September 09, 2004


Peter Garrett has been largely concealed from media attention since his July 9 humiliation at the hands of The Today Show’s ruthless interrogation squad. So noticeable in following weeks was Garrett’s low profile that on August 30 Tony Eastley plaintively asked Mark Latham: "Where’s Peter Garrett?"

Where? Busy re-designing his website, for one thing, which initially involved removing all those embarrassing screeds that contradict current ALP policy. Yesterday Garrett was permitted to face his public, although the spaz-dancer’s minders made sure no pesky "grown-ups" with their complicated "questions" would be present.

Peter Garrett spoke to children at Matraville Soldiers Settlement Public School.

Chatting with those too young to vote possibly wasn’t the role imagined for the ALP’s star recruit when he was initially recruited. Still, after the wild-eyed backflippery of The Today Show, Garrett needed to ease his way back into the campaign. A pity, then, that his visit proved so hilariously ill-at-ease:

Peter Garrett was quizzed about his shiny scalp today as he reacquainted himself with the public school system.

"Do you actually shave your head with a razor or are you actually bald," an inquisitive year six student asked the Labor candidate for the Sydney seat of Kingsford-Smith and former Midnight Oil frontman.

Mr Garrett wouldn't say.

Excuse me ... he wouldn’t say? So much for Labor’s promised honesty and transparency! Next, Garrett was forced into giggling denial mode:

"Have you met Mark Latham ... is he cool," one girl inquired as Mr Garrett tried to laugh away the question.

Cool? Latham? Not according to the next pint-size questioner:

Another jumped in with "He looks scary", to which Mr Garrett replied: "I think he's a terrific leader and he cares a lot about education".

Yes, but the issue was Latham’s evident scariness. Garrett’s own daughters are enrolled at a private school, which raises a dilemma for the millionaire candidate:

He said he would be prepared to pay higher private school fees for his children as a result of Labor's plan to strip funding from wealthy private schools to pump more dollars into the public system.

"If that was the choice that I wanted to make, then certainly I'd be prepared to make that choice and I think that's the acceptable path for us to take," he said.

Easy for you to say, Baldy McRich! Raise the cost of private education and some of Mark Latham’s beloved aspirational class won’t be able to afford it. The gap between rich and poor will increase! Garrett ended his day swatting back the mushiest of softball questions on The Panel, which really could have used some Matraville kids as guest hosts.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 9, 2004 05:48 AM

Looking at the "scary" photo of Mr Latham, it appears he's selecting some old bloke in the crowd to king hit!

Posted by: Lofty at September 9, 2004 at 06:50 AM

No, I think he's recognized an old bloke he's already hit.

Posted by: gubbaboy at September 9, 2004 at 07:37 AM

Classic post. Whatever the outcome, Garrett is sure to provide years of entertainment.

Let's hope he's away from anywhere he can do any real damage.

Posted by: Quentin George at September 9, 2004 at 08:01 AM

"So much for Labor's promised honesty and transparency!"

Well, you do have an unobstructed view of his skull, so there is a certain element of transparency.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at September 9, 2004 at 09:20 AM

'The Panel' are a bunch of tool squeezers. With the exception of the fugly slag, they're great comedians. However, the problem arises when they delve into politics and almost always come out stinking of anti-Americanism.

Posted by: murph at September 9, 2004 at 09:24 AM

I foresee Peter Garrett as shell of a man with a soul like a barren wasteland after 3 years in either a Latham opposition or government.

Posted by: BT at September 9, 2004 at 09:49 AM

I think the panel have shifted to the left, because they also had that wonderful man Wilkie on the show and didnt even hit him with a decent question - even though he had made some obvious gaffes.
Have not seen a single Liberal/National Party Mp on there so far either.

Posted by: dino at September 9, 2004 at 10:42 AM

The Liberals are really in with a chance of winning Kingsford Smith, which has beeen gentryfying over the last few years. I understand that the Liberal candidate is a local solicitor who has a good profile in the electorate. Also there has been quite a backlash against the ALP parachuting a lefty dickhead into the area.

Posted by: Toryhere at September 9, 2004 at 11:38 AM

I think Latham and Garrett both look scary.

Posted by: EvilPundit at September 9, 2004 at 11:50 AM

I agree with Murph. The Panel completely stinks, although I admit I haven't watched it for years it's so bad. I used to think those guys were funny, but at heart they are just a bunch of self-absorbed wankers .

Posted by: Mr T at September 9, 2004 at 12:13 PM

When this esteemed blog was launching into Garrett when he was pre-selected, it was noted that he was against sale of public assets.

It was pointed out that he lived in a residence that was previously a public asset on the outskirts of Mittagong(a residential unit of a previously shut down State wards home).

What was not mentioned at that time, was that his kids esteemed school also purchased some of the assets of that same Wards home in town next to the school (a whole town block in effect).

