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“Performance was marred by a lack of caution and political cunning.” or “not fit to rule” take two


RETIRING senator Bob Carr has attacked Labor’s ill-fated media reforms as “badly wrong-headed”, criticised its approach to carbon pricing and warned it not to lurch to the left on asylum-seeker policy.

As Bob Carr resigns from the Senate I doubt that anyone is really surprised, nor should they be surprised by his criticism of the largely unlamented Labor administration that parachuted him into the cushy Foreign Minister’s job as a result of Rudd’s tilt at the leadership 18 months ago.

Senator Carr, who will submit his resignation to the president of the Senate tomorrow, said he planned to “reinvent” himself as an expert on Asia in posts with Sydney University and the University of New South Wales.

Reflecting on Labor’s past six years in office, he said the party did “many very, very good things”, but its performance was marred by a lack of caution and political cunning.

“Just reflecting my background, growing up with Neville Wran as premier, and trying to learn from him, I’m struck by a lack of canniness in the (former) government,” he said.

“A lack of caution, cunning – canniness is probably the best word.”

Senator Carr said the Wran playbook would have ruled out picking a fight with the media before an election, as Labor did with its proposed media reforms.

Labor should have been “friends with everyone” a year out from the poll, “cooling” controversy, not creating it.

“I thought a certain political direction had been cast out that window at that moment,” Senator Carr said.

“In the end I was just thinking about the viability of Australia’s social democratic party.

“If people in Queensland and NSW get accustomed to voting Labor at a rate of 25 per cent, in a state election and a federal election, how do you recover? That was the thought uppermost in my mind.”

He said the government’s lack of “canniness” was also evident in Labor’s approach to tackling climate change, where it should have proceeded with more caution.

He said Labor should have replicated, in its first years of the government, a scheme he introduced as premier in NSW, which only applied to the power sector. The scheme could have been ramped up down the track, he said.

“It would have been a canny approach,” Senator Carr said.

Labor took the same imprudent approach in dismantling John Howard’s Pacific Solution, “without weighing – carefully, cannily – what effect that might have on people-smuggling”.

He said Labor must retain its support for processing on Manus Island and Nauru, despite internal tensions on the policy.

“It is the right policy and it is a policy the Australian people will accept,” Senator Carr said.

“There may be a temptation from time to time to criticise the Abbott government from what might be described as the Left, on this issue. It is a temptation best resisted.”


Isn’t it interesting that yet another leading light (but not light weight 😉  ) of the Labor party is now so willing to pour a bucket upon the Gillard and Rudd leaderships .  dare I suggest that, having one person disillusioned with the party may possibly be some problem with them but once you get a chorus of dismay from several then it is indicative of a party in serious political trouble.  Sadly although the party dearly needs thinkers like Bob Carr , men and women who not only have their heads around the policy ideas that the party believes in but also just a touch of street smarts to enable them to calculate the best way of making such things both happen and more importantly be accepted by the people.

So now we have two former cabinet ministers   being brutally honest about Labor’s last stint in government so I can’t help but wonder if  such criticism will continue to be valid under the Shorten leadership and surely if it does then how can the Australian Labor party ever be fit to rule again?

Cheers Comrades


Update :

the headline piece in today’s Age is worthy of note because it makes me wonder if we got value for the more than four grand a day that Bob Carr cost the  taxpayers during his time as foreign minister:

click for source

click for source

So was he really worth more than a grand extra a day over Stephen Smith or Kevin Rudd?

Cheers again Comrades



  1. GD says:

    Reflecting on Labor’s past six years in office, he said the party did “many very, very good things”

    “many very, very good things”?

    Seriously, name them.

    “There may be a temptation from time to time to criticise the Abbott government from what might be described as the Left, on this issue. It is a temptation best resisted.”

    That’s the first sensible statement Bob Carr has made in his whole political career.

