The Examiner sat down with United States Charge d’Affaires James Carouso during his visit to Tasmania.
James Carouso, from The Bronx, New York, is serving as ambassador to Australia while a new ambassador is being appointed by the Trump administration.
Harry Murtough: Could you explain why Donald Trump hasn’t appointed an ambassador yet?
James Carouso: Our elections were in November ‘16 Donald Trump took office in January, he had his mind on Harry Harris who was ready to come and next thing he's off to Korea.
Because of that, it takes a while to find someone but now we have a nominee, A.B Culvahouse jnr who seems to know absolutely everyone in Washington that's pretty amazing.
Just an old school Republican insider and seems like he'd be a really good choice.
HM: How have the last two years been maintaining a relationship between the US and Australia?
JC: People think in some ways it's difficult because you have a president who is nontraditional, but in fact it keeps being said but it happens to be true - whoever is in the White House or the lodge matters less than it might in other countries because the ties are so deep and broad.
I've been to a lot of countries, but our military relationships, the intel relationship, the business relationship are normal.
Like any two countries throughout our history we have occasional disagreements so you disagreed with the US withdrawing from the Iran agreement, withdrawing from Paris club, withdrawing from TPP but the deeper ties and areas of agreement continue.
HM: This is your second tour in Australia, the first being in the early 2000’s, how much has changed from your perspective in Australia the US?
JC: I tell you what's changed in Australia is the coffee is better, seriously.
Canberra has gotten a lot more sophisticated a lot better restaurants and actually you've become much more multinational and multicultural society just in the space of the 14 years I was away it's really impressive.
I arrived in August of 2001, September 11 happened of course that was a big focus for the rest of my tour along with the free trade agreement that I was involved with.
So now all these years later I'm back, terrorism is still an issue but now there are all these other issues as well so the world keeps changing.
HM: Is this your first time in Tasmania?
JC: It’s been about a year. I try to go around the country as much as possible meeting people seeing what's on their mind, talking about American policy so it's been a while.
I've never been to Launceston so I wanted to correct that, I'm really glad to be here.
You read a lot about Tasmania because of the growth of tourism, the growth of Chinese investment here.
Tasmania's this clean, green marble so I like to come down and check it out.
HM: Are there any particular highlights of your time here?
JC: I drove to Josef Chromy wines yesterday and had a pretty spectacular sparkling wine.
I went to UTAS to the maritime institute, they have some real cutting edge research on ship design, they work with our navy on certain things so I get to see what they're up to there, it was very impressive to see.
HM: Did you see any ideas from this trip that made you think, 'this is good for the region?'
JC: Two of the guys are involved in the tourism sector which is clearly growing, they were talking about the appeasement of cruise ships and what they're going to do when the cruise ships dock.
It's great the idea of getting them out of Hobart and into the countryside taking advantage of that seems like a really good idea.
This one 16 year old kid who has this new idea for how to tie fences more efficiently that's pretty good for a 16 year old, I wasn't doing anything like that when I was 16.
HM: Can Australia learn any lessons from the US in terms of business and innovation?
JC: There's a certain cultural difference between our countries on failure.
In the US failure is an accepted part of business and in fact it is almost a badge of honour, because next time you're gonna fail better or actually succeed.
In Australia it is a certain stigma for failure but I think that's changing, and as that happens I'm betting more capital will be available which will help things grow.
You know there's some amazing Australian success stories as entrepreneurs whether it's Anthony Pratt or Twiggy Forrest or Gina Rinehart and yet somehow they're not as celebrated as your sport stars.
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