When Julia Gillard announced that Bob Carr would be nominated to fill a vacant Senate position (that of former Senator Mark Arbib) on 2 March 2012, he said he was
a natural Senator
Writing on 3 March 2012, Troy Bramston called the appointment of Carr as an
inspired choice … As a teenager, Bob Carr sat in the cafes and bars of downtown Sydney with Paul Keating and Laurie Brereton, dreaming aloud about becoming a Labor senator and serving as foreign minister.
Bramston noted that Carr had his eyes on the Senate since the 1970s,
quietly seeking a seat in 1974, 1978, 1994 and 2006.
A visit to Carr’s home or office sees walls lined with books on politics, including tomes on the great chamber of democracy: the US Senate. No wonder he pointed to the late Robert Byrd yesterday – the longest-serving US senator.
In his maiden speech to the Senate on 21 March 2012, Carr said
In truth, since I was 15 and finished reading Finn Crisp’s biography of Ben Chifley, I have been inspired by the honour of representing my ‘grand old party’ in a parliament.
Carr’s current term as Senator number 548 (which he mentioned in his Maiden Speech) expires on 30 June 2014. He nominated and was placed number 1 on the ballot paper for Labor to be Senator for NSW and was duly elected last Saturday. This term runs from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2020.
Given this background, it would be grossly hypocritical if Carr resigned from the Senate before even commencing his first term as an elected (rather than appointed) Senator. He claims that his life’s dream has been to be a Senator so he now has the obligation to complete the term he has just been elected to, provided his health remains sound.
If Bob Carr announces in the coming days that he is stepping down from the Senate, to which he has just been elected, and will be replaced by yet another union official parachuted into Parliament by the Labor Party, this is what he will say:
Blah, blah, blah. Wash, rinse, spin.
Carr is an eloquent man, a witty man, a man I have known, and liked and respected for a long time, but if he goes through with this moral, ethical and political travesty he is going to become a joke in his home town. I do not want this to happen.
It will happen if he casually strolls away from the 1.04 million people of NSW who just re-elected him to the Senate, gave their vote to Labor, the people who still believe in the party and on whom its survival depends.
With one spectacular act of nonchalant cynicism, Carr’s achievements will be darkened by two people: Eddie Obeid, who exercised considerable influence on Carr’s watch, and Paul Howes, the national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, who is widely speculated to be the parachutee if Carr departs.
Carr’s actions, not his words, will speak loudly. He will become Bob Czar. Because this is how most people will interpret his decision to go:
Yes, more than a million of you voted for me and the Labor ticket, but I don’t care. I am just so bored by the idea of serving you. I am far too grand to be in opposition.
Read the rest. Sheehan is on fire.