    Perhaps if he had spent his time as Premier of NSW paying attention to the NSW economy instead of reading ‘War and Peace’ and designating huge tracts of bushland as ‘national parks’, he would be regarded better by NSW. However, trashing people’s retirement by introducing punitive land taxes to fund Labor’s continuing deficit was the final straw.

    The cynical thing about Carr’s land tax was that it was introduced retroactively. People that had accepted advice from professionals and invested in property to fund retirement saw their investment income grabbed by a greedy, badly managed State Government to help pay for massive overspending.

    He also

    curbed the clearing of native vegetation as anti-greenhouse measures

    On the day he quit, NSW was and still is experiencing horrendous bushfires, in part due to regulations preventing the clearing of native vegetation from properties.

    Paul Sheehan’s Fairfax article adds more damning critique.

    If Bob Carr announces in the coming days that he is stepping down from the Senate, to which he has just been elected, and will be replaced by yet another union official parachuted into Parliament by the Labor Party, this is what he will say:
    Blah, blah, blah. Wash, rinse, spin.

    Another Labor snout in the trough, only this time an old pig back for one last snuffle at the public trough before he snuffles off to his overly-rich pension due to serving a few weeks as ‘Foreign Minister’.

  2. Iain Hall says:

    The only Good thing I can think if is plain packaging of ciggies GD and that is small beer after six years in office.

  3. Ray Dixon says:

    Good old GD never misses an opportunity to Labor-bash. He never misses an opportunity to distort and misrepresent what was actually said either. A few corrections are required here:

    1. What about the NDIS and the schools programs? What about the stimulus packages and the fight to survive the GFC? I know you’ll criticise the GFC programs as “wasteful” and “rushed” but the fact is they worked and you are a beneficiary of it all. Are you still working? Are you still getting gigs? Still earning money? Not on the dole or in the soup queues where you certainly would have been under Abbott if he’d been in office from 2007 to 2010 and if he were the one handling our response to world economic conditions at that time? Contrary to all your bellyaching and carping about govt “debt”, the fact is Labor did indeed manage the economy of Australia very well over its 6 years in govt. So well, that since Abbott has won office he’s not yet had to take one single economic measure, despite claiming beforehand that our economy was in “crisis”. It’s not, yet you still carry on like we just had a major depression, when in fact we were about the only country that avoided recession and continued to grow.

    2. Carr’s warning to not criticise Abbott was only made in connection to the asylum seeker issue – yet you’ve misquoted it to read as though his warning was to not crticise Abbott, full stop. That’s a typical GD cherry-picked misrepresntation of what someone has said.

    3. What has Carr’s performance as NSW Premier got to do with all this and quite frankly who gives a shit about NSW the State of incompetence and corruption? Neither side of politics in the crap State can hold its head high. It’s pretty red-necked of you to blame Carr for the current bushfires though.

    4. And Carr’s “overly-rich pension” IS NOT “due to serving a few weeks as Foreign Minister”, it’s a continuation of his NSW $300,000 per year pension for serving as Premier of the State of Gay. Did you not actually read the article or, as usual, are you distorting the argument to suit your prejudices? Your fellow New South Welshman put Carr into that pension so maybe go out and admonish them.

    Iain, if you read Carr’s words carefully, they are clearly aimed at Gillard’s time, not Rudd’s. His biggest criticisms were of her Carbon Tax turnaround and of her attempted media reforms. He’s pretty much right about her being “uncanny” politically speaking.

  4. Iain Hall says:

    My mention of Rudd only pertains to his expenses claims which strangely were of a much lower order of magnitude than Carr’s. and You have not even considered by question about the bang for our bucks that we were getting form either of them.

  5. Ray Dixon says:

    Foreign Ministers – by the nature of the position – have huge travel expenses. I’m not surprised that Carr’s exceeded his predecessors because even though I thought he was reasonably good at his job he was, after all, merely a Gillard appointee parachuted into the Senate after she somehow forced the sleazebag Mark Arbib to resign. It’s ironic that Arbib was in no small way responsible for Gillard’s ascension to the top job and that her chosen replacement Carr was in no small way responsible for her demise as PM. She just couldn’t do anything right.

