Downer, Alexander John Gosse

Downer, Alexander John Gosse
▪ 1995

      Political dynasties are rare in Australia, where the widespread egalitarian ethos works against inherited wealth and power. Thus, when Alexander Downer became leader of the Liberal Party of Australia on May 23, 1994, he faced not only a party in disarray but also the burden of a distinguished background. Downer's father, Sir Alexander Downer, had been a Cabinet minister in Sir Robert Menzies' government and Australia's High Commissioner in London. His grandfather, Sir John Downer, was one of the founding fathers of the Australian Commonwealth and a senator in the Australian Parliament. Downer's first tasks as Liberal leader were to distance himself from accusations of being born with a silver spoon in his mouth and to rebut the charge of having no experience of grassroots life.

      Public opinion polls soon put Downer and his conservative party ahead of Prime Minister Paul Keating and his Australian Labor Party government. Downer made a series of mistakes in his handling of Aboriginal policy, however, and by the end of the year the trend was reversed. Downer's troubles began when he said that a Liberal government would consider scrapping the Native Title Act, under which Aborigines were encouraged to take up large-scale outback land ownership. He made matters worse by a visit to settlements in the Alice Springs area, where what he saw at Kintore, Desert Bore, Areyonga, Yuendumu, and Utopia so unnerved him that he made a series of contradictory and confusing statements, causing his approval rating of 53% at the beginning of the trip to dive to only 34% by the time he returned home. Downer's many supporters brushed off the nosedive in the polls. Chastened nonetheless, he was even more resolved than ever to bring true former prime minister Bob Hawke's prophecy that Downer would be Australia's next prime minister. To this end the Liberal leader took up an aggressive position, replying to ridicule in kind and drawing attention to Keating's 1994 purchase of a $2 million home in which to house his French clock collection.

      Downer was born on Sept. 9, 1951, went to school at Geelong Grammar, and continued his education in England at Radley College and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He began his working career as an economist with the Westpac Bank; however, he moved quickly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and served as a diplomat in Australian embassies in Belgium and Luxembourg. In December 1984 he was elected to Parliament, where his boyish good humour, confidence, and frank reaction to the difficulties that crossed his path endeared him to his party. As the Adelaide Advertiser put it, he showed up most other Canberra politicians by getting out into the real world to study problems head on.

      (A.R.G. GRIFFITHS)

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Нужно сделать НИР?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Alexander Downer — Alexander Downer. Alexander John Gosse Downer (nacido en Adelaida, Australia Meridional, el 9 de septiembre de 1951), político australiano, designado ministro de Asuntos Exteriores en marzo de 1996. Fue líder del Partido Liberal en el Parlamento… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Alexander Downer — Alexander Downer, ehemaliger australischer Außenminister (2006) Alexander John Gosse Downer (* 9. September 1951 in Adelaide, Australien) ist ein australischer Politiker und war von März 1996 bis Anfang Dezember 2007 der 38. Außenminister des… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alexander Downer — Alexander Downer, le 12 décembre 2006. L Honorable Alexander John Gosse Downer, né le 9 septembre 1951 à Adelaide (Australie Méridionale), est un homme politique libéral australien qui a été ministre des Affaires étrangères d Australie de mars… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Alexander Downer — Infobox Prime Minister honorific prefix = The Honourable name =Alexander Downer honorific suffix =BA (Hons) order =38th Foreign Minister of Australia term start =11 March 1996 term end = 3 December 2007 predecessor =Gareth Evans successor =… …   Wikipedia

  • Downer family — /ˈdaʊnə/ (say downuh) noun an Australian family of politicians. 1. Sir John William, 1843–1915, state politician; premier of SA 1885–87; 1892–93. 2. his son, Sir Alexander Russell, 1910–81, barrister, federal Liberal politician and diplomat. 3.… …   Australian-English dictionary

  • Australia — /aw strayl yeuh/, n. 1. a continent SE of Asia, between the Indian and the Pacific oceans. 18,438,824; 2,948,366 sq. mi. (7,636,270 sq. km). 2. Commonwealth of, a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, consisting of the federated states and… …   Universalium

  • Liste der Biografien/Dor–Doz — Biografien: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Adelaide (Australien) — Adelaide Skyline von Adelaide …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • 1951 — Portal Geschichte | Portal Biografien | Aktuelle Ereignisse | Jahreskalender ◄ | 19. Jahrhundert | 20. Jahrhundert | 21. Jahrhundert   ◄ | 1920er | 1930er | 1940er | 1950er | 1960er | 1970er | 1980er | ► ◄◄ | ◄ | 1947 | 1948 | 1949 | 1950 |… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • 9. September — Der 9. September ist der 252. Tag des Jahres (der 253. in Schaltjahren), somit bleiben 113 Tage bis zum Jahresende. Historische Jahrestage August · September · Oktober 1 2 3 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”