Peter Garrett

Activist, former politician and lead singer of Midnight Oil
'Trashing our crown jewel: The fate of the Great Barrier Reef in the coal age'
Tuesday, 24 October 2017
Arrive from 11.30am, lunch 12 noon, speaker 12.30 concludes 1.30pm
Canberra - 16 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600

Registrations for this event are now closed. Please contact reception for further details.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living organism, and Australia’s most important natural asset.

Yet a healthy future for the Reef hangs is in jeopardy after a number of recent extreme coral bleaching events as oceans warm, and water quality in and around the Reef is not improving.

Increased risks to the Reef are expected in the form of the proposed giant Carmichael coal mine in Central Queensland to be operated by the Adani Corporation over a lifetime of 60 years.

Local and popular opposition to the mine is intensifying, and yet the Federal and Queensland governments still remain in thrall to Adani, despite significant reservations concerning the corporation’s business practices and both the economics and the operation of the mine and port.

Australia has a global responsibility to ensure the Great Barrier Reef is properly protected and there’s no time to lose.

As a cabinet minister in the first Rudd and Gillard governments, Peter Garrett brings a unique perspective on the opportunities for driving change both in government, and in the outside world.


Peter Garrett is one of our most prominent living Australians.

Well known as an activist, the former politician and lead singer of Midnight Oil was the youngest ever President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, serving two terms (1989-1996), which included the establishment of Landcare, and the protection of Queensland’s Wet Tropics, The South East Forests of NSW and Jervis Bay.

Peter entered Parliament in 2004 and following the election of a Labor government in 2007 was appointed Minister for the Environment, Heritage & the Arts.

This role saw substantial additions to Australia’s natural reserve system – particularly to Indigenous Protected Areas – increased investment and programs for conservation of the Great Barrier Reef, spearheading the campaign against so called “scientific whaling” in the Antarctic culminating in Australia successfully taking Japan to the International Court of Justice.

In 2010 Peter Garrett was the only Australian politician to receive the ‘Leaders for a Living Planet’ award from WWF Australia & International.

Following the 2010 election Peter was sworn in as Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth.

In that role he secured a broad suite of education reforms, including successfully legislating for the first time, a need-based funding system (the Gonski reforms) for schools.

After leaving Parliament in 2013 Peter’s memoir ‘Big Blue Sky’ was published, and in 2016 he released his first solo album ‘A Version of Now’, which debuted in the top ten of the Australian charts.

In 2017 Midnight Oil announced a return to touring and are currently half way through the final leg of The Great Circle Tour which has played to sold out audiences world wide, earning the band widespread critical acclaim.

“Collectively, the Oils proved more than ready to take on all comers for the title of the world’s most exhilarating live rock band.” – Jeff Elbe, Illinois Entertainer, USA