With the US election less than three weeks away, a lot of commentaries are focused on the “horse race”: who is ahead, who is behind? But regardless of the outcome in November, will Americans unite behind the next administration? What will be the policy priorities of either a Biden administration or a Trump administration’s second term? Will there be room for foreign policy and an Indo-Pacific strategy as America grapples with the health and economic costs of the COVID-19 pandemic? Australia has managed its US relationship exceedingly well under President Trump but what risks and opportunities lie ahead for Australia and its national interests under either election outcome?

The United States Studies Centre hosted a conversation between President Trump's former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former Australian Ambassador to the United States The Hon Joe Hockey.

Mick Mulvaney serves as the United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. Mr Mulvaney served as acting White House Chief of Staff from January 2019 until March 2020. Previously Mr Mulvaney was Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from February 2017 until March 2020. He was nominated as OMB Director by President-elect Donald Trump in December 2016. Mr Mulvaney represented South Carolina in the US House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017. 

The Hon Joe Hockey is a Distinguished Ambassadorial Fellow at the United States Studies Centre. Mr Hockey is Founding Partner and President of Bondi Partners. Previously, he served as Australia’s Ambassador to the United States of America, taking up his posting in Washington in January 2016. Notably, Mr Hockey was responsible for Australia’s relationship with the United States during the final year of President Obama’s tenure and the first three years of President Trump’s first term. As Ambassador, Mr Hockey emphasised the importance of a free and fair trade and investment partnership between the United States and Australia, while promoting innovative infrastructure investment throughout the United States. Previously, as the elected Treasurer of Australia, Mr Hockey was responsible for all aspects of the Australian economy. In 2014, Mr Hockey chaired the highly successful G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meetings.