Talk:Alexander Downer

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Worried? Jealous? Why has Downer been getting quite narky and camp recently?[edit]

I believe it's perfectly legitimate to note that Downer has been getting quite narky and camp recently. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.101.138.214 (talk) 06:12, August 25, 2007 (UTC)


Performance[edit]

Downer judged ineffective in handling Indonesia by who?


I think that some of the comments about Downer have been written in quite a harsh way.

Downer also played a role in the subsequent negotiation of the Pacific Solution in which Australia held refugees off-shore in foreign jurisdictions in an attempt to deny them entry into Australia.

Probably should be written like this: Alexander Downer also played a role in the subsequent negotiation of the Pacific Solution in which Australia held refugees off-shore in foreign jurisdictions which (some arguee) is an attempt to deny refugess direct entry into Australia (though some have been admitted into Australia).

& He has been a firm supporter of the legality of the war in Iraq and he vociferously defended the claim that weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq to justify the 2003 invasion of that country, long after this claim was abandoned by many others [1] [2] [3]

He was and continues to be a firm supporter of the legality of the Iraq War (which is based on te UN resolutions that George Bush used a pretext for going to war) and he also defended the claim that WMD would be found in Iraq eve though a majority opinon indicated that there was a very slim chance any WMD would be found.

It seems sad that the article simply shows his 'mistakes' and really adds nothing of any success he has had. Downer is also known for his very dogged defense of Austrlian Foreign Policy.


I think he's done a good job in dealing with them, unlike Crean who can't even get his appointments honoured.

I don't respond to anonymous comments. Adam 04:33, 18 Oct 2003 (UTC)

oh, the irony.... From Anon.

Can you help us out on Political families of the world? I don't know which of you wrote that Alexander Downer is related to Bob Carr (premier of NSW), but I quoted from this article as fact on the Political families of the world page of Wikipedia, and have now been challenged to provide a source for the claim. Can somebody do this for me? Thanks! Davidcannon 10:21, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I have to doubt this very much - since it's an anon edit, I'm going to remove the point from the page until someone challenges me otherwise. The fact that they're on opposing parties makes me think this is someone taking the mickey on this... Dysprosia 10:34, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I seriously question the statement about a majority of Australians supporting the Howard Government's policy of close alliance with the US. This is the very sort of issue that politicians and people generally argue endlessly about, each side producing their own evidence and counter-arguments. That makes it, in my book, intrinsically arguable and therefore, by definition, not NPOV. Comments? JackofOz 08:38, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Meh. I left that in when I took out some more obviously POV material on a majority of Australians supporting the Iraq war before, because I thought that was fairly widely agreed on. From what I can remember, the polls have shown a majority in favor, and both main political parties support it rather strongly (which I doubt very much Labor would do if that position had much support). Still, if you want to take it out, I wouldn't object - it's not exactly relevant to this article. Ambivalenthysteria 12:19, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Labor founded the US alliance and has always supported it, even when dissenting from the US over issues like Vietnam and Iraq. As far as I know opinion polls have always shown majority support for the alliance in principle, but opinion obviously fluctuates on specific issues like Iraq. Even so I think the Iraq war had majority support before and during the war. I suspect that support has now retrospectively evaporated as a result of the WMD debacle and general contempt for Bush. I agree that the point is not really relevant to this article. Adam 01:19, 18 Mar 2004 (UTC)


Where did the picture for this come from, and is it possible to get images of other pollies from there? Ambivalenthysteria 00:54, 26 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I don't remember where I got that pic from. You can get free non-copyright photos of all current federal MPs and senators at the Parliament of Australia website. Adam 03:23, 26 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Excellent. Thanks. Julia Gillard and Aden Ridgeway will be pictureless no more. Ambivalenthysteria 06:23, 26 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Anyone else think that the link offered at the end of the article is a "satire" site rather than a true "fan-site"? Aggelophoros 00:09, 13 Apr 2004 (UTC)


Should his electorate (Division of Mayo) be added somewhere? Alphax (t) (c) (e) 09:02, Jan 21, 2005 (UTC)



Did he work on his accent with professionals, trying to make him sound more "Australian" ? Does his Cultivated Australian English come from his education and attendance at Oxford?

