Bob Carr's diary lashes Gillard and Rudd
Bob Carr reveals Kevin Rudd's reputation for explosive outbursts among the world's foreign policy elite in his Diary of a Foreign Minister. Nine News.PT1M55S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-36e42 620 349 April 10, 2014
Former foreign minister Bob Carr lifts the veil on arguably the most towering - and eccentric - ego in Australian politics in his new book, boldly declaring after attending a meeting of world leaders that he “cannot feel humble”.
I am Foreign Minister… I soar above the mundane and serve my country.
Laying out his peculiarities and peccadilloes, and the “diva” demands that exasperated his bureaucrats, Carr’s Diary of a Foreign Minister is a tour-de-force of details about his fanatical exercise regime and obsessive high protein, low sugar diet.
Former Australian foreign minister Bob Carr (second from right) at the G20 in September with US President Barack Obama, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Reuters
It’s also not shy in conveying the author’s self-regard and appetite for self-mockery.
The diary ends, as did Carr’s stint as foreign minister, at the G20 leaders’ meeting in Moscow in the week of the September 2013 federal election, where he is seated next to Vladimir Putin and looks across to Barack Obama.
Reflecting on his stature among world leaders, Carr recalls the words of the late novelist Gore Vidal: “I cannot feel humble. Interested, curious, of course. Just not humble.”
Former foreign affairs minister Senator Bob Carr, in his office at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
He also gained exquisite pleasure from chairing a successful meeting (“I’m the best chairman I know”); wearing Hermes ties; spinning through numerous media interviews (“I have more energy than 16 gladiators”) and from projecting his “masterly” baritone voice (“I am Foreign Minister… I soar above the mundane and serve my country.”)
Carr alludes to the Senate scrutiny and media reports of his extravagant travel bill and demands for exotic foodstuffs.
But he is unapologetic, and the diary records the eccentricities incessantly, in between details of intelligence briefings, cabinet meetings and inside accounts of global gatherings of the world’s leaders.
He even publishes, in full, a letter from the Singapore Airlines regional vice president, responding to complaints the former foreign minister made about the quality of the inflight entertainment.
“Please accept my sincere apology if any part of our First Class inflight offering fell below your expectations,” the vice president wrote.
“Specifically, I have taken note of the lack of English subtitles for the Wagner Opera Siegfried.”
Carr is scathing of business class travel. “ No edible food. No airline pyjamas … I lie in my tailored suit.”
The sleeping pods were arranged in a “design that owes a lot to the transatlantic slave trade,” he laments.
Even upgrades to first class were demeaning. It was “pathetic that the public service rules reduce me to that, an upgrade for a middle-power foreign minister,” he writes.
Meditation and sleeping pills help him cope with the relentless jetlag, and unexpected exhilaration.
Feeling so overjoyed when Henry Kissinger invited him to the exclusive millionaires’ retreat, Bohemian Grove, Carr confesses he “popped two Normison [sleeping tablets] to smother the excitement.”
On his diet and exercise regime, Mr Carr laments when he can’t get his favoured breakfast of steel cut organic oats and berries and two poached eggs.
He notes his favourite exercise is the "wonderful one-legged Romanian deadlift”.
“My ambition,” Mr Carr writes during a trip to Cairo, “[is] to have a concave abdomen defined by deep-cut obliques.”
Mr Carr repeatedly remarks on the “the elite of the flat-stomached”, whose members include Barack Obama, CIA boss David Petraeus, Prince Charles and - it seems - himself.
However, sometimes his minions go too far to accommodate him.
“When we stop in LA I will tell our embassy at the UN not to adhere to that steamed-fish policy,” he writes.
“Every meal the Foreign Minister is served bland steamed white fish. This apparently reflects a Fuhrer-directive that I had the department send out about my diet. But whoever drafted it overshot the mark.
“I want turkey, I want grass-fed beef … This is the new Fuhrer-directive.”