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AustraliaAustralia's 'Trump whisperer' Joe Hockey to return home next year

07:00  08 may  2019
07:00  08 may  2019 Source:   msn.com

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New York: Australia ' s ambassador to the US Joe Hockey plans to return to Australia when his posting expires at the start of next year even if Hockey has served as Australia ' s representative in Washington since the beginning of 2016, forming a crucial link between the Coalition and the Trump

Mr Hockey , who has served as Australia ' s ambassador to the United States since 2016, will return home when his posting ends in January. Joe Hockey was named US ambassador by Malcolm Turnbull. He played golf with President Donald Trump several times.

Australia's 'Trump whisperer' Joe Hockey to return home next year © Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Australia's ambassador to the US Joe Hockey plans to return to Australia when his term expires in January.

Australia's ambassador to the US Joe Hockey plans to return to Australia when his posting expires at the start of next year even if the Morrison government is re-elected on May 18.

Hockey has served as Australia's representative in Washington since the beginning of 2016, forming a crucial link between the Coalition and the Trump administration during a tumultuous period in world affairs.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age understand that Hockey decided around two months ago that he would not seek to extend his four-year term in the US capital. He has informed officials at the Department of Foreign Affairs of his plans.

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Australia ' s Ambassador in Washington Joe Hockey has met Trump adviser Steve Bannon and chief of staff Reince Priebus at the White House amid ongoing discussions over the agreement to resettle refugees from Manus Island and Nauru. The meeting came as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

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There were expectations in the diplomatic community in the US that Hockey's term would be extended until January 2021, particularly if the Liberal government was re-elected, to avoid disruption during a US presidential election year.

The Abbott government extended the term of Hockey's predecessor, former Labor leader Kim Beazley, by an extra year to ensure continuity in the Australia-US relationship.

But Labor sources recently said Hockey was on a "hit list" of diplomats with Liberal Party connections whom they will consider recalling if they won government. Others include former attorney-general George Brandis in London and former Western Australia premier Richard Court in Tokyo.

Australia's 'Trump whisperer' Joe Hockey to return home next year © Joshua Yospyn Joe Hockey oversaw the restoration of the grass tennis court at the Australian ambassador's residence in Washington DC.

Hockey and his wife Melissa Babbage have been undertaking major renovations on their home in Hunters Hill in northern Sydney, prompting speculation that they were preparing to return home.

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Joe Hockey will be leaving his post as Australian Ambassador to the US as storm clouds from the Trump administration threaten the solid, longtime Mr Hockey - who earns an estimated 0,000 a year plus ,000-a- year pension - will return to Australia in January when his term ends, according

Ambassador to the United States Joe Hockey (left) this month uploaded this photo to his Instagram account Mr Hockey is pictured in golfing attire, next to a set of golf clubs, in a photo uploaded to his Instagram In a statement to Daily Mail Australia , the spokeswoman added: 'The expenditure and

A spokeswoman for the Australian Embassy in Washington declined to comment, but sources said Hockey plans to pursue a private sector job in Australia when he returns in January.

Hockey served as treasurer following the Coalition's 2013 election victory and delivered the Abbott government's 2014 and 2015 budgets. He was appointed to the ambassador's post following Malcolm Turnbull's elevation to the prime ministership in 2015.

Labor has pursued Hockey over his dealings with Helloworld, a travel company in which he is a major shareholder.

The Herald and The Age revealed earlier this year that Hockey had arranged a meeting between a Helloworld executive and embassy staff in Washington.

Hockey vigorously denied any wrongdoing in the matter and said he had recused himself from any procurement decisions involving the company.

“The meeting was a general discussion about current arrangements for the delivery of travel services in the United States and Australia," Hockey said.

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He phoned US Ambassador Joe Hockey to express support for nations' alliance. The agreement also stipulated Australia would accept refugees from central America in return . In Saturday' s phone call, Mr Trump allegedly told Mr Turnbull the refugees could be the ' next Boston bombers' and the

"There were no commercial opportunities with the embassy offered or available."

Hockey's departure will open a plum diplomatic posting for Labor if they win government. But it also presents a challenge because Hockey's successor will have to build relationships with the Trump administration from scratch during a US election year.

Hockey has formed close ties with many senior Trump administration figures and has become known as something of a "Trump whisperer" in Washington.

He led the successful negotiations for Australia to be granted a rare exemption from Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

He also lobbied successfully for Australia to retain exclusive access to 10,500 US work visas a year after the Irish government tried to gain entry to the scheme.

Hockey has played golf several times with President Trump since his arrival in the US, including at the end of last month at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Last year he oversaw the installation of a new grass tennis court at the ambassador's home in Washington that has proved a big drawcard in Washington.

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In an interview with The Herald and The Age last year, Hockey said the Trump era required an unconventional approach to diplomacy that extends beyond boardroom meetings.

"The President has less regard for precedent and history than his predecessors - you can't just rest on your laurels and claim to have a special relationship," Hockey said.

"These are abnormal times and you need to have an abnormal approach to engagement."

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