Senator Carr's global view

Image of Bob Carr

On 16 August, former Labor Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr discussed the government’s foreign policy priorities and achievements so far, and set out his foreign policy vision for the government’s next term, before an audience of scholars, students, members of the public and the media in MacLaurin Hall.

While a protest against the federal government’s asylum seeker policy was staged outside the venue, Senator Carr spoke on a wide range of foreign policy issues, with asylum seekers front centre. He restated the importance of “busting the business model” of people trafficking that now sees 3000 people arriving by boat each month. That figure could double again, he warned. Once the model has been broken, he said the Rudd Government – if re-elected – would lift the humanitarian intake from 20,000 to 27,000 a year.

Senator Carr admitted to an error over Syria in relation to forging an agreement to ensure guaranteed medical aid, supplies and support for those injured in the fighting. “The mistake was in thinking a medical pact would be easy to arrange. A ceasefire is more important but in the meantime we would try for medical support.
“I could write a book about the frustrations of trying to get a UN agreement on this.”

In other comments during a wide-ranging speech, Senator Carr expressed his reservations with Tony Abbott’s idea of the Anglosphere, an alliance of English-speaking nations. “To have a conservative prime minister talk about the ‘Anglosphere’ would send the wrong message about what sort of nation we are,” Senator Carr added.