Day one of his retirement, and Bob Carr needs a comfortable sinecure to
wait out the weeks and months before he is – ahem – triumphantly
drafted to Canberra as Labor’s next Federal messiah.

There is a solution. Nearly two years ago, Carr launched the Lowy
Institute, Westfield’s intellectual wing – a shopping centre for ideas.
The air crackled that day with mutual admiration: “Bob Carr calls
him Australia’s most successful immigrant, in return businessman Frank
Lowy refers to Mr Carr as an ‘international thinker’,” reported ABC
radio. Check out the Carr/Lowy banter here.

Now there’s a curiously well placed suggestion that Lowy has sounded out Carr to head up his institute.

There are some potential obstacles, particularly those perceptions Carr
has been too close to Lowy during his premiership, during which
Westfield has flourished: remember Liverpool, and Orange Grove?

But a paid gig to read books and deliver high-minded policy sermons,
without all the trouble of political accountability, would seem a dream
job for Carr. Particularly given the Institute’s “international”

The Institute is “an
independent, non-partisan think tank which conducts original,
policy-relevant research about international political, strategic and
economic issues from an Australian perspective.” A tempting blank
canvas for Carr to imprint his big policy picture that’s been so
frustrated running a provincial government these past ten years.

Carr would only ride to Canberra as leader-elect on a wave of
popular sentiment. Unlikely, but not impossible. Particularly if
he maintains a high profile, and a few more polls continue to put Carr
miles ahead of Kim Beazley as preferred Labor leader.

We await confirmation of Carr’s new gig from Westfield’s redoubtable pr flak Matthew Abbott.

Peter Fray

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