SYDNEY Cigar-chomping former Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey was named ambassador to the United States on Tuesday at a time of intense cooperation on issues from the fight against Islamic State militants to Chinese assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific area.
Hockey resigned from parliament following a September party coup that saw conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott ousted as leader of the ruling Liberal Celebration in favor of Malcolm Turnbull, a progressive former investment banker.
Australian media speculated that Hockey was given the position in Washington, regarded as perhaps the best diplomatic posting, to sideline him from domestic politics.
Hockey’s tenure as treasurer was a rocky one particular that will most likely be greatest remembered for a politically disastrous austerity price range handed down in 2014, from which many felt Abbott’s government never completely recovered.
Although Hockey inherited a slowing economy, he was observed by many to have performed poorly in the function, major to criticism in the media that he could not be qualified to manage Australia’s most important diplomatic connection.
“Our Alliance with the United Sates is the bedrock of foreign and defense policy and we are working closely with each other on shared regional and international safety, strategic and financial interests,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop mentioned in a statement announcing Hockey’s appointment.
Australia is currently conducting air strikes against Islamic State militants in both Iraq and Syria as portion of the U.S.-led military coalition against the radical group, which has seized huge swaths of territory in the Middle East.
(Reporting by Matt Siegel Editing by Michael Perry)