  6. GD says:

    Ray said:

    Foreign Ministers – by the nature of the position – have huge travel expenses

    It didn’t help that he took his wife with him, considering that he had no intention of staying in the job, even though he stood for election, thus ensuring Australia gets another unelected senator for the next six years. Well done, Carr, well done Labor. Jobs for the boys.

    Speaking of jobs for the boys, isn’t it funny, in that ironic way, that Barry Cassidy, host of the supposedly non-biased Insiders, has been appointed chairman of the Old Parliament House Advisory Council.

    Council members were not consulted or advised until one of them noticed the appointment after the election, and no public announcement of it was made.

    The appointment was made on the day that the writs for the election were issued.

    Ray also said:

    the fact is Labor did indeed manage the economy of Australia very well over its 6 years in govt.

    Oh come on Ray, managing the economy ‘very well’ doesn’t mean leaving the nation with the largest debt in history. You can’t blame it all on the GFC.

    What about the NDIS and the schools programs?

    Schools programs, you can’t be serious! Most schools received outside shelters charged to the government at a vastly marked-up rate, even schools that already had one. Schools that needed new buildings were left out in the cold. Schools that needed air-conditioning or safe, non-toxic heating also missed out.

    The Education Revolution, pull the other one! Half the kids got laptops that are already obsolete and the rest got, well, nothing. Bit like the pensioners who were promised set-top boxes. Only some received them, but that doesn’t matter because technology has moved on. It’s a pity Labor hasn’t.

    The NDIS? Well that was a Gillard initiative. As far as I can see that is the only worthy idea that Labor came up with.

    Unfortunately for Labor, it will take the Liberals to implement such a policy.

    So where does that leave you? You don’t like Gillard or ‘sleazebag Mark Arbib’ or Mark Dreyfus who should be ‘sacked and/or charged’.

    Who’s next?

    Of course it won’t be Peter Slipper because you would rather white-wash him in order to show the Libs in a bad light.

    As for your Slipper explanation, it’s rather curious how you claim Slipper misreported a cab charge without any attempt by you to justify, for instance, Barnaby Joyce’s so-called ‘Malaysian Study’ report.

    As Graham Richardson says, ‘whatever it takes’, anything but admit that Labor got it wrong.

    BTW Ray, how are you enjoying the ABC’s coverage of the NSW bushfires? All global warming rubbish and little relevant content.

    Yep, that’s our ABC , all the way with the ALP.

  7. Ray Dixon says:

    Geezus GD, that’s a real grab bag of sour pussines, hardly worth responding to. Do you ever see anything other than through your narrow blinkers?

  8. Iain Hall says:

    ABC presenter Barrie Cassidy has resigned from a government board at the insistence of Attorney-General George Brandis, following his appointment by Labor the day after the election was called.

    Cassidy said he believed remaining as chairman of the Old Parliament House Advisory Committee would “would shroud the board and the institution in ongoing controversy”…

    Tony Abbott criticised the appointment earlier this week, when it was revealed by The Australian, saying Labor had “rushed to appoint its friends to all sorts of positions in the dying days”.

    Cassidy {said] … “The minister explained to me that he has a high regard for me personally, but nevertheless has (a) concerns about the process leading up to the appointment; and (b) a strong view that it is not appropriate to have anybody currently involved in the political process, whether they be politicians or journalists, sitting on boards such as these…”

    courtesy of Andrew Bolt

  9. Ray Dixon says:


    Who cares?

  10. Richard Ryan says:

    Andrew Bolt’s dinner for his wordsmiths—-Akerman-Jones,Devine,etc,etc, what a mob of f^ck-wits.

  11. Richard Ryan says:

    Wish I knew where it was—-would be game to go there, and create a scene, throw a few Dutch clogs at the guests.

  12. […] "Performance was marred by a lack of caution and political cunning." or "not fit to rule" take two (iainhall.wordpress.com) […]

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