Bt's comment is apt, as Garrett has and will be facing political contradictions in his life everyday, and will be making a hell of a lot of concessions to his political masters that just may see him grow his hair out.

Posted by: DaveACT at September 9, 2004 at 12:23 PM

I dont care what our MP's look like as long as the guy we send to the UN looks, and is, scary. Real scary.

I nominate myself

Posted by: Troy at September 9, 2004 at 12:23 PM

I agree that they're both scary blokes...

(in other news): (R)nold... How can you tell if you're a republican? (short video answer)

Posted by: Michael Moore at September 9, 2004 at 01:11 PM


Please, please, PLEASE, don't tell me that they go to Frensham!

Posted by: neoconchick at September 9, 2004 at 01:16 PM

I saw Midnight Oil play at one of those beach bars they used to have on the Ft. Lauderdale strip. This was back in the late eighties when they were pretty big here, for an "alternative" band. I think that was the concert where I drank a Seven & Seven which gave me a migraine so I had to sit down on the floor. All I remember was that Peter Garrett was really really tall.

Or wait. Maybe that was when I went to see Iggy Pop at the same place. This is why I call the Eighties the Decade That Ate My Life.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 9, 2004 at 01:19 PM

Post of the election so far. God I laughed at that.

Posted by: C.L. at September 9, 2004 at 01:26 PM

I think BT is on the money about Garrett's future. Remember Barry Jones, possibly the smartest fellow ever to join The Party and Hawke gave the poor slob the job of gutting the CSIRO and ending any "big picture" research in Australia for ever.... I see Latham sending Peter slowly insane defending Gunns and Labor's 3 mines policy, Pine Gap etc, Cheyrl Kernot rings a bell ....

Posted by: bilga at September 9, 2004 at 01:36 PM

"The Panel" had coalition ministers on a few times - Peter Costello and Amanda Vanstone come to mind - but just as they start getting smartarsed, they got put back in their places very quickly and became the well-behaved private schoolkids they once were. They're just lightweights.

Posted by: steve at September 9, 2004 at 01:43 PM

The people on the panel are comedians actually, and pretty good ones. Rove Mcmanus is lightweight. That band Jet are lightweight. My cousin is lightweight. A teapot is lightweight. etc.
I thought Garrett did okay on the Panel last night. Didn't talk much about his bald head which was annoying but maybe he will on Rove?

Posted by: Oceanthroats at September 9, 2004 at 02:10 PM

As soon as Labour gets in they'll want to dump Garrett as an embarrassment to them. They could make him Minister of Pop Culture, but wait on.. there's that job Richard Bulter used to have, which is vacant: roving Ambassador for Disarmament. Will keep him out of the country and should be good for a song or two, as well.

Or if doesn't get up for Kingsford-Smith, there's Richard's other job available: H.E.the Governor of Tasmania. He might last in that for a few months longer than Richard.

Posted by: Freddyboy at September 9, 2004 at 02:45 PM

There was music in the eighties?

Posted by: ilibcc at September 9, 2004 at 03:28 PM

If you think that Mark and Peter are scary, cop a look at this bloke...

Correspondents may be familiar with Alfred E. Neuman of Mad Magazine - well, check out what he's doing now with the Australian Labor Party!

Posted by: kae at September 9, 2004 at 03:35 PM

I'm glad you are back posting hard Tim, that was some of the most hilarious stuff I've seen you post in a long time!

Posted by: taspundit at September 9, 2004 at 05:14 PM

Well, the Panel aren't all fuckwits. Rob Sitch is ok.

Posted by: Quentin George at September 9, 2004 at 05:20 PM

Forgot to mention in my post that he had changed his surname name slightly and his first to Shayne...

Posted by: kae at September 9, 2004 at 05:25 PM

Rob Sitch looks like he just emerged from Belsen concentration camp. Get some hair, Rob! You looked better in Frontline.

Posted by: Freddyboy at September 9, 2004 at 05:40 PM


Oh yes they do.

Posted by: DaveACt at September 9, 2004 at 06:11 PM

I foresee Peter Garrett as shell of a man with a soul like a barren wasteland after 3 years in either a Latham opposition or government.

Do you reckon he'll go bonkers like Jim Cairns and join the Young Earth movement?

Posted by: Quentin George at September 9, 2004 at 06:15 PM

If he can't respond to a question from a year six student now...

Posted by: Peter Ness at September 9, 2004 at 11:39 PM

As a youngster during the brief period when Midnight Oil was getting some MTV exposure, I remember thinking Peter Garrett was the most terrifying person I had ever seen.

Posted by: Otter at September 10, 2004 at 12:20 AM

"Do you reckon he'll go bonkers like Jim Cairns and join the Young Earth movement?"

Why the future tense, Quentin?

Posted by: Clem Snide at September 10, 2004 at 12:39 AM