Joe Hockey is off to the US as ambassador

Joe Hockey. Photo: Stefan Postles/Getty Images

Former treasurer Joe Hockey has been appointed Australia’s next ambassador to the United States of America, replacing former Labor leader Kim Beazley after five years.

Hockey left politics after 20 years when former prime minister Tony Abbott lost the leadership to Malcolm Turnbull three months ago and Scott Morrison was appointed treasurer.

His successor in the seat of North Sydney, Trent Zimmerman, was elected on the weekend, despite a 13% drop in the primary vote for the Liberal Party.

Foreign minister Julie Bishop has just confirmed Hockey’s widely expected appointment, releasing a statement that said:

Our Alliance with the United Sates is the bedrock of foreign and defence policy and we are working closely together on shared regional and global security, strategic and economic interests.

The United States is Australia’s largest two-way investment partner, and our third-largest two-way trading partner. Ten years after we agreed the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement we have successfully negotiated with ten other countries the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Mr Hockey served as Treasurer for two years from September 2013 and as the Federal Member for North Sydney since he was elected to the Australian Parliament in 1996. Following his re-election in 1998, Mr Hockey became Minister for Financial Services and Regulation. Under the Howard Government he held a number of Ministerial portfolios including Small Business and Tourism; Human Services; and Employment and Workplace Relations.

Prior to entering politics, Mr Hockey was a lawyer working on banking and finance. He also served as Director of Policy to the Premier of New South Wales.

Mr Hockey holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney.

Mr Hockey is expected to take up his position in early 2016. I thank outgoing Ambassador the Hon Kim Beazley AC for his significant contribution to advancing Australia’s interests in the United States since 2010.

Joe Hockey, 50, is also the father of three young children, aged 6, 4 and 2, and his wife, Melissa Babbage, is an independently wealthy investment banker.

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