A nicely balanced and informative article. I do query whether the statement that he supports the legality of the Iraq war is quite accurate - his support isn't restricted to the war's legality.

This probably can't be worked in, which is a pity, but DFAT and Downer don't have a lot of input into foreign policy these days - the important decisions are handled in the PM's office, and Downer and DFAT are left to work out the details. This, unfortunately, comes from what I believe is called "original research". PiCo 20:52, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

Yes it part of Wikipedia's policy that people who actually know about things are not allowed to say what they know, while every ignorant crackpot in the world is free to say whatever they like. Adam 06:20, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

Can this be used?[edit]

Some quotes about Downer:

  • Hugh White, the head of the Australian National University's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, describes Downer as "genuinely now very knowledgeable about the world and diplomatic affairs", an effective diplomat whose tendency to "say things a bit offbeat" is regarded by peers as endearing, and a foreign minister whose judgement, through sheer experience, is sound, though he still has lapses.
from http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Downers-mark/2004/12/17/1102787274498.html
  • From the same article, but this time the words of the journalist: "Downer is a realist and a pragmatist who sees the world in terms of power relativities and threats, and has never had a high regard for international law or institutions. He will not go down in history as a great policy innovator - unlike Gareth Evans or Percy Spender (the latter negotiated the ANZUS Treaty) - but he has had some foreign policy successes. His departmental colleagues, with whom he has a good relationship, say Downer doesn't get enough credit for his commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, or for the attention now given to consular matters and the protection of Australian travellers overseas."

PiCo 08:59, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

I think these are fair comment by well-informed people and can be used. Downer is no genius, and still harms himself with outbursts of childish behaviour in the House (partly because he and Rudd clearly loathe each other), but by sheer persistence he has got on top of the job. Adam 13:03, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

East Timor Report[edit]

Perhaps this news story could be included in the statement about East Timor? It might add an important opposing view of Downers support of East Timors freedom, and I quote "A report to the United Nations has found Australia actively lobbied to delay East Timor's independence ballot in 1999 and prevent its separation from Indonesia" and "Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer made it clear it would be preferable if Timor remained legally part of Indonesia and actively lobbied the government in Jakarta to delay the independence vote..." http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200602/s1560743.htm -Grant 02/02/2006

Deleted a sentence[edit]

I deleted this sentence: He was greatly helped by the changed international situation after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, which has been attributed to a majority of Australians supporting the Howard Government's policy of close alliance with the US. Is the author really sure this is what he/she meant to say - that that the changed international situation after 9/11 was due to a majority of the Oz population supporting the Oz alliance with the US?

Anyway, the paragraph as a whole misses the really big change in Oz foreign policy since Howard came to power - the abandoment of the self-reliant Australo-centric policy of Aust as a good international citizen as pushed by Keating/Evans and its replacement with the Howard/Downer policy of Aust as a member of the US alliance, integrating both foreign policy and defence posture into US goals. The subject that launched a thousand PhDs, I'm sure. PiCo 11:12, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

(PS - is there an article on Richard Butler? Should there be? Dare I tell all I know? :). PiCo 11:14, 6 February 2006 (UTC)


NPOV[edit]

This entire paragraph would seem to be dedicated to praising Alexander Downer.

"Hugh White, the head of the Australian National University's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, describes Downer as "genuinely now very knowledgeable about the world and diplomatic affairs", an effective diplomat whose tendency to "say things a bit offbeat" is regarded by peers as endearing, and a foreign minister whose judgement, through sheer experience, is sound, though he still has lapses. He has been described as "a realist and a pragmatist," a man who "will not go down in history as a great policy innovator" but who "has had some foreign policy successes" and who has worked hard in areas such as nuclear non-proliferation and at raising the attention given by his Department to comparatively neglected areas such as consular matters and the protection of Australian travellers overseas.[1]"

Although it is not 100% positive, it certainly seems to be tilted strongly in his favour. Perhaps it should either be removed, or counter balanced with a more critical quote from a reputable source.

