After much speculation in media and political circles, the New South Wales Premier, Bob Carr, has finally admitted not only that he has federal aspirations, but when he is likely to act on those ambitions.
Mr Carr is quoted in a new biography as saying he'd consider switching to federal politics after the 2007 state election.
One of the book's co-authors, Andrew West, says Mr Carr's revelation to him in April was not accidental or off-the-cuff, but quite deliberate and was confirmed in June.
Mr Carr is reported as saying he would like to serve as a minister in a Labor government.
But Mr West says the federal Labor caucus is desperate, and wants to see Mr Carr in Canberra as soon as possible to help Labor win the next election.
'The only practical help he can offer is the leadership. That's not my view, that is the view of a significant portion of the federal Labor caucus. They think that Bob Carr swanning down after the election, perhaps sailing into a seat in the Cabinet, is frankly a bit of an indulgence. They say 'help us with the heavy lifting, Bob, or don't come at all.'
Federal Labor leader Simon Crean has told Sydney commercial radio that he is not surprised by the news.
I have no idea what is going on here. Carr does nothing without a reason and this story was not released by accident. The one thing I do know is that the idea that Carr might enter federal politics in 2007 is too bizarre for words. Carr is now 55. 59 is just a tad old for a first run at federal parliament.
I've thought for a while that Labor's best hope at the next election is neither Beasley nor Crean. The East Coast premiers all enjoy high popularity. Beattie, however, has troubles with One Nation and Bracks is relatively new to the job. Carr enjoys national recognition and could give Howard a run for his money. IN 2004, not 2007.