Being foreign affairs minister is a pretty thankless job, because problems generally have a long lead time. Things that go wrong on your watch are likely to be the fault of some remote predecessor, but you're left with having to clean up the mess.

But it's the job Bob Carr has always wanted, so there he was yesterday in Fiji, with a "ministerial contact group" from the Pacific Islands forum, to assess the country's progress, or lack thereof, towards democracy.