-Anonymous user, 13:47 4 March 2006 (Adelaide, Australia time)

OAFs?[edit]

If you keep in the mention of "Old Adelaide Families", then you need to keep the acronym OAFs. The whole point is that it spells the word "oaf". So either keep both or delete both. I've decided to delete it, because (a) In 30+ years in Adelaide I've never heard the expression, and (b) the article already has other mentions of his privleged background. Rocksong 11:26, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

You've not heard it before? It has limited currency given the decline of the Establishment, but exist it does. The ABC's Australian Word Map lists it as an Adelaide regionalism. That said, I see no especial reason to note it.--cj | talk 05:27, 12 March 2006 (UTC)


Allegations of Bias[edit]

This article has been flagged by news.com.au along with others, Liberals hit back at Wikipedia 'dirt' file as possibly biased. Just thought I'd give a heads up. Iorek85 00:20, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Of course they're biased, and horribly so, but Adam's not at fault (as far as I can tell). They'll remain biased so long as those who contribute to political articles come from a leftist background. I've noticed this problem for a long time. michael talk 03:50, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
How is this article biased? Rebecca 05:44, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
A concentration on flaws rather than progress and his work as a whole. There's a whole paragraph dedicated to attacking him: "the idiot son of the aristocracy". This type of bias isn't unique to Downer. michael talk 05:52, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
A good article should cover both, and while it could do with a bit more on his successes, it certainly isn't bad. The "idiot son of the aristocracy" stuff was a highly successful tactic against used him when he was Opposition Leader, which is why it warrants at least some discussion here. You seem to be pushing for the removal of anything that could even remotely reflect negatively on conservative figures of late, leading to articles that end up like glorified resumes. Rebecca 06:22, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the rude accusation. I won't bother engaging in argument against you, doing so is folly. There is a huge bias problem with so many Australian political articles but I am not in a position to take on the resident politics oligarchy. michael talk 06:28, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
This is the problem. Mentioning of something that reflects badly on a conservative politician, even if accurate, verifiable and notable, as with the aristocracy issue here, is deemed "huge bias". When I write articles, everything relevant and notable I can find goes in the article, regardless of whether it could be argued to reflect positively or negatively on the person and regardless of my personal feelings for them. As such, anyone from overseas reading the article gets a comprehensive picture of the person's career. When anything negative about a person is expunged, however, you end up with an article that, frankly, isn't worth a pinch of sh*t to anyone who didn't already know about the subject. Rebecca 06:35, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

I think one way to remove bias from the article is to remove all assessments of his performance in the 2nd-last paragraph. Who says he "got off to a shaky start"? Who says he has "performed effectively"? Who says East Timor was "his most notable achievement"? I think it is sufficient to list his main challenges (clearly Indonesia and Iraq IMHO) and characteristics (strong USA links) of his ministership (is that a word?), and to note that Howard has left him there for 10+ years so to note that Howard thinks he has been effective. I don't think it is possible (or appropriate) for Wikipedia itself to try to evaluate his performance. Rocksong 10:11, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia shouldn't be trying to evaluate his performance, but we can and should cite other people in doing so. Otherwise, we end up with a glorified resume. Really, this article could do with quite a lot of work (mainly because it is incomplete, rather than biased) - but attributing its current state to some sort of leftist cabal, as Michael did, was just downright rude. Rebecca 10:21, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
I don't mean to offend Bec, I just meant to bring up an issue - there was no intention to be "downright rude". There's no point keeping silence when something does concern me. If I'm wrong, so be it and no harm done. If I'm right, its good that I brought it up so it could be attended to. I'm no fool and I hope you realise I don't mean to rock the boat. Perhaps in time my concerns will be allieviated through article expansion / correction. michael talk 01:32, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

The "things that batter" paragraph isn't biased, it's a fact of history. It is also a genuine reflection of Downer's sheltered, private scool boy attitude towards venerable citizens. He lived up to his title of "idiot son" on that day.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by 210.189.164.104 (talkcontribs) , who tried to sign as "mango north", 00:09, 31 January 2007 UTC.

