24 Feb 2015 | Krebs Lecture, University of Canberra

I pose the question this evening: how long can we go on biting the hand that feeds us? By that, I mean, have we reached the endpoint of drawing down on the earth’s finite resources, whilst at the same time pumping planet-heating pollution into the air? My answer, consistent with science and I think common sense, is yes we have.  [read the speech]

 23 June 2013 | Valedictory speech, House of Representatives

Mr GARRETT  (Kingsford Smith) (16:30): I take this opportunity to record a brief valedictory for the benefit of the House and more importantly for the record. I seek the indulgence of the House to make some remarks on my last day in the parliament. [read the speech]

8 Dec 2004, First speech, House of Representatives, Canberra

Mr GARRETT (9:30 AM) —I rise in the House to speak for the first time as the new member for Kingsford Smith, humbled by the honour that the people of this electorate have granted me. I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners, the Ngunnawal people, who have lived in the region around Canberra for over 20,000 years. I want to thank the electors of Kingsford Smith for giving me the opportunity to represent them in the federal parliament. [read the speech]

30 May 2014 | Free, compulsory and secular. A review written for Sydney Review of Books

It says a lot about the secular nature of Australia that Marion Maddox’s important new book Taking God to School has not attracted more attention, or even, as she may have hoped, controversy. Maddox’s thesis is straightforward enough. The Australian settlement established early consensus on the question of government support for religious schools, namely that it was undesirable. Education that was ‘free, compulsory and secular’ was the foundation stone on which a school system should be built. [read the article]

4 Sept 2013

More than a century on since the formation of the Labor party, it is now time to fairly fund every school in the Commonwealth. This is because the skills and capacities of a nation’s citizens determine its prospects more than any other single factor. Thus the key task of any political party is to improve the common good by ensuring the foundations for harnessing the human resources of the nation are well laid. [read the article]