By Carr to Canberra

I hold relatively few politicians in high regard, but Bob Carr is an exception. He’s an unlikely political success story in our culture: bookish, verging on teetotal, private to the point of suspected misanthropy, but still with that indefinable something that begins to build towards “charisma.” All that – and ability too.

He would, I have no doubt, be a superb Prime Minister. But he’s not going to be and we need to let the whole idea go. He buried it finally today after a Friday moment of unbridled speculative fever fuelled by a soon-to-be-released biography about him. Still, it would have been interesting….

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Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Geoff,

If you’re saying that the story you linked “buried” the “Carr for Canberra” push, it did nothing of the sort. In fact it’s so full of weasel qualifiers that it suggests strongly to me that there really ARE serious plans to draft him into federal politics (and quite possibly in the short term).

EvilPundit
2022 years ago

Carr is one of the extremely few Labor politicians who might be able to beat John Howard in an election.

I hope he stays on in NSW.

Niall
2022 years ago

I find the man uncommonly representative of what Labor really stands for. He still sees the light on the hill, which none of the current crop in Federal politics seem to be able to find. If he could be convinced to run in the Federal sphere, Australian politics could well enter a new era. One where people actually count for something. One can but hope.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

He is an excellent premier. He must be good – the lefty elites hate his guts. I certainly voted for him in the last State election. If he ever does move to Federal and becomes Labor leader I’d vote for him in preference to Costello.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

I agree with Geoff that it is highly unlikely, based on the fact that, while many have tried, no state premier as far as I can recall has ever become PM (something Carr of all people will know … the problem is that the parochial taint sticks when it comes to the crunch … ). At the same time, it is always good press for a state premier to keep such ‘higher things’ speculations bubbling along (Wran used to milk this one to death, but they all like the frame). Thus, no precedent + a good reason for the story all the same = no go.

These are, however, desperate times for the ALP, so I don’t rule it out entirely, and moreover we all know ‘grown up’ politics is where Carr always really wanted to be. More likely, however, is the possibility that Carr is playing the role of stalking horse, opening up the leadership question again for someone else to enter the game. Carr loves such plays … and certainly with a control freak like Carr, the story is no idle accident.

Whether it’s more than simply milking an old media cow … well, watch the space.

Rob Schaap
2022 years ago

Lyons is a precedent – as Bob pointed out today. Tassie premier betwixt ’23 and ’29. ‘What Bob didn’t mention is that Lyons was a Labor premier and a UAP PM. Oh, and he was popular (for the fleeting moment that he was – wot with the depression and such) because he had the wit and erudition of a Hanson rather than a Carr (wife Enid being the brains of the family). So, yeah, mebbe no precedent …

I’m a Jim Bacon man, meself.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Yes Rob, but I’m also assuming Bob is not going to stand for the Coalition.

Michael Jennings
2022 years ago

I think Carr would make a competent PM, to the extent that he wouldn’t screw things up, but he wouldn’t be the sort of PM I would like to see. (Mainly because I think he in economic terms believes in zero sums a little too much). However, the key issue is that if the ALP field him as a candidate against Howard next year he will probably win, and this is not true with Simon Crean. It’s starting to look like they realise this.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Ken – I think the clincher for me is his stated commitment to lead the NSW government into the next election. He certainly opined about ‘possibilities’ post that event but we’re talking 4 years……I note that he passes Neville Wran’s
longest-serving NSW Premier record in 2005, though I doubt that he’d put as much store in that milestone as say, a Howard would.

I agree that no commitment is forever in politics but he has now nailed his colours to the next state election mast and there’s obviously a political cost to pay for walking away from it.

On the other hand, looking at the cross-spectrum explosion of enthusiasm for his candidacy on this comments thread…the ALP would be bloody mad not to draft him :)

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Geoff,

The story doesn’t quote Carr as ruling out a federal move before 2007, not promising to lead the NSW party into the 2007 election. It simply says he “intends” to do so. Intentions are not the same as promises. Intentions can much more easily change e.g. if Crean remains on the nose and faction leaders plead with him tht he’s Labor’s only hope. Chris might be right that he’s just playing the stalking horse to open up leadership speculation again for some other aspirant, but if you were Carr and you’d always been interested in the federal scene ad being Foreign Minister, what better time than now?

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Look, I’m sure you’re right Ken ….I’m just savouring the unprecedented moment of unified opinion…….”suddenly a great white light bathed the Armadillo and heavenly choirs extolled Bob Carr’s virtues in fraternal unison”

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

Heaven help us, Geoff. Another “It’s Time” messiah. Let’s hope for Bob’s sake precedent doesn’t follow precedent!

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Ron. You sure know how to debase a heavenly moment ;)

Mork
Mork
2022 years ago

I’m with Ken, Geoff. I read these comments as quite specifically not ruling out the switch, and, as we all know, the purpose of failing to rule something out publicly is to get folks thinking about precisely that possibility.

Obviously, it’s possible that he wants this to happen for some reason other than that he actually wants/intends to make it happen … who knows.

mark
2022 years ago

Geoff, I’m not particularly enthused on Carr (or any of the state Premiers, actually); however, must admit that, he’s well-worth it if he can beat Howard.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

Ron

I suppose it hasn’t occurred to you that by voting for Carr, you enable a whole army of lefty bureaucrats, and not a few lefty ministers, to stay in power to do lefty things.

