Bob Carr.
Bob Carr.

Carr predicts the demise of state govts

FORMER NSW Premier Bob Carr left politics on a high, but believes state governments are a dying institution.

Speaking at a Byron United breakfast yesterday, the longest continuing serving NSW premier has doubts the middle level of politics can survive.

“The states are being hollowed out and a few more years of this and you would be hard-pressed to justify having full-time state MPs,” he said.

“I think the states will go on existing as some sort of shell, but their major functions will be implemented by Federal Government policies.”

Mr Carr said the states were shackled to federal finances by the GST and former PM John Howard was a great interventionist, forcing policies, such as flagpoles in schools, on state governments.

Bob Carr resigned in 2005 and said yesterday he did so because he felt he was not being heard.

It dawned on him when he launched a government policy which would ensure drivers injured in car crashes would be covered for all their needs, injury, ongoing care and lost wages, and the press focused instead on a personality clash at the State ALP conference.

“I had what I thought was a knockout announcement. This initiative is worthy of their reporting,” he said. “I said to myself, 'Bob, they're not listening to you, it's time to move on'.”

The eclectic speaker raised several issues, from the injustice of children's suffering to the importance of battling climate change and the need to support stem cell research.

He is in Byron Bay as a guest of the Byron Writers Festival armed with his recently-published book about his favourite literature, My Reading Life. Book proceeds will go to Interplast Australia & New Zealand, which funds surgeries for children with cleft palates in Third World countries.

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