RSIS Seminar by Professor The Honourable Bob Carr, RSIS Distinguished Visiting Fellow; Director, Australia-China Relations Institute, University of Technology, Sydney; and Former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Australia
Southeast Asia and Australia: Australia with ASEAN
About the Lecture:
A former Australian Prime Minister suggested Australia join ASEAN. That aspiration was not recommended by Bob Carr’s department when he was Foreign Minister. Still, some Australian academics see Southeast Asia as offering Australia a third way. Is this realistic? Or is Australia’s international personality always going to be subsumed by its security treaty with America which at one stage resulted in a “deputy sheriff” analogy. Bob Carr will survey the barriers to deeper Australian engagement with Southeast Asia and cooperation with ASEAN illustrated by case studies from his 18 months as Foreign Minister 2012 – 2013.
About the Speaker:
Former Foreign Minister Bob Carr is also the longest continuously serving Premier in New South Wales history.
He served as Minister for Planning and Environment 1984 to 1988 and as Leader of the Opposition from 1988 until his election as Premier in March 1995. He was re-elected in 1999 and 2003 securing an historic third four-year term.
He retired from politics in 2005.
During his 10 years the State Government set new records for spending on infrastructure, became the first government in the State’s history to retire debt, hosted the world’s best Olympics in 2000 and achieved the nation’s best school literacy levels. Forbes magazine called Bob Carr a “dragon slayer” for his landmark tort law reforms.
As Premier he received the World Conservation Union International Parks Merit Award for creating 350 new national parks. He introduced the world’s first carbon trading scheme and curbed the clearing of native vegetation, both anti-greenhouse measures. He was a member of the International Task Force on Climate Change convened by Tony Blair, and was made a life member of the Wilderness Society in 2003.
Bob Carr has received the Fulbright Distinguished Fellow Award Scholarship. He has served as Honorary Scholar of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue. He is the author of Thoughtlines (2002), What Australia Means to Me (2003), My Reading Life (2008) and Diary of a Foreign Minister (2014).
In March 2012 he was designated by Prime Minister Julia Gillard as Australia’s Foreign Minister, elected to the Australian Senate to fill a casual Senate vacancy and sworn in to the Senate and Cabinet on March 13, 2012.
As Foreign Minister, Bob Carr fostered stronger relations between Australia and Southeast Asia, lifted sanctions on Myanmar, campaigned for the passage of a global Arms Trade Treaty and led the final stages of Australia’s successful bid for Australia’s seat on the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member. His plan for a Syrian medical pact was backed at the G20. He assisted Prime Minister Gillard in achieving a strategic partnership with China.
Following his resignation from the Senate on October 23, 2013, the University of Technology, Sydney appointed him to lead the Australia-China Relations Institute – a think tank dedicated to Australia-China relations.