Vandal[edit]

I think we need to block edits from 58.160.185.* Rocksong 13:04, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

Chevening allegations[edit]

I've just removed a second version of some allegations about Downer's daughter, per WP:BLP. Controversial claims like these have to be strongly supported by Reliable Sources. Blog posts are not reliable sources for such attacks, even if hosted at the SMH website. Moreover, the attack is based on an important factual error: the Chevening Scholarship does not require 1st or 2nd class honors.[1] Even Crikey got that detail right! Cheers, CWC(talk) 14:44, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

There's also notability: the article should report what's important about Downer's career (according to decent sources), and not insert a paragraph every time he makes the news. If the issue continues to dog him, then it deserves an entry. If everyone except Crikey ignores it, then I'd suggest it doesn't. Rocksong 00:05, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
I read the removed paragraphs, and agree they should have gone, but think a small paragraph simply noting some of the reporting in the media, with references included, would be appropriate. - Matthew238 02:47, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Correcting the record: Chevening awards graduates "with proven academic skills" who have "a strong undergraduate degree (emphasis is placed on applications with First or Second Class Honours)". No, Chevening do not "require" First or Second Class Honours. But you would imagine in ordinary circumstances a Third Class Honours candidate from Melbourne Uni (with a mark of 65%-69%, just above a pass, and below the University Medal, First Class Honours, Second Class Honours A and Second Class Honours B) would not be terribly impressive. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.101.180.99 (talk) 00:43, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Order of Australia?[edit]

Downer has AC next to his name, but there's no further mention in the article as to how/when he got it. If true it is very significant as he would be in the small minority of active frontbench politicians with ACs. Can anyone shed light on Downer's award?I elliot 08:23, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Looks like the claim is incorrect: http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au/honours/honour_roll/search.cfm?breif=true&page=1&search_type=quick so I'll delete it. Rocksong 09:57, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
The above link may not work. In any case, go to http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au/honours/honour_roll/search.cfm?show=simple and search for "Downer". Rocksong 10:01, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Those links are dead. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 219.90.179.42 (talk) 08:01, August 24, 2007 (UTC)

Downer declaring that wikipedia is anti-government[edit]

On August 24th Alexander Downer made a few comments about wikipedia's editorial policy. He declared that it was anti-government and that it was 'negative' of people in the Australian government. [2]

Doesn't really fit in anywhere but I believe it'd directly relevant. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 219.90.179.42 (talk) 08:01, August 24, 2007 (UTC)

it is directly relevant, why was it removed? where's the justification? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 211.28.219.248 (talk) 10:13, August 24, 2007 (UTC)

It was removed because the other author trying to add it was doing so in a non-factual or tactful way. ie showing obvious biases. Not only that they had no references cited to their addition. --219.90.179.42 11:00, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Comments on Wikipedia[edit]

This is my proposed addition to Downer's profile:

Views on Wikipedia

Minster Downer recently described Wikipedia users as:

"a bit anti-government, they are sort of a bit negative about people in the government" [3]

The comment definitely should not be in the article. Wikipedia does not exist to report every statement a politician makes. Get a grip people. Peter Ballard 12:15, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
It would seem logical to include something about this in the article, as they are Mr. Downer's views on Wikipedia itself. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 58.106.35.219 (talk) 17:17, August 24, 2007 (UTC)
I think it should go in exactly as proposed here. I nearly went and added it myself before coming to the talk page. I'm glad it is being discussed. This morning I suggested in the Wikimedia Foundation mailing list that the Foundation contact Mr Downer to correct his misunderstanding of how WP works. Robert Brockway 00:03, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Do you guys seriously think this is an important event in the life of Alexander Downer? That anyone will care in a year's time? Peter Ballard 00:56, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
I concur with Peter. Downer must have criticized many things in his career but we don't list them all. If we start mentioning his recent (pretty mild) comments on Wikipedia then we are not only giving them undue weight but it also demonstrates a lack of perspective that makes us appear somewhat juvenile. CIreland 06:26, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

