O’DOHERTY: How was the meeting? What was discussed?
SENATOR CARR: Very good. Australia and New Zealand have got many things in common, but you’ve gotta keep your friendships in good repair.
O’DOHERTY: Some people are wondering why you’re already travelling, given that you’re not yet foreign minister.
SENATOR CARR: I didn’t want to waste time, and the relationship with New Zealand is a very comfortable one. They appreciate that this was my first port of call. But you can’t take anyone for granted when you’re representing Australia in the world, and old friends are the best friends.
O’DOHERTY: Which diplomatic relationships do you see as the most important for Australia?
SENATOR CARR: You can’t single them out. Obviously our security relationship with the United States is the bedrock. Our economic relationship with China is underpinning our prosperity. We can have both, but we don’t have to choose – it’s not a zero-sum game.
O’DOHERTY: Is becoming foreign minister a lifelong ambition and goal for you?
SENATOR CARR: Look, at times, it’s been a goal, but not all the time. I was very focussed on being premier of New South Wales; I’m very fond of the 10 years that I had in that job.
O’DOHERTY: You cautioned Julia Gillard about the US expanding its military presence in Darwin. Are you concerned that perhaps your personal views won’t always accord with the Government’s foreign policy?
SENATOR CARR: No, just a correction there. I fully support it – that was before I was in politics. I fully support - this is back before I re-entered politics - the stationing of those American troops on a rotating basis in Darwin – fully support it. I was just a little bit concerned about the spin put on it in some in America, that it was an anti-Chinese [inaudible] It is not an anti-Chinese [inaudible].
O’DOHERTY: What about Afghanistan?
SENATOR CARR: I think we’ve gotta see the mission through and set up the Afghanis to make, to hold security, to provide law and order after 2014, and that’s what the focus is now, seeing that the Afghan security and military is able to maintain order after 2014.
O’DOHERTY: How hard will it be for Labor to win the next election?
SENATOR CARR: Labor can win the next election, and I’m actually optimistic, because I think the public is going to [inaudible]. I’m actually optimistic because I think the public is going to think about Tony Abbott and the risk of an Abbott Government. In that context, a lot of them are going to say, “No thanks, we’re going to stick with Labor.”
O’DOHERTY: Do you think you can do a better job than Kevin Rudd?
SENATOR CARR: No, I don’t. Kevin was foreign minister after having been prime minister. I think that gave him a special lustre in the role. My job is to build on his policies and to seek out opportunities to extend them.
O’DOHERTY: Okay, I’ll let you go.
SENATOR CARR: Terrific thank you.
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