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March 3, 2012

The Taiping connection for new Aussie foreign affairs minister

MELBOURNE: There is a touch of Malaysia in the appointment of Australia's new Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr.

His wife, Helena, is from Taiping, Perak.

The couple, both 64, met in 1972 while on vacation in Tahiti, the largest island in French Polynesia, and married the following year in Sydney.

Helena, of mixed Indian-Chinese parentage, came to Sydney in 1965 to study at Our Lady of Mercy College in Parramatta and later majored in Economics at the University of Sydney.

The youngest of six children, she is wealthy in her own right, having been a successful businesswoman who ran a commercial printing operation before selling it in 2004.

Another Malaysian face in the Australian political scene is Finance Minister Senator Penny Wong, from Sabah.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced yesterday that Carr, formerly the New South Wales State premier, would join the Senate and become Foreign Affairs Minister.

The appointment of Carr is part of Gillard's second ministerial reshuffle in three months.

It follows the resignation of former foreign minister Kevin Rudd after a failed leadership push.

Rudd now sits on the back bench.

Carr said he could not refuse an offer to perform more public service.

“You don't choose the moment, very often the moment chooses you,” he told a media conference. - Bernama