Biden names Caroline Kennedy as Aus ambassador

The Biden administration has nominated Caroline Kennedy to be the new US ambassador to Australia.

The Biden administration has nominated Caroline Kennedy to be the new US ambassador to Australia. Photo: Getty

US President Joe Biden has nominated the daughter of the former US president John F Kennedy to be the country’s next ambassador to Australia.

The White House listed Caroline Kennedy among eight recommended appointments for key diplomatic and agency postings.

Ms Kennedy said she was grateful for the part Australian and Solomon Island coast watchers played in rescuing her father from a sunken torpedo boat in the Pacific during World War II, and would work to repay this debt.

“I look forward to collaborating with the government of Australia to strengthen our alliance, improve global health and increase vaccine access during this terrible pandemic and to address the urgent climate crisis,” she said in a statement.

“I am excited to get to know the Australian people, learn about their fascinating country and share with them what I love most about America.”

Ms Kennedy was previously the US ambassador to Japan from 2013-2017 and was awarded the country’s highest honour for foreigners – the Grand Cordon of the Rising Sun – in November 2021.

Her appointment will need to be confirmed by the US Senate.

It comes just days after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Minister Marise Payne discussed the lag in the appointment of Australia’s ambassador. The pair agreed a US Senate-confirmed ambassador was needed “as soon as possible in light of the scope and scale of shared challenges we face”.

Senator Payne said Ms Kennedy would bring deep political networks in Washington and a keen understanding of the Indo-Pacific region to the role.

But Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese also welcomed Mr Biden’s decision.

“I welcome this nomination. It’s a senior nomination, and it shows the importance of the Australia-US alliance,” he said on Thursday.

Mr Blinken recently called on the Senate to expedite its approval of Mr Biden’s ambassador nominations for the sake of national security.

-with AAP

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