Carr resigns

Bob Carr has resigned as Premier of NSW. Overall, his career looks pretty successful, but it would have looked much better if he’d quit a couple of years ago.

As always in NSW, the choice of successor is in the gift of the Right[1] faction. The big decision they have to make is whether to give it to one of their own or to an outsider. It seems obvious they will go for one of their own, but all the historical evidence suggests they should not. The favorite sons (and they’re nearly all sons) of the Right have been almost uniformly disastrous at the ballot box. Back in the 70s, Pat Hills couldn’t take a trick against the corrupt and not particularly competent Askin government, so they brought in the leftish Neville Wran and enjoyed a decade or more of electoral success. When Wran left, they put up their long-time leader Barrie Unsworth, who lost immediately to Nick Greiner. Carr, his replacement, was aligned with the Right, but was far too bookish and intellectual to be a real part of the Sussex Street machine.

In the decade or so since Carr took over, a string of rightwing apparatchiks has been put up as potential successors: Scully, Costa, Della Bosca and so on. Michael Lee’s failed run for Mayor of Sydney was most probably grooming for a run at State office. As far as I can see, all that is required of these candidates is that they should look OK in a suit and (optionally) be able to string together a coherent sentence together.

It seems to me the obvious choice for Carr’s replacement is his deputy Andrew Refshauge (who is, under the spoils system, necessarily a member of the Left). He’s held a fair number of portfolios, including hot potatoes like health, without incurring fatal damage, and comes across reasonably well on TV. If it weren’t for the absurd and anachronistic factional system, he’d probably be elected unopposed in circumstances like this.

But if elevating a hereditary enemy like Refshauge is too much, how about Frank Sartor? I haven’t liked everything he’s done since entering Parliament, but he’s tough, able and a good campaigner, which is more than you can say for anyone who’s come out of Sussex Street in the last fifty years or so.

fn1. This term once referred to political alignment, along with other equally obsolete factional identifiers like “socialist left”. Now I think it means that they have the “right” to run the party.

30 thoughts on “Carr resigns

  1. “Carr will not be an unemployable as Keating or Whitlam”

    Whitlam, at 89, is retired.

    Keating is making a fortune advising companies doing business in China. His speaking fee for conferences is $50000 and he gets more invitations than he has time to accept.

  2. Iemma who? Oh, that’s right, the man that about ten people have heard of, who therefore can have a media image pasted onto him. A ‘blank page’ I think someone called him. Unfortunately it looks like the the NSW ALP has done it again, and the 2005 version of the ‘killer in a cardigan’ has just been annointed, by the likes of Tripodi, Obeid and Arbib. What a farce.

    Carr had a sound understanding of the sources of power in NSW and used that understanding to ensure labour governed for ten years. A bad government? Not really. But Egan’s embrace of the dogma concerning public debt is what will in the end end it for the NSW ALP. A decade of underinvestment can’t be turned around in 20 months. It just can’t And that I am afraid is the reason that the NSW ALP will take a bollocking at the polls in 2007. as for why a burgeoning prison population is a bad idea, steveinthepub, it is a bad idea because it costs a motza, is a waste of human and capital resources, and is the result (largely) of underinvestment in policies and programs that would divert many of the poeple who are in prison into jobs that actually produce things and from which tax can be raised. That’s why a growing prison population is usually considered as a mark of policy failure, rather than success.

  3. Bob Carr revealed his ignorance today (whether wilful or not) of the Vietnam War when on Radio National’s ‘The National Interest’ he questioned why Jim Cairns did not condemn the ‘Marxist Leninists’ from the North who were trying to take over the South.

    This is straight from the official US propaganda of the time and ignores the fact that the division between “North Vietnam” and “South Vietnam” was artificial and created only in 1954.

    The peace broke down when the unelected Southern regime broke its promise to cooperate in nationwide elections and, in stead, began jailing and killing Viet Minh supporters in the South. Even Australian foreign minister Casey acknowledged that the Viet Minh would have easily won the elections in Saigon.

    Of course the ‘North’ Vietnamese political leadership was very far from perfect, but they should be praised and not condemned for having stood up to the United States and for having sent personnel and material to the south rather than having left their Southern compatriots completely in the lurch.

    Carr claimed to be against US policy in Vietnam, but his regurgitation of deceitful US propoganda, as well as his friendship with Henry Kissinger speak much more loudly.

    For this and so many other reasons (some alluded to earlier), Carr is an Australian political figure I have little admiration for.

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