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Midnight Oil come ‘full circle’ at Bash

From Canberra’s parliamentary benches to a performance stage in the dusty outback, Peter Garrett is always willing to offer an opinion.

The frontman of protest rock band Midnight Oil for the past 47 years, Garrett served as a cabinet minister in two Labor governments, and is the former president of the Australian Conservation Foundation.

On Thursday he and the band took to the stage at the Mundi Mundi Bash festival on the stunning Mundi Mundi Plains, west of Broken Hill, delivering a message via music.

Before the performance he spoke to AAP about the importance of resisting the temptation to become cynical about politics.

“Australia’s political system, whatever its faults may be, is considered among the best in the world, particularly in terms of freedom and effectiveness,” Garrett said.

“That’s because it works to everybody’s interests, irrespective of who you vote for.”

Midnight Oil are advocates of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and previously called on the former prime minister to consider enshrining an Indigenous voice to parliament in the Constitution.

“It was really frustrating to see the voice to parliament proposal kicked around like a political football over the last few years,” Garrett said.

He hopes the voice will come to be recognised as a fair and reasonable step by most Australians, similar to the way same-sex marriage was embraced.

The band, whose 13th album Resist debuted at No.1 in February, are on their final tour, and have played Europe and North America for much of the past year.

Garrett called the Mundi Mundi gig a “full-circle moment”, because the band returned to the location more than three decades after filming the music video for their 1987 hit, Beds Are Burning, on the same red dirt plains.

“It’s incredible to be back in that same place, playing again and knowing the people have come from all over Australia to essentially be out in big sky country listening to the Oils play,” Garrett said.

He said that while the band members have been hitting their stride during the tour, after more than 35 years on the road Midnight Oil wanted to call time on that part of their career before fate intervened.

“We’d be fooling ourselves if we thought that we could go on at this pace with this level of intensity, putting as much into the shows as we’re putting in now,” Garrett said.

About 9000 people are expected to attend the Mundi Mundi Bash, which ends on Saturday.

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