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Australian minister rejoins Midnight Oil rock band

 Australian Minister for the Environment Peter Garrett, left, sits with fellow government ministers Jenny Macklin and Lindsay Tanner, right, during qu...

Australia Hard Rocking Minister

Australian Minister for the Environment Peter Garrett, left, sits with fellow government ministers Jenny Macklin and Lindsay Tanner, right, during qu...

Australia's environment minister was swapping the political stage Thursday for one he trod in a former incarnation _ as the country's loudest antiestablishment rock star.
Peter Garrett, the towering, shaven-headed frontman for Midnight Oil, broke up the band in 2002 and pursued a career in politics that brought him into government less than two years ago.
But band members will come together to perform at a concert to raise funds for victims of Australia's worst wildfires, which killed more than 210 and destroyed thousands of homes in southern Victoria state last month.
Once known as champions of Aboriginal rights and the environment, Midnight Oil has not played a gig since their singer became a minister. Garrett has toed his Labor Party's center-left policy line, and tries to avoid questions about his former views.
Now, Garrett may have a dilemma on his hands because lyrics in some of the band's most popular songs do not fit comfortably within the political mainstream.
"Can Midnight Oil field 20 whole minutes of material that wouldn't get Mr. Garrett sacked if he were to read it out in Parliament rather than shrieking it while twitching violently to guitar music?" Sydney Morning Herald columnist Annabel Crabb wrote recently.
The band's 1987 breakthrough album "Diesel and Dust" called for Australia to be handed back to the Aborigines. U.S. and British imperialism were also favorite targets during the band's 26 years together.
Gary Morris, a longtime associate of the band, said Thursday there will be no satisfying some fans who contend the songs will have been picked specifically to keep the government happy.
Midnight Oil will perform at warm-up concerts Thursday and Friday. Two big concerts take place Saturday _ one in Sydney, with Coldplay headlining, and the other in the Victorian capital of Melbourne, featuring Garrett's band.
Garrett's new career have created some friction with the band. Instead of rehearsing in Canberra on Wednesday, Garrett was representing Australia at coral conservation talks in Papua New Guinea.
Garrett flew into Canberra on Thursday morning and attended the final session of Parliament for the week before he was to make the short journey to the theater.
The concert will be the first time he has sung in public since 2005 when the band performed at a fund raiser for victims of the 2004 Asian tsunami.


Updated : 2021-05-07 17:11 GMT+08:00