Former NSW premier is new Australian foreign affairs minister

Bob Carr, former premier of the state of New South Wales. Photo from: Carr's blog

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has found her new foreign affairs minister.

Bob Carr, former premier of the state of New South Wales, is back in the political arena after retiring from politics six years ago. He will be replacing Kevin Rudd, who announced his resignation last week.

Carr is regarded by many — including Rudd — as a “good choice” for the position. Rudd said Carr has demonstrated a strong interest in international affairs. He said the new foreign minister will be “well regarded in Washington,” the Business Spectator quotes.

Carr has pursued improvements concerning the environment and education. As premier, he launched the Greenhouse Gas Reduction scheme, which sets a limit on carbon emissions by electricity retailers. The World Bank listed it as the first carbon trading scheme.

The longest continuously serving premier in NSW history also became a member of the International Task Force on Climate Change, which was convened by Tony Blair.

As the new foreign minister, Carr said he is committed to seeking a seat at the U.N. Security Council, the Financial Times says. Carr said he hopes to gather more bipartisan support from the opposition on foreign policy issues.

But Carr, who is yet to take the job from acting foreign minister Craig Emerson, is already faced with challenges, including the Australian Council for International Development’s budget request of 3.37 billion Australian dollars. The request by the council, Australia’s coordinating body for nongovernmental organizations, is for the next four years and includes the following:

  • AU$300 million for sexual and reproductive health.

  • AU$360 million on peace and security.

  • AU$140 million to tackle climate change in the Pacific.

  • AU$175 million for women empowerment in East Asia.

  • AU$200 million for builsing resilience ans sustainable livelihood in Africa.

  • AU$100 million for a South and West Asia human rights regional fund.

The government pledged to increase its overall aid spending to 0.5 percent of the gross national income by 2015 or $9 billion a year, The Australian reports.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.