Yes you did hear correctly, former Treasurer Joe Hockey was announced this morning as the new Australian Ambassador to America — the most coveted diplomatic position that exists in our fine nation.
It is a good time of year to release bad news in politics because very few notice what’s happening in the hottest days of the summer.
You are not surprised are you? It’s not like this is one of those ‘jobs for the boys’ type scenarios or anything… is it?
Sure, I mean he did say that thing one time about poor people “not driving cars”.
And not so long ago, he was filmed smoking expensive cigars just before delivering some of the harshest budget cuts Australian families had ever felt.
And he did proclaim he was going to “end the age of entitlement” but I guess he was talking about ending it for other people.
He effectively announced there was a “budget emergency” when he became the Treasurer that would fix, only to then leave the budget $37.9 billion in deficit at the end of his tenure — an additional $14 billion blow-out.
But none of those things matter now. Joe Hockey has done his time in politics, and he is a “great Australian” — as the Prime Minister said last night on ABC’s 7.30 program — who will now continue to serve others.
Both sides of politics make these political appointments to key diplomatic positions around the world. This is not unique to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government.
In fact, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appointed former Labor leader Kim Beazley as the most recent US ambassador. Tony Abbott appointed former Liberal Minister Alexander Downer to the role of UK ambassador when he was Prime Minister and Julia Gillard announced former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks would be Australia’s consul-general to New York when she was still PM (before he was swiftly recalled when the Liberal government came to power).
People do not tend to like these decisions. They are not popular, but political leaders continue to make them. Mostly when they hope the public are not going to notice too much. Or when they are extremely popular in the polls so people will take the news better — as PM Turnbull is right now.
There is no doubt 2015 has been another turbulent year in Australian politics.
Twelve months ago this was our Prime Minister chatting to the American President.
Fast forward to now and he is spending his time picking up second hand fridges off Gumtree.