SENATOR Bob Carr has been writing a book about his time as Foreign Minister even as he carries out the job - raising eyebrows among officials and colleagues with his time-consuming recording of events and discussions.
A spokesman for Senator Carr confirmed yesterday the book was a "work in progress", intended to be published soon after the Foreign Minister finished in the dream job that unexpectedly drew him out of retirement in February.
But later the spokesman said Senator Carr had now "postponed all work on the book and will not be doing further work while he holds his ministerial job".
The spokesman said the book was intended to be more like Senator Carr's intellectual 2002 tome Thoughtlines: Reflections of a Public Man than Marilyn Dodkin's racier biography Bob Carr: The Reluctant Leader, which included excerpts from the then New South Wales premier's lively, self-reflective and often revealing personal diaries.
There was "interest" from publishers, but as yet no final publication deal, the spokesman said. Like Thoughtlines, all proceeds from the new book would be given to charity.
Some officials have commented on the time the Foreign Minister has spent keeping notes for the book, and some Labor colleagues have been concerned about what he might reveal about internal political machinations.
But the spokesman said it would be "reflections on foreign affairs and world events" and not be about "the cut and thrust of daily politics. It is not a diary or an autobiography," he said.
Mr Carr unexpectedly entered the Senate and was immediately elevated to Foreign Minister in February after Kevin Rudd's unsuccessful bid for the Labor leadership saw the former prime minister relegated to the backbench and the sudden resignation of New South Wales Right powerbroker Mark Arbib.
Senator Carr said his decision to make his diaries as premier public would help give "people a clearer idea of what it is like to ride the roller-coaster" and would provide a "more effective record of one's time".
An avid reader and writer with a strong interest in Labor Party history, Senator Carr was recently critical of former Labor minister Lindsay Tanner for writing about what was wrong with the ALP.