Thursday, March 01, 2012

Oz new Foreign Affairs minister

from w
Bob Carr apparently relented and decided to take up a Senate position and the Foreign Affairs role after Rudd moved to the back bench. A good man, smart and popular I think, so I wonder what will be his relation to the people of the Pacific Islands, especially Fiji.

Former premier was ready to take the stage

March 1, 2012

If Bob Carr had become foreign minister he'd have brought to the job extensive contacts, very firm views, and an activist approach to Australia's diplomacy. Carr would have been determined to make a splash, both in the Senate and on the world stage.

According to those with whom he has shared his views, he would have very likely closed down the Australian drive to get a seat on the UN Security Council.

The expansion of Australian activities in Africa would have been reviewed in favour of more representation in Chinese and Indian cities and the Gulf area.

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And the government would have been looking carefully at its guiding principles for dealing with the US-China competition in the Asia-Pacific region.

Carr knows personally a dozen members of the US Senate, and calls Henry Kissinger a friend. He has spoken to many in the Chinese leadership and is at home talking about Chinese dynastic history.

As he settled into the job, one of his first tasks would have been to consult those who had earlier run foreign policy, including former prime ministers Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and John Howard, and former foreign ministers Gareth Evans, Alexander Downer and Kevin Rudd.

In the Senate, the theatrical Carr style might have attracted a few more journalists to tune into the upper house's question time.

Although the NSW ALP and, it seems, the PM, were attracted to the radical idea of the Carr experiment, Stephen Smith and presumably some others were not. Smith had had to stand aside when Rudd demanded the foreign affairs job.

Read more:
and more recently
from ABC
Carr rejects talk of softening Fiji stance
By New Zealand correspondent Dominique Schwartz

Posted March 09, 2012 20:26:46

Foreign minister designate Bob Carr has rejected media reports that he is planning to soften Australia's hard stance against Fiji.Mr Carr was speaking in Auckland after holding informal talks with his New Zealand counterpart Murray McCully. Mr Carr said he had noted Friday's announcement by Fiji's military leader Frank Bainimarama about planned public consultation over a new constitution.

Both Mr Carr and Mr McCully greeted the announcement with caution and said time would tell if the Fiji's rulers were truly moving towards democratic elections. The former New South Wales premier also says he will be seeking more information from the ACTU about the human rights situation for workers in Fiji. Mr Carr says he wants to further investigate claims that any union official who speaks out against the interim government still risks life imprisonment.

"Certainly one of the tests we'd consider in the future is the right of organisation in the workplace," he said. "That's a fundamental human right. I'd expect to have more conversations with unionists, in particular the ACTU."

Mr Carr said his hour-long discussion with Mr McCully about the region was wide-ranging and helpful. He will meet prime minister John Key on Saturday morning.

It is his first overseas trip since being named the replacement for Kevin Rudd. He is due to be sworn in as a senator and foreign minister on Tuesday.

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