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 served as a BBC correspondent in Washington and South Asia before arriving in Sydney in 2006.

    In Washington, he covered the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, while in South Asia he reported from the sharp end of the Bush administration's war on terror in Afghanistan...

  • 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
    Honorary Associate, United States Studies Centre

    Rebecca Sheehan is an Honorary Associate at the US Studies Centre and Program Director of Gender Studies and Lecturer in the Sociology of Gender at Macquarie University. 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
    Honorary Associate, United States Studies Centre

    John Barron is an Honorary Associate at the US Studies Centre, anchor of “Planet America” on ABC-TV and author of the book “Vote For Me” about the 2008 Presidential campaign. He has produced political documentary films including “First Stop Iowa” about the history of the Democratic Party primary process and “The Party of Reagan” about the disputed legacy of a conservative icon – a film which was made with the assistance of the US Studies Centre.