Federal Politics


Mike Pence brings wife, children, mini-Cabinet and Secret Service to Sydney

Sydney will host not one Pence, but four Pences this weekend, as the US Vice-President and famous family man Mike Pence flies into town on Air Force 2, accompanied by his "prayer warrior" wife, Karen, and their two daughters, Audrey and Charlotte.

Vice-President Pence will visit tourist sites, conduct trade talks and take tea with the Governor-General, and generally – though it would be impolitic to say so – relieve the Australian government of the burden of a visit from the President himself.

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The vice-presidential entourage flew into Sydney on Friday night on Air Force 2, which is usually a Boeing C-32, a modified 757 which carries about 50 people.

The Sydney leg is the last stop in the Vice-President's 10-day Asia-Pacific tour, during which he has visited South Korea, Japan and Indonesia.

According to one security expert who has consulted on previous state visits, the entourage will include a "mini-Cabinet" of departmental officials and advisors from energy, trade and defence, to counsel Pence as he discusses policy with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The entourage will also include a comms team tasked with maintaining secure communications between the delegation and the administration back in Washington, and the security detail, made up of Secret Service officers.


A separate contingent of Secret Service officers will already have landed in Australia ahead of the visit, prowling the streets to do reconnaissance and advance planning, perhaps deploying from Hawaii, where they have an office.

Vice-President Pence is expected to have a boat ride in the harbour, but when travelling by road, he will likely have a motorcade of several cars, which will carry a medical team as well as security personnel and key advisors.

The medical team is equipped for trauma or medical misadventure – they carry a defibrillator.

There will be road closures, clearways and traffic diversions around the CBD, Kirribilli and North Sydney until Monday morning.

Motorists are urged to allow extra travelling time and public transport users should check schedules.

Vice-President Pence's security detail will travel with "jamming" equipment to scramble mobile phones in the vicinity. Some improvised explosive devices can be detonated via mobile phone.

It is not known where the Vice-President is staying or where he will eat his meals.

A recent Washington Post profile of "Second Lady" Mrs Pence revealed the Vice-President has a policy of never having dinner with a solo woman who isn't his wife.

The unaccompanied female diners of Sydney have been warned.