Friday, December 11, 2009

Bob Carr

Well, this is all kind of funny. I added two former New South Wales Premiers to the list back in July. And I end up coming to their names very soon after New South Wales gets yet another new Premier.

Bob Carr was the Premier before Morris Iemma. He had the job from 1995 until 2005. That's a pretty long time, at least if you compare it to Iemma and Rees. I wonder how long Kenneally will last.

Baby Bob was born on 28 September 1947, in the Sydney suburb of Matraville. I don't think I've heard of that. Lord Wiki says it's in the south-east. I'll go look on Google Maps.

Okay. It's actually near Botany Bay...that place where Captain Cook went to. It's about twenty minutes south of the airport.

Here's something interesting. The Matra in Matraville comes from a New Yorker who was on the ship with Captain Cook in 1770. There's a whole book written about the guy.

In his youth, Carr attended Matraville High School. I don't see a website for the school, so it may be extinct. Although there is a Matraville Sports High School. Maybe they changed the name?

Lord Wiki says Carr was the first person in his family to finish high school. What does family mean here? His immediate, dad, and siblings? Grandparents? Aunts and uncles? Distant cousins?

Carr became interested in politics during high school. When he was fifteen, he joined the local branch of the Labor Party. That would be around 1962.

Carr became the President of the New South Wales branch of Young Labor. Then by 1972, he was national President. He would have been about twenty-five when he had that job. Lord Wiki says that Young Labor is for anyone in the Labor Party who is younger than twenty-six.

I'm trying to see their website, but something's not working. It's taking forever to load. Never mind that.

Carr graduated from the University of New South Wales, with an honors degree in history. That would have been BEFORE he was President of the local and national Youth Labor Party.

After he graduated from school, Carr took the journalism route. He did work for ABC radio from 1969 to 1971. Then from 1972 to 1978, he worked as an education counselor for the Labor Council of New South Wales. This is an organization made up of union people.

In 1978, Carr returned to the journalism route. He reported on industrial relations for The Bulletin.

Back when he was being the education counselor, Carr went to Tahiti for a vacation. There he met a Malaysian student named Helena. The two fell in love, and Helena soon became Helena Carr.

Ten years after their wedding, Carr became an official politician. He joined the New South Wales Legislative Assembly via the seat of Maroubra. Carr was in that seat for a pretty long time....1983 until 2005. Wow.

In 1984, Carr got a ministry job. He became Minister for Planning and the Environment. I was confused. I wasn't sure if that was one job title, or two. From what I can see by following Lord Wiki's two.

Carr had an interest in international politics. What he wanted was to eventually join Federal Parliament, and become Foreign Affairs Minister. This was his aspiration. But then in 1988, the Labor Party ended up with some corruption problems. They lost the election to the Liberals. The Labor Party felt they needed a new leader. The right-faction of the party pressured Carr to take the job. And he did. In 1988, Carr became Leader of the Opposition. He had that job until 1995, and then he switched to being Premier. So he was Labor Party leader for a really long time....about seventeen years.

Well, I just took a long pause to clean up cat vomit, start a load of laundry, stick some marshmallows in Jack's hot chocolate, gossip about family with Tim, and eat a banana. Now I shall get back on track.....

In his diary, Carr wrote:

I spent today like a doomed man, taking phone calls and drafting a statement, still saying to the press I wasn't shifting. I feel a jolt in my stomach about what I'm getting myself in for. I will destroy my career in four years. Everything's altered. It's my fate ... So, for better or for worse, I become leader of the party next week.

That's a bit sad. Could he have just said no, or would the party have been too mad at him? And maybe there was just too much honor in being asked to become party leader? I think when people are given an honor like that, it's hard to turn it down....even when it's not the direction they want to go in.

Lord Wiki says that as Premier, Carr was cautious and centrist.

Since he liked bushwalking, he used some of his Premier time to create new national parks. Well, you don't really create national parks. It's more about establishing them. Right?

All right. Here's some interesting controversial stuff. About a year into his Premier job, Carr suggested the Governor of New South Wales NOT live in Governor House. He wanted the Governor House to become a museum open to the public. Where should the Governor live? At home. Carr wanted him to be a part-time governor who worked from his own house. Since Carr is known as supporting the Australia Republic, some felt he was trying to diminish the position of the Governor.

I THINK the Government House is the one that's in Royal Botanical Gardens. It looks like the one we saw. Okay. Yeah. It is. We got a tiny bit lost around there once. I forgot what happened exactly. We were with our friend Greg, who was visiting from New Zealand. The four of us were walking in the garden. Tim wanted to go a certain way. I think he thought it would be a short cut. But it turned out it wasn't.

Anyway, having the Governor NOT live in Government House was supposed to save the state some money....two million dollars. The savings never appeared. It ended up costing a lot of money to maintain the building as a museum. Plus, the museum ended up getting less visitors when there was no longer a governor living inside. I guess people preferred visiting a government building when it was still being used as a government building.

