Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has refused to comment on speculation that ousted Treasurer Joe Hockey will be appointed as Australia’s next ambassador to the United States.
“I cannot possibly comment on diplomatic postings,” Mr Turnbull told the Nine Network on Monday.
It has been widely reported that Mr Hockey is in the running for the plum job after being forced out of politics.
On Sunday, Mr Hockey announced he would soon quit parliament after declining a demotion to a minor ministry in the new Liberal government led by Malcolm Turnbull.
“[After] seventeen years on the front bench, I advised the Prime Minister that I did not wish to continue as a minister in the Government and that it is my intention to resign from the House of Representatives,” he said in a statement.
Former Labor leader Kim Beazley is reportedly due to retire from the ambassadorship at the end of this year, which could clear the way for the former Treasurer’s appointment.
An earlier quote from Mr Turnbull was interpreted as a hint at this posting.
On Sunday, while announcing his reshuffled Cabinet, the new Prime Minister said Mr Hockey had “a further contribution to make”.
“Joe has made a long and distinguished contribution to our nation’s government and Parliament over many, many years for which I thank him,” Mr Turnbull said.
“I believe he has a further contribution to make in our nation’s service.”
Josh Frydenberg, himself promoted to Cabinet, confirmed to Sky News that Mr Turnbull was alluding to “a role into the future” for the outgoing Treasurer.
Mr Hockey was replaced by Scott Morrison as Treasurer.
— with AAP