Opposition environment spokesman Peter Garrett went on ABC Radio in Adelaide yesterday to talk about Ron Walker, Robert de Crespigny and that nuclear power plant – only to suffer some nasty fallout of his own.

“A caller says: ‘Fair’s fair, we’ve talked about these other millionaires, and we should mention that Peter Garrett is a millionaire as well’,” host Matt Abraham said.

Garrett got a little coy about that description – so Abraham and his colleague David Bevan went nuclear on the Oil’s former front man:

BEVAN: Are you a millionaire?

GARRETT: Well, anybody who owns a house in Sydney or around Sydney probably qualifies for that but I’d say I’m a person of moderate means.

ABRAHAM: But hasn’t being a rock star made you a millionaire?

GARRETT: Well, to the extent that I’ve been able to buy a house and live in a comfortable way, yeah, there’s no question about it that I had a successful career as a musician but I’m a man of moderate means.

ABRAHAM: Where do you live when you’re in Canberra?

GARRETT: (laughs)

ABRAHAM: Are you in a shed like Brendan Nelson?

GARRETT: Oh, I stay with a mate.

BEVAN: Okay, but is it correct, putting aside your house, because we don’t want to get these things wrong and it’s been thrown around a lot, Malcolm Turnbull’s described as a multi-millionaire and people ring up I suppose from the conservative side and say “well, hang on, what about Peter Garrett?” Peter Garrett, putting aside your house which is a moderate house, can we call you a millionaire?

GARRETT: Well, gentlemen, if you want to you certainly can. I think a person of moderate means, not to the extent of Mr Turnbull’s wealth, but frankly I don’t think that’s the key issue…

ABRAHAM: But, we don’t want to call you a millionaire if you’re not.

GARRETT: Well, feel free to call me what you will.

ABRAHAM: No, well…

BEVAN: Well, we’re just trying to be cooperative.

ABRAHAM: If you are a millionaire, putting aside the value of your house, then you’re a millionaire because as I said Malcolm Turnbull and others targeted Kevin Rudd and yourself as being millionaires effectively because he was. I just… if you’re not, you’re not, and that’s fine and that’s the end of it and if you are, you are.

GARRETT: Yep, and I’m quite happy to say I am.

ABRAHAM: Okay, well, Peter Garrett we appreciate you coming on the program.

The Daily Telegraph’s leader writers have some good advice for Garrett today:

Rather than tippy-toeing around the matter of his wealth – and it is substantial – Mr Garrett ought to be able to mention it straightforwardly. Australians these days are fond of a winner, and the war against wealth is over.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey