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Bob Carr accused of betraying PM Gillard over Palestine vote

A SENIOR Labor MP has accused Foreign Minister Bob Carr of betraying the Prime Minister by masterminding a numbers campaign behind her back to force a change of policy on Australia's support for Palestinian statehood.

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Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence chair Michael Danby slammed Mr Carr for "unforgivable" and "unacceptable" behaviour as a minister.

Mr Danby revealed Mr Carr had been "phoning around" after a cabinet meeting two weeks ago to lobby against Julia Gillard's decision to cast a no-vote on a UN resolution for greater Palestinian recognition.

Ms Gillard's position was consistent with Australia's long history of support for Israel. However, in a critical test of her leadership, right-wing MPs including Mr Carr refused to back her.

In an unprecedented attack on a minister by a backbench colleague, Mr Danby, a staunch pro-Israeli supporter, claimed Mr Carr deliberately undermined Ms Gillard and threatened to break cabinet solidarity, in a move which ultimately forced Ms Gillard to change her position and announce Australia would abstain from the UN vote.

In a claim that will send shockwaves through caucus, Mr Danby - while stopping short of calling for his resignation - accused Mr Carr of an act of "unforgivable" disloyalty to Ms Gillard.In an exclusive column for The Daily Telegraph today, the Victorian Labor MP accused Mr Carr and his colleagues in the NSW Labor right of abandoning their "beliefs" and betraying Ms Gillard because of a misguided fear of a voter backlash among the growing Middle Eastern communities in western Sydney.

"Phoning around, then speaking on the matter (after you've promised not to) and ultimately threatening to speak against the Prime Minister are all unforgivable behaviour for a minister," he writes.

He said voters in NSW would be more inclined to vote against Labor because of the stench of corruption, rather than a Middle Eastern foreign policy issue.

Mr Carr - a strident public advocate for more recognition for Palestinians - has denied being part of a numbers campaign to force Ms Gillard to change her mind.

In response to Mr Danby's claims, a spokesman for Mr Carr last night said: "The Prime Minister made a decision on this issue, backed by a decisive majority of both cabinet and caucus. It's time for all parties, including Mr Danby, to respect that decision and move on."

The spokesman added that Mr Carr "did not make the comments attributed to him (in Mr Danby's column) ... and did not threaten to speak against the PM".


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Posted by Geoff Seidner on 2012-12-12 03:06:55 GMT

Michael Danby is totally correct in my opinion. He is one of the few politicians who calls it as it is. Carr's behaviour has been totally unacceptable and he should resign forthwith for undermining our PM. By is actions he can never again be trusted by our community!

Posted by Wazza on 2012-12-12 02:33:09 GMT

One of the characteristics of bullies (in the sense of an archetypal bully) is that they collect non-bullies to their side by pointing out how "isolated" the non-bully will be if he doesn't join up. So a lightbulb should flash whenever we hear how "isolated" we would be if .... and this lightbulb should say "bullying is taking place here".

Posted on 2012-12-12 01:51:12 GMT

Yes, reading the comments below and ymr is right. Check out Bob's blog and you will see what I mean. Here is the link:

Posted by Ilana L on 2012-12-12 01:02:00 GMT

Thank G-D for people like Michael Danby. But then remember that Bob Carr is an ex NSW Department of Education History teacher with strong Pro 'Palestinians' sympathies and it is well known. Having been a teacher in NSW and bullied because of my beliefs and pro Israel stance and refusing to listen to 'reasons' why Israel is 'in the wrong', you have to be a brave man to stand against the NSW extremists in the Labor party. Danby and others like him need and must take a stand against the bully behaviour of people like Bob Carr.

Posted by Ilana L on 2012-12-12 00:58:08 GMT

We used the word "treachery" in the email we sent out - not out of any wish to be emotional, but because it literally seemed to be the best word to describe the actions of a minister who planned to reverse a decision in a cabinet meeting by going behind the bck of his PM. If he had told his PM in advance that she didn't have the numbers to pull it through, we would not have used the word.

Posted by Ralph Zwier on 2012-12-12 00:55:05 GMT

Hi Metung kid - Carr has two faces: to his pro Israel colleages he uses the argument of the electoral consequences and the isolation which Australia will find itself under if it supports Israel too strongly. To his anti Israel colleagues he shares their passion for Justice and human rights and the ideological importance of supporting the Palestinians. Your guess is as good as mine as to which of these two faces is his inner belief.

Posted by Ralph Zwier on 2012-12-12 00:50:03 GMT

It is a sad day indeed when foreign policy is dictated by the electoral concerns of the ALP. What Carr has done is to infect Federal Labor once again with the disease of the NSW right. If the allegation is correct, that the western Sydney Middle Eastern vote concern was the cause of this reversal of policy, then you can expect a lot more dictates to come out of the Middle Eastern community that will impact on Lapor Party Policy. If this happens it will not be in the best interest of Australia both domestically or overseas.

Posted by Metung Kid on 2012-12-12 00:05:59 GMT

Good on you, Michael Danby!

Posted by Geoff Seidner on 2012-12-11 23:50:24 GMT