One year ago Bob Carr realised his lifelong dream of becoming Australia's foreign minister. But is he any good at it?
The reviews are mixed.
Admirers say the former NSW premier brought some stability back to the portfolio after the leadership psychodrama of Kevin Rudd's tenure. Critics say he's got little to show for his time in the job aside from a long list of media transcripts.
He certainly didn't get off to good start. On his first full day in the job he strayed way off script by threatening to sanction and isolate Papua New Guinea if it didn't hold its national election on time.
Carr later admitted it was a blunder and apologised. He's done a bit more policy freelancing since then - much to the chagrin of many in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) - but he hasn't sparked any further diplomatic incidents.
'I think he's been very credible,' says the Australian National University's Andrew Carr, who is not related to the minister.
Dr Carr believes Senator Carr brought the necessary authority and intellect to fill the hole left by Rudd's departure. Crucially, he also brought a baggage-free relationship with Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
'It's good for the nation when those two senior positions can work very closely together,' Dr Carr says.
As former foreign minister Stephen Smith once said: 'You can never have a crack of light between a foreign minister and a prime minister.' But between Gillard and Rudd there was a yawning chasm of mutual disdain.
Carr's relationship with Gillard hasn't been trouble-free though.
When a controversial vote on Palestinian statehood came before the United Nations last year, Gillard wanted Australia to side with the US and Israel and vote against it.
But Carr had a different view. He helped lead a partyroom push that forced Gillard into an embarrassing backdown. Australia abstained from the vote, a move Carr publicly trumpeted as excellent and honourable.
Arguably, it was the right thing for Australia to do. But it certainly didn't help Gillard's already beleaguered leadership.
'Senator Carr's greatest legacy to date will be his undermining of Julia Gillard's authority,' opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop says.
Ms Bishop may not be unbiased, but she did occasionally have nice things to say about Rudd's approach to the job.
For Carr, not so much.
'It's clear the Bob Carr experiment has not been a success,' she told AAP.
'I struggle to nominate a relationship that has improved as a result of his appointment.'
The Lowy Institute's Alex Oliver also has some criticisms.
She says Senator Carr's done nothing to secure better resourcing for the chronically underfunded DFAT, despite a string of reports showing it's struggling to keep up with an ever-increasing workload and a perpetually shrinking budget.
'He has been of no assistance,' Oliver told AAP.
'I was hoping and expecting he'd be something of a champion for the department, as (former US secretary of state) Hillary Clinton was for hers.'
Carr has stressed the need for DFAT to carry its fair share of cuts in today's difficult fiscal environment.
But this fails to recognise that governments of both persuasion have been hacking into DFAT's budget since the mid-90s - even as the rest of the public service was ballooning.
Australia has far fewer diplomats overseas today than it did two decades ago and has the smallest diplomatic footprint of all the G20 nations.
Dr Carr agrees with Oliver on this: 'That's one area where Carr has certainly failed to deliver for his department.'
Oliver is also critical of Carr's approach to consular cases, particularly the detention of Australian International Criminal Court lawyer Melinda Taylor in Libya last year.
Carr won plaudits for personally intervening in Taylor's case, and flew to Libya to press her case with the country's new government.
Indeed, his lobbying may well have played a decisive role in securing her early release.
Oliver says Carr was right to campaign for Taylor's release, but questions whether he had do it so publicly.
'It seems a little naive of him to jump into the spotlight and conduct that diplomacy under the glare of the media spotlight,' Oliver says.
'I think his judgment there could be queried because that only put even more pressure on the department to rescue every Australian in an equally intensive way.
'It really sets the bar very high.'
Bishop agrees. She believe Carr set the wrong precedent with the Taylor case.
'He has chosen to personally intervene in some cases and then not in others,' she says.
'I'm left with the impression he's more interested in his media profile and chooses to intervene in consular cases accordingly.'
But even Bishop concedes Carr does deserve some credit for Australia's stunningly successful bid for a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council, even if much of the work was done before he arrived in parliament.
Dr Carr says the minister played a significant part in securing such a resounding victory - 140 of the UN General Assembly's 193 votes in the first round of voting.
Ultimately though, Carr is unlikely to leave a big mark on Australian foreign policy history - not because he's a bad foreign minister but because he's unlikely to have enough time.
He's got one year down and - if the polls pointing to a Labor government defeat prove correct - perhaps only six months to go.