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Hockey expected to be named US ambassador

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Former federal Treasurer Joe Hockey is on Tuesday expected to be unveiled as Australia’s new ambassador to the United States.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull removed Mr Hockey as Treasurer soon after assuming the prime ministership.

Mr Hockey then announced his retirement from politics.

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It has been mooted for some weeks that Mr Hockey would take the Washington role, and senior sources have told the ABC the announcement is expected on Tuesday.

It is expected Mr Hockey will start in January, before Mr Turnbull visits US president Barack Obama at the White House.

Mr Obama invited the Prime Minister during the APEC summit in the Philippines last month.

When asked about the announcement on 7.30, Mr Turnbull said: “That’s a very good question.”

“What’s that great line? You may very well say that but I couldn’t possibly comment,” Mr Turnbull said, channelling a phrase from television series House of Cards.

“Joe is a great Australian and I look forward to him serving Australia in other capacities.

“Any announcements will be made in a more formal and appropriate manner.”

The current ambassador, former Labor leader Kim Beazley, is due to finish his five-year stint as Australia’s ambassador later this month.

Mr Beazley was appointed by the Rudd government, continuing the trend of Australian governments appointing former politicians to diplomatic posts.

The former Labor government also appointed former deputy prime minister Tim Fisher as Ambassador to the Holy See.

The Abbott government appointed former foreign minister Alexander Downer as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, a move that saw former South Australian premier Mike Rann shift to head Australia’s mission in Italy.

Queensland senator Brett Mason was also named Ambassador to the Netherlands by the Abbott government.

– ABC

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