Diesel and Dust Midnight Oil (Columbia) You might be forgiven for thinking that was a small bead of irony you saw escaping down the bald dome of Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett when the nowadays Australian parliamentary member fell timidly in line behind the country's new prime minister, Julia Gillard, a few weeks ago. Gillard, of course, had just bumped off the previous incumbent, Kevin Rudd, after he had tried to take on the might of the Australian mining industry by introducing a new tax on their billions. Despite the fact that he was the most popular prime minister in decades, once the miners flexed their muscles, Rudd was dead and buried - such is the power the mining lobby wields in that nation. As Australia's minister for the environment, heritage and the arts, Garrett didn't say much - but he knew all about that kind of power. Before he signed up with Australia's Labor Party, Garrett battled his own wars against unscrupulous mining practices as the frontman of the ultra-politicised 'Oils'. The band's lyrics were often pointed, always passionate ruminations on what they thought was wrong with their country - from the working practices of mining companies and within other industries, and on to such sensitive issues as land rights for Australia's indigenous people. Midnight Oil had long established themselves as one of the best live acts going at a time when Australian 'pub rock' was at the height of its power. Songs such as Cold, Cold Change and US Forces became anthems, and Garrett himself a mesmerising sight - a tangle of arms and legs, and sweat and spitting vitriol on stage. Diesel and Dust, then, was the band's international breakthrough, after more than a decade of toil, and it went platinum in the United States thanks to the top 20 hit Beds Are Burning - a timely call for indigenous rights that struck a chord around the world. The band's leftist leanings remained throughout the album, but their sound - previously driven by the pounding beat of drummer Rob Hirst and the often brutal guitar work of cohorts Martin Rotsey and Jim Moginie - was tempered to be less in your face. They took their sound out of the pub and into the lounge room, and the results were a stunning success. Diesel and Dust flexed its muscle on tracks such as Beds and the equally powerful The Dead Heart, and then rolled on to a sublime, rousing finish by the time the inspirational Sometimes came around. Its creation was a smart - and sincere - effort to spread the band's message to the wider masses. And Garrett - a one-time law student - showed he knew full well the value of compromise. It's a talent that continues to carry him well as his own political career evolves.