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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?
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:
So was he really worth more than a grand extra a day over Stephen Smith or Kevin Rudd?
Cheers again Comrades
- Bob Carr to quit Senate (smh.com.au)
- Bob Carr to announce his resignation (theage.com.au)
- Carr assesses Rudd-Gillard Labor era (news.theage.com.au)
- Profile: Bob Carr (abc.net.au)
- Chariot ride over, Carr bids farewell (theage.com.au)
- Carr resigns from the Senate (adelaidenow.com.au)
- Bob Carr’s reputation up in smoke (smh.com.au)
- Bob Carr’s $4200-a-day habit (smh.com.au)
Its taken Labor five years to finally admit that the Coalition was right about Asylum Seekers and its been five years of utter bullshit from them. Of course Gillard is insisting that her retread of the Pacific solution is the idea of her so called expert committee but we all know that the main function of that little cadre was to give Gillard a way of back-flipping without losing to much face in the process. Not that it matters that much for her political fortunes because she is still in a no win situation on this issue. When the flood of boats slows to a trickle she won’t earn much respect from the public who will quite rightly be reminded of just who created the problem in the first place.
Caucus agreed to the Houston package, after Left MPs’ objections to indefinite mandatory detention on Nauru and Manus were voted down, as was a move by Left convener Doug Cameron for a delay to give caucus time to consider the report. The government agreed to a proposal for caucus to monitor the detention regime.
The panel was set up at the end of the last parliamentary session to come up with a way to break the political deadlock that has rendered the government impotent to act against the increasing flow of boats.
While urging a regional solution, the panel said that a short-term ”circuit breaker to reduce the attractiveness of Australia as a destination” was needed. Legislation for offshore processing was urgent, it said. Mr Houston said the panel had accepted Nauru and Manus because they were ”implementable straight away”.
The panel also said that boat people should lose their access to family reunions under the humanitarian program – which means they would have to take their chances through the family stream of the general migration program.
The report said there were concerns about the protections and human rights aspects of the Malaysia agreement from ”a wide range” of groups and individuals. It called for better protections and a more effective monitoring mechanism.
The panel said of the opposition’s policy of turning boats back that the conditions did not currently exist for it – Indonesia would not accept them and people smugglers had more sophisticated tactics in sabotaging the attempts.
Mr Morrison said the Houston panel had ”green-lighted Nauru and they have red-lighted Malaysia and the people swap in its current form”.
The blueprint from the panel, which included refugee expert Paris Aristotle and former Foreign Affairs secretary Michael L’Estrange, was condemned by the Greens and refugees advocates.
Greens leader Christine Milne said her party would not accept measures that were cruel to people.
Dr Graham Thom, Amnesty International’s refugee spokesperson, said the government’s action showed short-term political gains trumping Australia’s obligations under the UN Refugee Convention.
But Mr Houston said the prospect of further losses of life at sea demanded ”urgent and decisive action ” by Parliament. Since October 2009, 604 people had lost their lives.
Another boat arrived yesterday, with 87 people on board – but they came before the deadline and will not be subject to offshore processing.
Of course the big question is will it stop the flow of boats and the subsequent drownings? I certainly hope it does. No one likes to see the sort of tragedies that we have witnessed on Labor’s watch. Now despite all of the instance that the Australian people did not like Howard’s pacific solution I find it rather satisfying to see that a whopping 87% of readers of the Fairfax piece I quote above endorse PS2. Just imagine what that means when Tony Abbott wins the next election and we can have the bright shiney and much improved PS3! Because any gamer can tell you that the PS3 is far better than the PS2!
Ok puns back in the box how is this going to fly as a means of Gillard countering Abbott’s “stop the boats” mantra?
As I see it playing out its still a lose lose situation for Labor because of it is effective in stopping the boats the Coalition will quite rightly point out that going back to what worked before does not abrogate the responsibility that Labor carries for stuffing up a system that worked in the first place, and if it does not work as well as they hope then the Coalition can still attack them over its shortcomings or talk about inertia in the Asylum seeker pipeline.
Gillard obviously hopes that it will work and get the issue off the front burner, and she might just get that wish however I doubt that it will be enough to save her from political oblivion at the next election
- PM backs offshore asylum-seeker plan (dailytelegraph.com.au)
- Australia to deport boat asylum seekers to Pacific islands (guardian.co.uk)
- Asylum experts advise return to ‘Pacific Solution’ (rowenadelarosayoon.wordpress.com)
- After 604 deaths at sea … (smh.com.au)
- Coalition throws down gauntlet (smh.com.au)
- Offshore solution push (theage.com.au)
- Pacific Solution Mark II (theage.com.au)
- Reopen Nauru, Manus centres: panel (news.theage.com.au)
- ‘It’s time to get something done’ (dailytelegraph.com.au)
- Labor caves on asylum seekers (smh.com.au)
I commend the editorial in today’s Oz to my readers where the author has manged to sum up very well the dilemma faced by our very dear Brother Number One:
The Australian opposed the wasteful Pacific Solution and the detention of women and children behind razor wire. But ending one set of unpalatable processes by opening the door to exploitation by smugglers is not a good result. And transferring more than 400 asylum-seekers to the mainland while maintaining the fiction that the problem can be handled offshore simply confuses voters. The government insists those transferred do not have increased avenues of appeal, but it is also the case that arrival on the mainland is a psychological boost for people and allows them more access to legal support to pursue their cases. As well, the spillover from a crowded Christmas Island is a political problem in an election year because it reinforces fears of an increase in the number of arrivals.
Refugee policy is one of the biggest challenges for governments around the world, but Mr Rudd must drop the defensive stand he has taken of late. Rather than harking back to the Howard years with claims that just as many people were granted asylum back then, he must try to take voters with him, emphasising his commitment to the integrity of Australia’s borders and his belief in an orderly policy.
This is an issue that can only hurt Labor in the upcoming election and while the minions of the far left will try to either derisively take the David Marr line that the numbers are not significant ( 🙄 the resort to statistics) or they will be more overt and play the race card. Either way they may get traction amongst their latte sipping friends but in middle Australia, in the ‘Burbs and the shopping malls the swinging voters will be acutely aware that this government is not in control of either our borders or of this issue.
What we need to see on the news is not footage of buses taking the failed asylum seekers to Villawood, or of asylum seekers pushing shopping trolleys in Brisbane, we need to see failed asylum seekers being put onto aeroplanes as they are deported back to their homelands. then . and only then will people begin to believe that there is some substance to the claims by Brother Number One that his government is serious about stopping people smuggling.