Midnight Oil’s Peter Garrett labels Voice to Parliament referendum ‘one of the most important decisions we’re all gonna make in our lifetime’ | Englishheadline


Peter Garrett, one of the biggest supporters of Indigenous Australians in the music industry, has made an honest claim on the importance of the Voice to Parliament referendum.

The Midnight Oil frontman and former politician told The Project why he will vote yes to the Voice, claiming the October 14 vote is “one of the most important decisions that we’re all gonna make in our lifetime.”

“It’s not really so much the politics of it, but the national interest of it. Getting something right for a change,” he said on Friday evening.

“Giving Indigenous Australians an opportunity to provide advice to the parliament. And it’s just an advisory body. That’s all the Voice is.

The 70-year-old said he believes the Voice will have a far more beneficial impact on closing the gap than any measures that have been taken to do so in previous governments.

“I mean, there’s been a lot of white noise about it, but it’s just an advisory body. It was an idea that they brought forward – a majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – leaders, people in communities,” he said. 

“And what we’ve been doing up to now as a country, it just hasn’t cut the mustard in terms of closing the gap of disadvantage. 

“I’ll be voting Yes and encouraging fellow Australians to vote Yes as well. I think we have an opportunity to do something positive. It’s modest, but it should be a step forward.”

Midnight Oil became a band fuelled by activism with Indigenous issues at the heart of many of their popular songs including Beds Are Burning, The Dead Heart, Truganini and Jimmy Sharman’s Boxers.

They began a big push to constitutionally enshrine an Indigenous Voice to Parliament at the turn of the decade with The Makarrata Project – an album with seven songs all with Aboriginal collaborators which was released in 2020 in an attempt to educate the country about the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

“We urgently need to up the ante on Reconciliation generally and follow through on the ground breaking Uluru Statement,” Garrett said at the time.

“These songs are about recognising that our shared history needs settlement, and that more than ever, as the Statement From The Heart proclaims, we need to walk together to create a better future”.

When the group first disbanded in 2002, Garrett moved into politics spending nine years in Parliament from 2004-2013 as a Labor frontbencher and member for Kingsford Smith.

He also became a minister for the environment, heritage and the arts and then in 2010 the minister for school education, early childhood and youth.

After retiring from politics, the band reunited in 2017 before releasing a final two albums.

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