- Politician and activist Peter Garrett labelled Kevin Rudd a ‘megalomaniac’
- He said the former Prime Minister put safety of Australia in ‘jeopardy’
- But Mr Rudd has fired back, saying Mr Garrett was just trying to sell a book
- He also accused former environment minister of trying to ‘re-write history’
Nelson Groom for Daily Mail Australia
07:02 EST, 11 October 2015
17:18 EST, 11 October 2015
Former environmental minister Peter Garrett has lamented the leadership of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in a candid interview
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has fired back at Peter Garrett’s comments which labelled him a ‘megalomaniac’ who put the country in jeopardy, saying the politician and activist is just ‘trying to sell a book’.
Mr Garrett, who served as the environment minister for three years, accused Mr Rudd of being power-hungry, ‘unpredictable’ and making the country ‘almost ungovernable’.
But a spokesman for Mr Rudd’s office has dismissed the comments, claiming the activist and rockstar is just trying to ‘re-write history’ by saying the former Prime Minister put Australia in danger.
‘Peter Garrett is trying to sell a book. I have no idea what else he’s doing these days,’ a spokesman said.
‘If Mr Garrett were serious about these accusations he would have made them five years ago. Not try to re-write history now.’
The lengthy interview with Channel 7’s Sunday Night program covered Mr Garrett’s careers as an activist, politician and frontman of Midnight Oil as well as the lesser known details of his colourful life.
But the most heated moment came when Mr Garrett, 62, was asked about his views on Mr Rudd, who demoted him as environment minister after the pink batts scandal which saw four people die.
In an extract from the memoir, Mr Garrett said that supporting Mr Rudd and his ‘trail of destruction and abandoned policy’ was his biggest mistake he made in nearly 10 years in parliament.
‘I’ve been particularly strong in this book about leadership and Rudd’s leadership and I think it needed to be said,’ Mr Garrett said.
‘I’m critical of him, that’s true, very critical, but I think for good reason.
‘He was a megalomaniac. I am not the only one to think it either,’ the 62-year-old said.
Mr Garrett added that Mr Rudd treated people with ‘an enormous amount of contempt’ and made ‘the business of the country almost ungovernable’.
He accused Mr Rudd of leaving a ‘trail of destruction and abandoned policy’ and being a ‘megalomaniac’
‘Rudd wasn’t someone who was easy to work with in that way and his vanity and his exercise of power as prime minister and then subsequently was contrary to me, ultimately to what good leadership is,’ he said.
The singer also claimed the former Prime Minister was ‘unpredictable’ and he didn’t know what he ‘could or would do’ – putting the safety of the country in danger.
But a spokesman for Mr Rudd’s office has pointed out that the former Prime Minister was never a member of the National Security Committee and never party to its decisions.
Mr Garrett was elected to the House of Representatives in 2004 and he was elected environment minister when Labor was swept to power under Mr Rudd.
But he revealed that it was the power shift between Mr Rudd and Julia Gillard that eventually forced him to quit in 2013.
‘His treatment of Gillard was unbelievably poor. I don’t think she was ever given clear air as they say, a fair chance’
‘I don’t care what anybody says if you are a reasonable, dispassionate observer of Australian media and popular culture you would have to say that she got a lot of stick for being a woman’.
In the tell-all interview ahead of the release of his book, Big Blue Sky, he admitted his biggest mistake was the Home Insulation Program which caused the death of four people.
‘The fact that we had the death of four young kids in the insulation scheme that the Government established to deal with the Global Financial Crisis, and that was a low light in a lot of different ways,
‘That is what being a minister in a government is about, you do take one for the team.’
He also spoke about the challenges of transitioning from music to politics, which made him feel he would as though he would ‘disappoint a lot of people’.
‘If you weren’t a labour supporter you would be disappointed, if you thought I should have joined another party you were. If you loved the band and didn’t want to see it end you were disappointed.’
Mr Garrett revealed he decided music was not enough of a platform to bring about the political changes he wanted to bring about.