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New Australian Foreign Minister

  • March 3rd, 2012
  • Posted by EUEditor

carr-bob.jpgA veteran, successful former State Premier with a passion for history and international relations, Bob Carr (picture), is to become Australia’s Foreign Minister.

REPLACING KEVIN RUDD

Mr Carr, 46, previously a journalist, had a long term as Labor Premier of the State of New South Wales, 1995-2005.

On Friday the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, announced that Mr Carr would be nominated by the Labor Party to fill a vacancy, left by one of its members  in the upper house of federal Parliament, the Senate. He would then take on the Foreign Affairs portfolio.

rudd.jpgHe will replace Kevin Rudd (picture), Prime Minister from 2007 to 2010, then Foreign Minister, whose resignation from the Ministry on 22.2.12 provoked a leadership vote in which he was defeated by Prime Minister Gillard in a vote, 71-31. He declared he had lost the confidence of the PM since being displaced by her as party leader in mid-2010.
ANY CHANGES?

His departure from cabinet might affect broadly internationalist projects he was pursuing, notably a bid to get a seat for Australia on the United Nations Security Council.

Critics had called that a low-risk-but-low-return exercise, not worth the time and resources it demanded, and said higher priority should go to relations with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, especially the immediate neighbours Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, as well as China and India.

Mr Rudd had also moved to strengthen relations with the European Union, Australia’s principal business partner for trade and investment together, and obtain a say for Australian representatives within the NATO alliance, in managing the allied military commitment in Afghanistan. See EUAustralia Online, “Commentary: Rudd taking NATO-Afghanistan concerns to the top”, 24.3.08.

He has been on good terms with his successor, who might have a disposition to keep on with the projects.

Mr Carr is known to be well read in international affairs, with special interest in the United States (where he has expressed support for President Obama, and has criticised the Republican Party).

He jumped at the offer to become Foreign Minister.

“When the Prime Minister put that to me, no part of me could say ‘no’”, he said.

DISTRACTIONS

The distractions within the governing Labor Party over the last week, amongst other things kept the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, away from a meeting of the G20 leading economic powers, in Mexico.

At that gathering on Sunday, 26.2.12, the G20 Finance Ministers declared the European Union needed to commit still more guarantee funds for member states in trouble, before the rest of the world could provide  major assistance, through the International Monetary Fund.

They suggested raising commitments from the present level of some €500–billion (A$615-billion; xe.com, 2.3.12), to €750-billon (A$920-billion).

The IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the Eurozone group of states using Euro currency was expected to “strengthen, consolidate, reinforce its firewall”, ahead of contributions from outside the group.

Pictures   Wikipedia, DFAT

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