How Arthur Sinodinos Plans To Trump Joe Hockey In The US
Arthur Sinodinos knows all about survival.
The father of three has fought many battles in his life personally and politically.
The Liberal Senator from Newcastle was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2017.
He took a leave of absence from the often tough world of politics, to undergo treatment. With his siblings incompatible donors, doctors searched internationally to find a match.
Many thought he would never return to federal parliament, but a very gaunt and sick looking Senator surprised them all when he accompanied former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull into what would be his final party room meeting as leader.
His diagnosis wasn’t the only interruption in his ministerial career.
He also stepped down in 2014 at the height of a political donations scandal involving ICAC, but was later cleared.
Now the 62-year-old is taking up his new role as Australia’s next ambassador to the United States at a volatile time, but he’s looking forward to the challenge.
“I’ve got a lot to get my teeth into but I think it will be enormously stimulating,” he explained to 10 News First.
He’s not wrong.
But the outgoing Liberal Senator believes we as a nation have a capacity to “punch above our weight internationally” and he says “we should never underestimate ourselves and the good influence we can have in the world".
Sinodinos is no stranger to foreign affairs or the world stage.
He served eight years in the upper house in federal parliament, and nine years as former Prime Minister John Howard’s chief of staff. Those roles have given him a strong confidence that he will be able to do positive things for our country in his new appointment.
He says the current ambassador, Joe Hockey, did well to establish strong professional and personal relationships with the US president and senior figures in the Trump administration.
Yet he knows what he can bring to the table.
“I think we’re all different. I mean, I’m different to Joe. Joe was different to Kim Beazley. Kim Beazley was different to Dennis Richardson. We all have our strengths and weaknesses,” he explains.
“The strengths I want to bring to this are being very focussed on the policy side of the job, the Prime Minister has given us quite an agenda to follow up with the US, and I also think I have a capacity because of previous jobs I’ve had.
"Being Prime Minister Howard’s chief of staff for nine years, I’ve dealt with the Clinton administration, I’ve dealt with the George W Bush administration so I can bring that experience in dealing with the Americans and their perspective.”
Sinodinos also isn’t afraid to tell China what he thinks.
“If we all play by the same rules, there can be certainty and confidence for people to invest and trade,” he said.
“A rising tide lifts all boats, we want China as part of this. We don’t want a situation where we end up with this cold war where we’ve got the Americans going in one direction and the Chinese in another.”
While the highly regarded Liberal politician will have a lot on his plate, he is looking forward to spending more time with his wife and three children. They will move together top Washington as a family.
“You don’t want to become a sort of visiting father, this is an opportunity to again be more hands-on.”
He also plans to be more hands-on with golf and tennis. It’s no secret Donald Trump loves a hit on the fairways, but Arthur Sinodinos admits he needs to squeeze in some more practice, if he has any chance of bonding with the president over a game.
“I’ll have to brush up on all of that,” he laughs.
But if the outgoing senator finds his country in the rough, he certainly appears to have the experience behind him to hit the green.