June 25, 2004


Carr tells Latham to toe US line (Dennis Shanahan, June 26, 2004, news.com.au)

LABOR'S longest-serving leader, NSW Premier Bob Carr, has warned Mark Latham to exercise the "utmost diplomacy" on withdrawing troops from Iraq and urged him to accept the US free trade deal "the sooner the better".

Mr Carr, who has just returned from a two-week visit to the US, warned his federal counterparts Washington feels "wounded" and is sensitive "to any ally, any friend, turning their back on America".

The NSW Premier said he had been told in Washington that Canberra should think "carefully about a premature withdrawal from Iraq" because helping the US in a "tough time" meant Australia could have an influence on US policies.

Mr Carr's comments, made in Canberra yesterday and to be broadcast on ABC radio this weekend, increase the pressure on federal Labor's policy on two fronts - troop withdrawal by Christmas and opposition to the US trade agreement.

In an interview with the ABC's Sunday Profile radio program to be broadcast this weekend, Mr Carr said Australia was highly regarded in Washington because "we've got troops in Iraq".

"I'm contemplating a change of government - if Labor is to be elected in the forthcoming elections, this will be a major diplomatic challenge," he said.

In an apparent slight to Mr Latham, Mr Carr said "a lot of diplomacy and skill will be required" and suggested former Labor leader Kim Beazley and foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd and "other members of the Labor team, caucus and shadow cabinet" would be up to it.

A family adjusts itself to the most dysfunctional member.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 25, 2004 7:51 PM

I thought Howard was PM of Australia? Are the Aussies really going to pull out and not enter into a free trade agreement?

Posted by: AWW at June 25, 2004 8:45 PM

Latham's going to run against him.

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Posted by: Sandy P at June 26, 2004 12:30 AM