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Last updated on July 13th, 2017 at 01:25 pm
Australia’s environment minister may be the only politician on earth charged with such responsibility who is banned (by his own party!) from talking about climate change:
Peter Garrett has campaigned heavily on climate change in the past, but Opposition MPs won’t get a chance to question him when parliament resumes next year.
In a move that has baffled some, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is ensuring his new Environment Minister keeps his mouth shut on such sensitive topics.
Having already been stripped of the Climate Change portfolio, Peter Garrett will also lose his climate change voice; with Kevin Rudd making Treasurer Wayne Swan responsible for climate change discussion in the House of Representatives.
Rudd’s move won’t baffle anyone familiar with Garrett’s inability to cope with questions. Still, it’s brutally unfair, and not just to Peter. Mean Kevin Rudd has denied us Garrett fans the narcotics-quality climate comedy we’d been anticipating:
Imagine the hilarity certain to be generated by Minister for the Environment and the Arts Peter Garrett. A fantastic liability in opposition, he’ll be 10,000-carat comedy gold in Government. You don’t want to see this?
Question Time will be Chuckle Time whenever the nation’s foremost seizure dancer has the floor ….
Not any more. On this vicious silencing of Garrett, let left and right come together and call for the environment minister to be allowed to speak about the environment.
UPDATE. The Age’s Jewel Topsfield:
Australia’s new Minister for the Environment, Peter Garrett, has been told he will not even get to answer questions on climate change in Parliament …
Mr Garrett went to ground yesterday after Mr Swan’s new responsibilities in the climate change portfolio were revealed on a Government website. After promising The Age an interview earlier in the day, neither Mr Garrett nor his office returned repeated calls.
The SMH’s Stephanie Peatling:
The federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, has in effect been gagged from talking about climate change in Parliament.
The Age’s Michelle Grattan:
The message is clear. Garrett is felt to be too much of a risk to drive the policy or articulate it. The man with the big voice is being kept away from the songbook and the microphone.
Garrett had more freedom under Howard.
UPDATE II. A happy blogger – posting only a few hours ago, and unaware of Garrett’s silencing – is destined to be heartbroken:
One of my idealogical heroes and mentors since I was old enough to finally understand Midnight Oil’s phenomenal lyrics on my own without my brother telling me what the songs were about, it now fills my democratic socialist heart to know that Peter Garrett HIMSELF is entrusted with such an important government portfolio.
He evidently isn’t. Opposition leader Brendan Nelson shares our pain:
“It was always very interesting to see Mr Garrett attempt to answer questions.”