The anti-republic people of Australia (Australians for Constitutional Monarchy) had a big protest march about all this.

Lord Wiki says that Carr was Premier during the 2000 Olympics. I imagine that was a big responsibility.

In 2004, he was part of a controversy....the Orange Grove affair. I'll have to read and find out what that's about.....

Lord Wiki says it was a scandal between the New South Wales Labor Party and the Westfield Group corporation.

Westfield is a shopping center. My friend posted about it on Facebook...not the scandal. She entered some kind of sweepstakes, but then it ended up being a virus. Yuck. I hate that stuff. Tim dealt with a virus on our computer the other day. I think he got things fixed.

Anyway, back to Westfield, and the Orange Grove thing.

Oh. It's confusing.

I'm not good at deciphering government/corporate scandals. I'll read, and try to understand. I'm not sure I'm going to attempt to explain anything because I might have it totally wrong.

I THINK what might have happened is a place called Orange Grove tried to open a shopping center. Then it was forced to close....maybe because of pressure from Westfield. Carr might have been involved somehow.

Let me read more.....

Well, I read. It's way over my head. I'm going to give up. If any of you want to share information and/or insights, I'd be happy to see what you have to say.

My GUESS is that Westfield didn't want the competition near one of their shopping centers, so they searched (and maybe found) legal reasons for why the Orange Grove center would need to close.

When Carr resigned as Premier, some thought he was going to try for Federal Politics. He denied this. I wonder why. I mean I wonder why he didn't try and go for Federal. Had he given up his dream?

Carr has written some books. One of them is about his love of reading. It's called My Reading Life: Adventures in the World of Books. It sounds kind of fun. I wonder if it's any good. Prior to that, he also wrote Thoughtlines: Reflections of a Public Man. The Sydney Morning Herald has a review of it.

In 2003, two biographies were published about Carr. The first utilized his own I guess it would be an authorized biography. It was called Bob Carr: The Reluctant Leader. That's a fitting title. The other book was called Bob Carr: A Self-Made Man. The blurb on the Harper Collins site reveals that Carr's brother unfortunately died of heroin.

What has Carr been doing since leaving New South Wales Parliament?

Well, he works as a part-time consultant to Macquarie Bank.

Reading and writing is a big interest for him. He participates in the Sydney Writer's Festival.

He did some guest reporting for the show Foreign Correspondent. He interviewed his American friend...writer Gore Vidal.

Carr took part in the Australia 2020 Summit He was on economy panel.

He's on the board of a book store called Dymocks. Have I been there before? It sounds familar.

Okay yeah. There's one in World Square. We probably went to that one. I do remember a bookstore being there. I didn't buy anything though.

I'm done with Lord Wiki now. I'll try to find some fun and interesting stuff.

Here's an editorial that Carr wrote regarding the Bill of Rights. I forgot to mention this before. But Lord Wiki had said that although Carr supported an Australian Republic, he did not support one in which the president was elected by the people. Nor did he want a Bill of Rights.

I think someone I wrote about before supported the Bill of Rights idea. Was it H.V Evatt? Maybe Julian Burnside?

Let me go see.....

Okay. Yeah. It was Burnside. Ugh. Sometimes I hate glancing at my old posts. I end up finding ridiculous grammar mistakes. I just noticed I had confused our with are. Why don't I catch these when I proofread!!!

Well, now I fixed it.

Anyway, if you read my old post, or just go directly to Burnside's website, you'll see a good argument FOR an Australian Bill of Rights. Now I shall read Carr's argument against it.

I already see some persuasive stuff here. He points out that despite America having a Bill of Rights, we still had slavery up to the 1850's. So a Bill of Rights is NOT guaranteed to protect everyone. Laws can me made to protect everyone...but everyone might not actually include everyone.

Carr says America had a Bill of Rights for 150 years before African-Americans had the right to vote. He also says, Joseph Stalin's 1936 constitution was eloquent on rights but he murdered 20 million Soviet citizens.

I think Carr has some very good arguments here. And he has some interesting examples of things that can and have happened.

He says a right to property might lead the government to rule in favor of property owners over their disputes with environmentalists.

Carr points out that in Canada, a freedom of speech right, allowed tobacco companies to advertise near schools. According to this website, the government has recently been given more power in regulating such advertising. But the Canadian Bill of Rights did make it quite a struggle.

Carr says, Susan Ryan argues that we need a charter of rights to protect the interests of the disadvantaged, the poor, the marginalised. Strange that in America the disadvantaged still have no health care or guaranteed unemployment benefits and that one in three African Americans will experience prison. The US, with its constitutional Bill of Rights, has the biggest prison population in the world.

Wow. Carr really has me convinced here....maybe more so than Julian Burnside. I should probably go back and read the entirety of Julian Burnside's argument....see if he can convince me once again. Although Burnside himself was very critical of America's Bill of Rights. Might Australia create a Bill of Rights that is much BETTER than America's?

Anyway, I SHOULD go look at other websites. But I think I want to quit now. I want to eat something. That banana wasn't enough.