Carter to babysit foreign affairs for Shearer?

by Jake Quinn

Today’s announcement of an opposition portfolio reshuffle – due to Helen and Michael’s departure from Parliament – and that Chris Carter will be Opposition Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs begs the question: is the job being held for the ‘almost there’ new comer and foreign affairs expert David Shearer? After all, he was Phil Goff’s foreign affairs advisor when he was the Minister.

Chris Carter is well known in the caucus as a safe pair of hands. Under Clark he always enjoyed his share of decent portfolios such as Education, Conservation and Housing. However, with solid up and comers like Twyford and Robertson holding the associate portfolio, there must be a reason why this old hand has been given the nod ahead of the young bucks hungry for experience.

The other factor at play is the Soldier of Fortune saga, where a few right-wing blogs have had a field day delving into some journal articles Shearer published a decade ago stating the case for mercenary soldiers in extreme conflict zones. All of this, and TV’s sensationalist coverage of it, may lead to Shearer being kept at arms length from the defense portfolio. I doubt that this is the case, but if it was it would be a shame.