Garrett vows to roll sleeves up on climate change
Posted by Pat Kershaw on December 11, 2006
From the ABC Online, Peter Garret, former Midnight Oil front-man prepares to take up the fight for climate change from a new perspective… He has certainly got the credentials, and the profile to make this issue one which may now impact on the next few elections.
Former Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett will join Labor’s new frontbench as the spokesman for climate change and the environment.
Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd has announced the portfolio responsibilites of his new frontbench in Brisbane today, on the first day of his 10-day national tour.
Labor deputy leader Julia Gillard takes on industrial relations and Wayne Swan will continue as treasury spokesman, despite his support for former Labor leader Kim Beazley.
Mr Garrett says he is eager to join the frontbench and hold the Federal Government to account on climate change.
“Climate change represents one of the most significant and important issues that Australians must confront now and into the future,” he said.
“I want to work for leader Rudd to make sure that we roll up our sleeves and do the very best that we can, and I want to put the Howard Government on notice that it’s fiddling while Australia burns.”
The Australian Greens have applauded Mr Garrett’s appointment.
But they are sceptical the former rock star and head of the Australian Conservation Foundation will be able to reshape the Opposition’s environment platform.
Greens leader Bob Brown says Labor has been weak on ending old-growth logging, introducing a carbon tax and curbing uranium exports.
“Our question to Peter is going to be, ‘Will you stand for what you sang for and is the Labor Party going to be able to accommodate the extraordinary changes in policy that are required if this planet is to get out of the current dive in its environmental fortune?'” he said.
‘Absolute best team’
Mr Rudd says his is the best team to fight the next election.
“I’m confident what we’ve put together is the absolute best team, strong on the economy, strong on fairness, strong on climate change,” he said.
He has appointed one of his supporters, Joel Fitzgibbon, to be Labor’s new defence spokesman.
Robert McClelland has lost that portfolio to be Labor’s new foreign affairs spokesman.
Former Labor leader Simon Crean will be trade spokesman.
Craig Emerson rejoins the front bench as spokesman for small business and independent contractors.
“Labor supports all Australians, Labor will govern for all Australians,” he said.
Chris Bowen, 33, from New South Wales is a new face on Labor’s frontbench. He will be shadow assistant treasurer.
Mark Bishop will retire at the next election, reducing Labor’s frontbench 32 to 31 members.
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