Bob and Helena Carr at the Lismore Literary lunch yesterday at La Baracca Espresso bar and Trattoria in Lismore.
Bob and Helena Carr at the Lismore Literary lunch yesterday at La Baracca Espresso bar and Trattoria in Lismore. Jacklyn Wagner

Carr stops by for long lunch

FORMER NSW premier Bob Carr rolled into Lismore yesterday with thoughts about China’s emergence as the world’s super power and why the carbon tax is the tax we had to have.

Mr Carr was the special guest at a literary lunch at La Baracca Espresso Bar and Trattoria to kick off the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival (August 5-7).

“Isn’t it terrific to be in Lismore in spring weather,” he told the crowd.

“Quality of life in this country is so precious.”

A charming and erudite speaker, Mr Carr talked at length about America’s debt challenge and how it would change the world.

China was now the biggest manufacturer in the world, he said, while the United States faced 9.2% unemployment.

“America’s debt challenge is huge and becoming more acute. They are cutting school budgets, cutting police and letting out prisoners.

“We grumble about state governments here, but nothing in Australia rivals the crisis of very many US states – they’re bankrupt.”

Power, he said, was shifting from the West to Asia.

“All of a sudden for Australia, foreign policy and defence issues are getting real,” he said.

When asked for his views on the carbon tax, Mr Carr replied: “The great advantage of a carbon tax is that you attach a price disadvantage to carbon. Other fuels, such as wind, solar and gas become more viable.

“Any business person can read what’s coming.”

A carbon tax would speed up research into clean coal and would encourage energy retailers to explore renewables, he said.

The lunch, sponsored by The Ad Agency, was attended by a capacity crowd including Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell and many of the festival’s sponsors, including The Northern Star.

A sporting lunch will be held today at Bangalow Dining Rooms, with Lloyd Jones, Malcolm Knox and Mick O’Regan.

Tickets are $80 a head.



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