Tuesday 2nd of September 2014

our clown goes to london...

clowner in london...


The Abbott Government hands out more jobs to the Howard mafia, with Alexander Downer being appointed London High Commissioner and Nick Minchin off to New York. Barry Everingham reports.

THE DECISION of the Abbott Government to appoint former foreign minister Alexander ‘Dolly’ Downer to the plum diplomatic post of High Commissioner in London is as absurd as it outrageous (though not unexpected here at IA, where we signalled the Abbott Government’s intentions back in December).

Indeed it is parallel to Gough Whitlam's appointment of Senator Vince Gair to Dublin — at least Gough wanted Vince out of the Senate in the dying days of his Government, but Abbott's reasoning is bizarre.

From Mark Kenny in this morning’s Sydney Morning Herald:

Former foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer is set to be named as the next high commissioner to London, prematurely ending the term of the existing office holder, Mike Rann.

The move is understood to be Mr Downer's second preference after he lobbied hard for the Washington post.

Fairfax Media has learnt the federal government has decided on the controversial switch, but aware of the sensitivities, is not planning to announce the change until after the state election in South Australia on March 22.

Downer was flop as Opposition Leader, which only came about when the Liberal Party was in a fit of despair and he was offered the poisoned chalice at a time when no other Liberal MP would even remotely consider it.

His end came in 1995 when he insulted all women who had suffered abuse at the hands of husbands or partners by sneeringly referring to "things that batter".

After that, he served on the backbench until John Howard was swept into power the following year and Downer was appointed Foreign Minister. And mere moments after being appointed to the role, he exhibited more than his diplomatic credentials by agreeing to be photographed in fishnet stockings and stilettos(picture excludedby outstanding photojournalist Grant Nowell for the Herald Sun [interpreted by Gus above].

Read more: http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/dolly-downer-goes-to-london,6182


the age of entitlement for a bumptious dilettante...

So Joe Hockey thinks the age of entitlement is over.

Not for Alexander Downer it isn’t; entitlement has been part of the Downer genome for generations, and it will take more than the upstart son of an Armenian to end it.

As the nearest thing to a hereditary Adelaide aristocracy, the Downers have always demanded and usually received as their birthright what they could never have achieved by talent, a characteristic they conspicuously lack. Indeed, it is rumoured that since encountering young Alexander (as he is still known for his perpetual emotional immaturity), naturalists have had to revise their conclusion that the koala has the smallest brain-to-body weight of any mammal.

Nonetheless Alexander John Gosse Downer is off to London, to the court of St James, to represent Australia as High Commissioner. To make room for him the current occupant, the much worthier former South Australian Premier Mike Rann, is to be unceremoniously pushed aside. There is, after all, a precedent; another former Labor premier Steve Bracks was denied the position of consul-general in New York to leave the post open for the sinister senator, Nick Minchin, Tony Abbott’s political mentor and minder.

And it is reported that Downer would in fact have preferred to have taken the job of Ambassador to Washington, now held by the former Labor minister and leader Kim Beazley. But the normally acquiescent Foreign Affairs department jacked up: Washington is not a posting for a bumptious dilettante. London, on the other hand, is now more a ceremonial appointment than a diplomatic one; Downer can be expected to make a few gaffes but the professionals should be able to cover for him. After all, they had plenty of experience during Downer’s long but utterly undistinguished time as their minister – or, as they christened him, our room temperature foreign minister.

read more: http://www.themonthly.com.au/blog/mungo-maccallum/2014/02/24/1393206389/alexander-downers-age-entitlement-lives

fishnet parachute over londonium...

Mr Downer was Australia's longest serving foreign affairs minister, serving in the role under the Howard government from 1996-2007.


His appointment is the second time the Abbott government has dumped an ex-Labor premier from a diplomatic post in favour of a former Howard government minister.

Former Victorian premier Steve Bracks was controversially blocked on the eve of his departure for the consul-general post in New York after the Abbott government came to power last year.

Former Howard government minister Nick Minchin was named as his replacement.
Ms Bishop said on Monday that Mr Downer had led "a long and distinguished political career".

Mr Downer was until recently the United Nations Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus.

Stephen Brady, former governor-general Dame Quentin Bryce's secretary, has been appointed Australia's next ambassador to France.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/alexander-downer-appointed-to-high-commissioner-to-united-kingdom-20140331-35sfx.html#ixzz2xUReD000

I hope that Mr Brady speaks French, that Mr Rann speaks Italian and Mr Downer speaks English...
Of course every knows that Alexander lied 8895 times by telling us with unwavering certitude that "Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction". Gus knew he did not have any, thus Alexander would have known as well, unless he was blind, deaf or idiotic. Thus I prefer to believe Downer LIED. 

Mr Downer, working as a consultant for hire, stuffs up?...

An email exchange obtained by the ABC has raised more questions about the involvement of former foreign minister Alexander Downer in the case of two Australian property executives jailed in Dubai.

The ABC's Foreign Correspondent program revealed last night that Mr Downer, while working as a consultant for hire, had written to the country's Crown Prince in 2009 seeking bail for one of the Australians, Matt Joyce.

The approach involved a negotiation of a success fee, estimated at $60,000.

Controversially his letter, delivered by the Australian Embassy, made no mention of the other Australian defendant, Marcus Lee.

Mr Downer has said that he was not aware of Mr Lee's case, but an email exchange obtained by the ABC suggests Mr Downer's firm had been specifically requested to lobby on behalf of both Australians.

Both Mr Lee and Mr Joyce were working for a Dubai property firm when they were arrested in 2009, and were acquitted last year after a lengthy trial.

Mr Downer, who was working as a consultant in 2009, arranged for the Australian embassy to deliver a letter to Dubai's Crown Prince, urging him to free Mr Joyce on bail - but not Mr Lee.

In an interview with the ABC's Foreign Correspondent program, Mr Lee accused Mr Downer of ignoring his plight because he could not afford his fee.

"We understand that was because [Mr Joyce's family] were able to make a payment to his private company and we weren't able to. We just didn't have the money to," he said.

The "success fee" discussed with Mr Downer in return for him helping Mr Joyce has been estimated by one person close to the case to be $60,000.

Mr Downer, who has just been appointed as Australia's High Commissioner to the UK, says he ultimately declined any fee, concluding it probably was not something a former foreign minister should be a part of.

"I'm not sure how appropriate it is to collect money for that sort of thing. Ever since I've finished up as foreign minister I've never charged on a consular issue," he told Foreign Correspondent.

And he said his letter to the Crown Prince made no mention of Mr Lee because: "I just simply wasn't approached about him so I simply don't know about his case".

Email indicates Downer's firm was asked to raise Lee's case

However, the ABC has now obtained an email exchange indicating Mr Downer's firm had been asked to raise Mr Lee's case.