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Peter Garrett

Peter Garrett AM

Peter Garett AM is the former president of the Australian Conservation Foundation, lead singer of iconic Australian band Midnight Oil and renowned environmental and community activist and now politician in federal parliament. In the period after this interview was conducted, Mr Garrett was elected to Federal Parliament as the Member for Kingsford-Smith.

Our Community: Who do you consider to be the great leaders of our time? And Why?

Peter Garrett:
Mandela, he had the strength of will to endure a long period of hardship, the change of heart to see his opponents as human and the intelligence to see that offering light at the end of the tunnel is always preferable to blocking the way or trying to blow up obstacles.

Our Community: What are the three attributes you would consider to be essential to a leader? And Why?

Peter Garrett:
  • Humanity - to never lose sight of those you lead. 
  • Faith/ confidence - to believe as though all things are possible and act on that belief. 
  • Farsightedness - not to get bogged down by petty issues of micro-politics. ie. seeing the big picture.

Our Community: What are the three greatest barriers to new leaders emerging in Australia?

Peter Garrett:
  • The knocking or 'tall poppy' syndrome.
  • The Failure of current leaders to mentor and encourage young leaders.
  • Fear of failure

Our Community: What advice would you give to a potential leader to take them to the next stage?

Peter Garrett:
Life is very short; be willing to serve.


Our Community: Nature/nurture - are leaders born or bred?

Peter Garrett:
Some people are born with the necessary gift, and some work hard to build on the few gifts they have.


Our Community: What do you consider to be the three top leadership issues facing the nation?

Peter Garrett:
  • Truth and accountability in political and corporate life.
  • Endeavoring to craft good ideas and positive goals for the long haul.
  • Trusting those who follow.

Our Community: What insights have you gained personally on your leadership journey?

Peter Garrett:
Each day is different and you must be willing to learn (again) how to best do your job as a leader.

Published September 2003

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