Here's part of the transcript, as provided here:
Ferguson: Bob Carr was Australia's Foreign minister for just a year and a half, but the Labor heavyweight found enough material to write a 500-page book on his time in the job. In The Diary of a Foreign Minister, Bob Carr details what he sees as some of the biggest problems in Australian politics. He's singled out the Israeli lobby, saying its influence on Australian politics has reached an unhealthy level.... [Emphasis added here and below]
To get the gossip and the geopolitics, I met up with Bob Carr earlier today in Sydney.Bob Carr, welcome to 7.30.
Carr: Pleasure to be with you.
Ferguson: .... Let's go to the book. The strongest criticism of all in the book is aimed at the Melbourne Jewish lobby. Now, there are lobby groups for every cause under the sun. What's wrong with the way that group operates?
Carr: Well the important point about a diary of a foreign minister is that you shine light on areas of government that are otherwise in darkness and the influence of lobby groups is one of those areas. And what I've done is to spell out how the extremely conservative instincts of the pro-Israel lobby in Melbourne was exercised through the then-Prime Minister's office. And I speak as someone who was in agreement with Julia Gillard's agenda on everything else. But I've got to say, on this one, I found it very frustrating that we couldn't issue, for example, a routine expression of concern about the spread of Israeli settlements on the West Bank. Great blocks of housing for Israeli citizens going up on land that everyone regards as part of a future Palestinian state, if there is to be a two-state solution resolving the standoff between Palestinians and Israelis in the Middle East.
Ferguson: You're saying that the Melbourne Jewish lobby had a direct impact on foreign policy as it was operated from inside Julia Gillard's cabinet?
Carr: Yeah, I would call it the Israeli lobby – I think that's important. But certainly they enjoyed extraordinary influence. I had to resist it and my book tells the story of that resistance coming to a climax when there was a dispute on the floor of caucus about my recommendation that we don't block the Palestinian bid for increased non-state status at the United Nations.
Ferguson: They're still a very small group of people. How do you account for them wielding so much power?
Carr: I think party donations and a program of giving trips to MPs and journalists to Israel. But that's not to condemn them. I mean, other interest groups do the same thing. But it needs to be highlighted because I think it reached a very unhealthy level. I think the great mistake of the pro-Israel lobby in Melbourne is to express an extreme right-wing Israeli view rather than a more tolerant liberal Israeli view, and in addition to that, to seek to win on everything, to block the Foreign Minister of Australia through their influence with the Prime Minister's office, from even making the most routine criticism of Israeli settlement policy using the kind of language that a Conservative Foreign secretary from the UK would use in a comparable statement at the same time.
Ferguson: Now, in that period, you give a very frank account of cabinet discussions - the cabinet discussions about a vote on the status of Palestine in the UN. Now during those cabinet discussions, you effectively rolled Julia Gillard. Do you have any qualms about revealing the details of those cabinet discussions?I didn't see the program, but I have just watched the ABC News at 8 a.m. (it's Thursday morning here at the time of writing) which led with Carr's criticism.
Presenter Virginia Trioli, in introducing more on the story, which included input from two pro-Israel stalwarts, AIJAC head Mark Leibler and Labor MP Michael Danby (both of whom scoffed at Carr's remarks, with Danby using the word "bigot") twice referred to "the pro-Israel Jewish lobby". Half an hour later, in referring to the story, she modified that to "the pro-Israel lobby". After all, in the 8 a.m. bulletin there was a passing reference to the pro-Israel stance of the now leader of the Opposition ALP, Bill Shorten, who is certainly not Jewish. But was Ms Trioli earlier making a Freudian slip, or her own dig at "the lobby"
– or at Carr? I guess we'll never know.
But Carr's remarks constitute the big Aussie news story of the day.
Update: see pro-Israel Melbourne columnist Andrew Bolt's take here