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After The Oil's Stopped Burning

The time has come. A fact’s a fact. Peter Garrett’s quit Midnight Oil and he’s not going back.

But his name could yet appear on an election ballot paper.

The musical maestro and conservationist today spoke for the first time about life after Midnight Oil, since quitting as the band’s frontman last year.

He had close to three decades of living his vision to write strong songs about national issues, and the days of trekking around the pub scene are gone.

He told the National Press Club today that his musical career had begun in the national capital, “touring pubs in a van full of crummy old equipment with people throwing beer cans at us”.

“Naturally, I fell in love with this and realised I had found my true vocation, which I was able to do for some 28 years,” Mr Garrett said.

“I – along with my colleagues – had a little bit of a vision about what we could do.

“And we wanted to make music which was Australian music which we felt very strongly about.

“And we wanted to do it without worrying about the charts, the hit parades and what was in, what was out.”

The only way to do it was to “constantly go out and pour our guts out to people, night in and night out”, he said.

“I did that for 28 years, I achieved everything I wanted to achieve in doing it.”

He said he was not the prime musical force of Midnight Oil.

“Sometimes people think that I was,” he said.

“I was a part of the group of very fine songwriters and people who were able to give me the means to do and be the kind of person I wanted to be.

“And we’ve done it.

“And now it’s time to do something else.”

Mr Garrett is determined to focus on fixing Australia’s environmental woes and he has the ear of government.

He also says he will decide later this year whether or not he has an eye on a seat in parliament.

But he was quiet on which party he could set his sights on.

“Any decision I make about what I’ll do in the long term won’t happen till later in the year,” he said.

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