Bob Carr retires from politics

Bob Carr (AAP)

Former Foreign Minister Bob Carr has announced his retirement from politics.  

Former Foreign Minister Bob Carr has announced his retirement from politics.

The announcement follows weeks of speculation that he would quit despite being elected for a six-year term at the September 7 election.

(Click on audio tab above to hear full item)

Bob Carr says he now plans to reinvent himself as an expert on Asia and is going to take up two part-time academic posts.

The former New South Wales Premier will become a professorial fellow at the Sydney South-east Asia Centre at Sydney University.

He will also take up a role as an adjunct professor at the University of New South Wales.

Senator Carr was controversially brought into the Senate to fill a vacancy, and then straight away appointed Foreign Minister, by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Kevin Rudd had just quit as Foreign Minister to unsuccessfully challenge for the Labor leadership.

Senator Carr has defended the timing of his decision to retire, saying it's in the best interests of the Labor Party.

"It's at least three years before we have the chance of another Labor government. Hogging the shadow ministry, denying a younger colleague the opportunity to serve in that role, I didn't think upon reflection, would be in the best interests of the Australian Labor Party. So with malice towards none and generosity and charity to all, I bid my farewell."

Senator Carr also defended his decision to back Kevin Rudd's leadership bid in the lead up to the election.

He says it was a purely pragmatic decision based on party survival.

"It was based on a study of how political movement reflected in the polls threatened to reduce Labor to a status from which it would be very hard to recover. There's a big difference between 33 per cent of the vote and getting 27 per cent or even as in a New South Wales and Queensland State election, something like 25 per cent. That was my concern."

His departure opens the way for the NSW right faction of the ALP to select a new Senator - likely to be Deb O'Neill, who lost her central coast House of Representatives seat of Robertson in September.

Another name in contention is former Eden-Monaro MP Mike Kelly, who was a minister under Mr Rudd and also lost his Lower House seat at the election.

Union leader Paul Howes pulled out of the race for the coveted New South Wales Senate spot last month before it was even vacant, saying candidacy would tear Labor apart.

Senator Carr says while he won't be conducting a running commentary on the state of the federal Labor Party he does have some advice for his parliamentary colleagues.

He says that's to continue with the policy of sending asylum seekers who arrive by boat to a detention centre in Papua New Guinea.

"It's got to stick by that arrangement with Papua New Guinea. The Australian people will never accept that 20 per cent of the migrant intake can arrive courtesy of people smugglers. And with the monthly arrivals we were looking at before Kevin Rudd announced the PNG arrangement, you're looking at figures that on an annualised basis would've been equivalent to 20 per cent of the total migrant in intake being brought to these shores by people smugglers. And the Australian people would never accept that."

Senator Carr was re-elected at the September election for a six-year term that would have started on July 1 next year.

So he will technically need to resign for both the current term and the next.

Senator Carr's resignation is effective immediately.


Source World News Australia

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch