Joe Hockey may have lost his seat of North Sydney to Trent Zimmerman in the byelection over the weekend, but he has been officially appointed to the role of ambassador to the United States.
The former treasurer in the Abbott Government will take up the ambassador post in Washington DC in early 2016, replacing Kim Beazley, who has held the role since 2010.
Mr Hockey, who gave his final address to Parliament on 21 October, expressed a keenness to contribute to public life.
“I still have three or four years of desire to contribute to the country in one form or another…It’s just that politics, at the end of the day, beat me,” Mr Hockey said.
However, he said that if he remained in politics his attention would be occupied with payback of his “enemies”.
“If I was going to stay, it would be overwhelmingly about getting even with people that brought me down…But I love my country and my family more than I hate my enemies,” he explained.
Prime Minister Turnbull described Australia’s relationship to the US as a “very deep one” and that “Joe will be, as Kim has been, the face of Australia to Washington. To the most powerful government in the world, the face of Australia will be Joe Hockey.”
However, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described the decision to appoint Hockey as “a trifle strange”.
“Malcolm Turnbull didn’t trust Joe Hockey to be treasurer but how do we know he really trusts Joe Hockey to be ambassador to America?” he said on Tuesday.
Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Tanya Plibersek also questioned Mr Hockey’s appointment, saying the position should go to someone with “a deep interest in foreign affairs”, and Mr Hockey has not previously expressed such an interest.
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What do you think of Joe Hockey being appointed ambassador to the United States? Will he fulfil the expectations of the role or would someone else have been better suited to the position? Should former Australian politicians be appointed as our diplomats?