The NSW Government is a vast apparatus. Carr can’t stop them all. In fact, he doesn’t even try. What he does do very successfully is fool naive people like you that he really is one of you, by mouthing a few platitudes about law and order and other right wing touchstones.

As I write this, there is someone in the Education Department implementing an affirmative action program that would find anathema. Someone else is devising a renewable energy program that you would think is greenie nonsense. Someone else is putting the finishing touches on the apppointment of a left wing judge to the District Court.

All this stuff occurs every day, without fuss or fanfare. Only a tiny fraction of it gets found out by the Daily Telegraph and only then does Carr act to put on a brake on it, and then only temporarily. And it happens effortlessly because Carr has a whopping majority in Parliament and no political opposition inside Parliament or out of it. And why does he have a whopping majority? Because he has managed to suck people like you – the mortal enemies of the policiies that are actually being carried out – into voting Labor.

Thanks, mate.

mark
2022 years ago

Shh, Dave, you want to doom us all?

Next you’ll be telling them about Operation Complementary Penguin, and I’m sure we all know what’s going to happen then…

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Mark,

The last person who mentioned Operation Complementary Penguin had both his legs broken by Tom Domican.

mark
2022 years ago

Heh. Y’know, that’d make a good name for a ‘blog…

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Ken – That’s a cruel slur upon a fine, upstanding, 60 year old bodybuilder and industrial relations consultant. It’s just that people get confused by his business vision statement: “don’t call us, we’ll come and get ya.”

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

Bob Carr knows exactly how bad it is to be Opposition Leader so that isn’t on except if it looked likely the ALP would defeat the Government.

However if this was the case then why would Carr be needed? And if he got there would the right wing caucus deliver him the Foreign Minister office he covets? I don’t think so.

Patrick
2022 years ago

The real reason that people such as myself vote Liberal in federal elections but turn around and vote for Carr in state elections, has nothing to do with us believing that Carr is actually right wing (using rightwing as a horribly inaccurate shorthand for small government, personal freedom, financial responsibility).

It’s because we see no sign whatsoever of the Liberal opposition being right wing themselves, and they have no sign of competence either.

A leftish government that doesn’t look like a useless rabble seems preferable to another leftish government that does look like a useless rabble.

With the way the Howard government is going, with its subsidies for ethanol producers and continual enforcement of monopoly rules for the media sector, there may be no reason not to vote Carr for PM either.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

I add Homer’s reasons to my own for disbelieving the Carr shift … (although noting, ironically, that Carr was long regarded in about the same public light as Crean is now … up until the 1991 election, when Greiner lost his majority) … but note some moves consistent with the stalking horse theory: disastrous internal ALP QLD polling leaked, followed by dark comments from Stephen Smith.

On the other hand, Kevin Rudd … (formerly thought to be straddling both sides of the leadership change fence, but likely to be the most opposed to a Carr shift into his foreign affairs portfolio) … has come out to dampen the impact of the QLD polling.

Does anyone know Julia Irwin’s record in all this, as she seems to be playing point for someone here?

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Beazley- backer but probably ABC now. Switched factions from Left to Right to get pre-selection for Fowler in 97,heavily facilitated by Bob Carr – and Phuong Ngo. Supposedly holds the safest federal seat for Labor in NSW – Fowler covers Cabramatta /Fairfield/Liverpool – but also in the area where internal polling is showing huge leakage. Crean stamped on her over her support for Palestine (she’s probably got the highest proportion of Muslim electors in Parliament).

Alan
Alan
2022 years ago

There could be a couple of explanations. Carr does nothing without a reason and all this sudden speculation is no accident.

It could be designed to scare Howard off an early election. It could be designed to scare Beasley off a second challenge. Hell, it could even be the beginning of a campaign to position himself as the drover’s dog. Carr’s early ambitions were all federal and he was not happy when the NSW Right decided he was going to save them from the aftermath of the Greiner election.

Carita
2022 years ago

Just a few points –

I disagree with the comment above that Carr represents what Labor truly stands for these days. I mean Labor over here (WA) is quite different to Labor in NSW in a few ways, but I really don’t believe Carr is the epitome of the ‘real’ ALP. I would seriously worry about him being PM.

I do agree he’s got charisma and is an extremely talented politician, probably does still see the “light on the hill” and obviously I’d prefer him to Howard.

But I can’t help thinking that the entire country would be run on a law and order type campaign (something for which NSW is famous), which really shits me. All the hype and fear is ridiculous, and I think we’ve had enough of that. I don’t know, maybe he would be inspiring, and champion the rights of those less fortunate, but I just can’t see it happening.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

Yes, we can’t have all these people hindered by pesky laws, can we Carita? Unless your name’s Pauline of course.

mark
2022 years ago

Depends on the law, Ronald. How do you feel, for exxample, about laws requiring you to lock your car whenever it isn’t occupied by a person over the age of 18?

Carita
2022 years ago

It’s not about the worth of having laws necessarily, ROn. It’s about the necessity of driving people to fear for their safety constantly. Or not