US election: America at a crossroad



24 October 2012


Hilton Hotel, Level 4, 488 George Street, Sydney

The US presidential election comes at a time when the two major parties are especially divided. But, regardless of the outcome, Americans and their leaders are going to have to make difficult choices on how to confront a still struggling economy, growing national debt, and the country’s uncertain role on the international stage.

Our panel of experts discussed these challenges and how the US can and should proceed in the years ahead. The panel also provided an opportunity to discuss not only who will win the election but its implications on US domestic and foreign policy.

A postgraduate information session was also held before the panel discussion and gave prospective students an opportunity to speak one-on-one with our academics about the Master of United States Studies. Guests also had the opportunity to network with current students and alumni of the program.


  • Nick Bryant, BBC Correspondent
  • Mike Seccombe, Business and Economics Correspondent, The Global Mail
  • Rebecca Sheehan, Lecturer in United States History
  • Moderator: John Barron, ABC journalist and co-host of Planet America


  • Nick  Bryant
    Nick Bryant
    Foreign Correspondent, BBC

    Nick Bryant is one of BBC’s most senior foreign correspondents, currently covering New York and previously posted in Australia, Washington and South Asia. He covered the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W Bush, including the war on terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is the author of When America Stopped Being Great: A history of the present; The Bystander: John F. Kennedy and the struggle for black equality; The Rise and Fall of Australia: How a great nation lost its way and Adventures in Correspondentland. He studied history at Cambridge and has a doctorate in American politics from Oxford.

  • Mike Seccombe

    Mike Seccombe, widely known as ‘Secco’ is known by many for his coverage of national affairs and politics for The Sydney Morning Herald. He authored the once-infamous Kookaburra column, so named after then-PM Paul Keating referred to Secco as “that [expletive] Kookaburra.”

    Secco has covered the term of three Prime Ministers and also served as the SMH’s Canberra Chief of Staff. From 2006-2011, he lived on Martha’s Vineyard Massachusetts writing for the venerable Vineyard Gazette. Secco is covering business and economics for The Global Mail, based in Sydney.

  • Dr Rebecca Sheehan
    Dr Rebecca Sheehan
    Lecturer in the Sociology of Gender, Macquarie University

    Rebecca Sheehan is Program Director of Gender Studies and Lecturer in the Sociology of Gender at Macquarie University. Sheehan was previously a Lecturer in US History at the US Studies Centre. Her key areas of expertise are US women’s history, feminist history, history of gender and sexuality, history of social movements in the US, and cultural politics, including race, gender, religion and sexuality.

  • John Barron
    John Barron
    Journalist and broadcaster, ABC

    John Barron was previously an Honorary Associate at the US Studies Centre. He is anchor of “Planet America” on ABC-TV and author of the book “Vote For Me” about the 2008 Presidential campaign.