – Members". Aph.gov.au. 16 April 1953. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- Awards, ANU media release – 3 June 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
- Yes, I was a teenage stoner, says candid Minchin. The Age. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- About UNSW & Sydney, UNSW. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
- AU. "Peter Garrett (Peter Garrett)". MySpace. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- "ABC news". Abc.net.au. 15 March 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- Gillian Fisher, Half-Life: NDP: peace, protest and party politics. State Library of New South Wales Press (Sydney) 1995.
- "PM – Peter Garrett back flips on Pine Gap". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- Heywood, Lachlan. (12 December 2006). "Power Beats Passion", The Courier-Mail
- Garrett denies selling out beliefs, The Daily Telegraph (Australia) (1 April 2007). Retrieved 15 April 2007.[dead link]
- "Politics is a team sport". Eureka Street. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- "Brown sees red over Garrett 'sell out' – National". Sydney Morning Herald. 29 November 2006. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- ALP (10 December 2006). "Shadow Ministry 10 December 2006" (PDF). Labor eHerald. Archived from the original on 28 November 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2007.
- "Garrett pathetic over pulp mill: Howard". The Sydney Morning Herald. 9 October 2007. Retrieved 5 November 2007.
- "Australian Electoral Commission summary of Kingsford Smith, Federal Election 2007.". Australian Electoral Commission. 19 December 2007. Retrieved 19 December 2007.
- Topsfield, Jewel. "Garrett stripped of climate change role", The Age, 30 November 2007.
- "Kevin Rudd's Cabinet in full", news.com.au, 29 November 2007.
- "Garrett approves Port Phillip dredging". theage.com.au. 20 December 2007. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- "Counter-terrorism police seek meeting with bay activists – Climate Watch". The Age (Melbourne). 16 January 2008. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- "Stoush brewing over Port Phillip dredging plan". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 9 January 2008. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- Franklin, Matthew (29 August 2008). "Uranium mine gets nod from Peter Garrett". The Australian. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
- Alexander, Cathy (28 August 2008). "Garrett changes tune on uranium". News Limited. Retrieved 29 August 2008.[dead link]
- Usher, Robin (24 October 2008). "Canberra axes music academy funds". The Age (Melbourne). Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- Lumsden, L., Racey, P.A. & Hutson, A.M. (2010). "Pipistrellus murrayi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. IUCN. Retrieved 2012-11-20.
- Tim, Flannery (17 November 2012). "Unmourned death of a sole survivor". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2012-11-21. "In an attempt to avert it I met Peter Garrett, then the environment minister, and warned him of the impending loss. I had brought offers of assistance and expertise from the Australian Mammal Society to his attention. The society was confident the species could be saved – at a cost of perhaps only a few hundred thousand dollars. But Garrett was convinced by the orthodoxy that ecosystems rather than species should be the focus of the national conservation effort, and I got the message that nothing would be done."
- Maiden, Siobhan (5 January 2009). "Pulp mill decision announced". ABC Northern Tasmania – Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- November – Year in review 2009: Bigpond News 14 December 2009[dead link]
-  Garrett rejects Traveston Dam Australian Broadcasting Corporation 11 November 2009
- "Print Email Share Garrett pays price for insulation debacle". Abc.net.au. 26 February 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- "Garrett 'disappointed' by demotion". Abc.net.au. 2 March 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- "Insulation firms eligible for $500k payout". Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 6 May 2010
- "Rudd admits insulation scheme mistakes". Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 28 May 2010
- "The Drum – The killing of Tyrannosaurus Rudd". ABC. 18 October 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- "The Gillard ministry". The Sydney Morning Herald. 11 September 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
- Julia Gillard MP (11 September 2010). "Prime Minister announces new Ministry" (Press release). ALP. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
- Schools given greater choice under expanded chaplains program, media release, 7 September 2011. Retrieved 9 September 2011
- National School Chaplaincy Program document
- Chaplaincy change a crisis of faith, Breanna Tucker, Canberra Times, and on 20 August 2012 peter garrett decided to keep ladelling public money out to the elitist schools of australia, whos clientelle are the rich elite. 8 September 2011
- High Court upholds chaplaincy challenge – Australian Broadcasting Corporation – Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "The personal price of a political choice". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 June 2004. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
- Cleary, John (9 June 1999). "The Religion Report – 9/06/99". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 6 October 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
- "Google Image Result for http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/aws07/__data/page/9527/BG_Mucci.jpg". Google .au. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
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- Garrett's maiden speech in the House of Representatives
- Peter Garrett's personal webpage
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- How Peter Garrett lost his voice Discusses Garrett's early years and family
as Minister for the Environment and Water Resources
|Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts
as Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts
as Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts
|Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts
as Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
as Minister for the Arts
as Minister for Education
|Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth
as Minister for Early Childhood Education, Child Care and Youth
|Parliament of Australia|
|Member for Kingsford Smith