I have removed the section quoting Downer about Wikipedia. His opinions about Wikipedia are completely irrelevant to his biography, unless it somehow develops into a full-blown scandal. It's like a really bad trivia section. Why don't we also include on John Howard the PM's opinions about social networking? Because they are not notable enough to warrant inclusion. - Mark 15:41, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Pathetic. The words are directly about wikipedia, coming from Alexander Downer. It seems most things are being cleansed out of wikipedia lately regardless of the logic, or lack of, used to remove them. Quite a sad situation really.
And to add, it's not something that's 'news' or could change over time. This is Downer's rather generic view of wikipedia, which judging by words he used, won't be changing in a year, or five. Especially the "so maybe we should fire people up to edit them" bit. Timeshift 23:28, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Downer passes comments on stuff all the time. I just plugged his name into Google News and in the last few days he's been offering opinions on uranium, APEC, Rudd, Keating, Liberal leadership, as well as various countries: Iraq, Afghanistan + drugs, Indonesia, North Korea nukes, etc etc. Why are his comments on Wikipedia any more important? Peter Ballard 00:54, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
What site are you or another reader of the comment on at the moment? Let's see what consensus brings. So far in these comments its 3 for and 3 against - no consensus or even a start at one, and in lack of one, it stays. Timeshift 01:02, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure if I understand your question, but if you're asking where I found Downer's recent statements, it was using Google News, i.e. http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&q=Alexander+Downer&btnG=Search+News Peter Ballard 02:26, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia is the site you or another reader are on, reading the comment about Wikipedia - and quite a negative one. That is why it has more to do with just any old opinion. 3v3 on the talk page so far, I'm not seeing anything close to nearing consensus to remove it. Timeshift 02:28, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Avoid self-references. Peter Ballard 02:40, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
"This page in a nutshell: Wikipedia's free content is reused in many places, online and off. Do not assume that the reader is reading Wikipedia, or indeed any website." Hardly relates. Let's just await consensus instead of a talk page war. Timeshift 02:50, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
I was thinking of this part in particular: "A problem sometimes occurs when a notable person, especially a writer or media personality, mentions Wikipedia. There is a temptation to add any such mention to their Wikipedia article. However, to avoid self reference, this needs to be balanced with its importance in their overall body of work." Peter Ballard 03:04, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
I would argue that an Australian politician is far different from a writer or media personality. Politicians are very careful in what they say these days, and AFAIK no MP has ever mentioned wikipedia in more than a passing reference. This is by far the most any MP, esp a minister, has said about this site and at the same time attacked it. Timeshift 04:37, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
It might be the most any Australian MP has said about Wikipedia, but that says more about Wikipedia than it does about Australian MPs. You have failed to state how his comments about Wikipedia are relevant to a biography about him. The fact that this particular biography is hosted at the moment on Wikipedia is irrelevant to the content of the biography. The comments are of marginal relevance on this biography; they would be far more relevant on Wikipedia or another article about Wikipedia. - Mark 04:55, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
I see your point TS, but to me it was a fairly minor throwaway comment, of the sort that politicians (especially Downer) make all the time. Now if he'd said the sort of things that Piers Akerman had said, then there'd be a case to include it; but even then Downer speaks out on so many things that I'd be unsure. Peter Ballard 05:17, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

<deindent> I agree with Mark's comments and I can't see any reason to include Downer's comments about Wikipedia in his bio. It makes Wikipedia look idiotic, IMO. Timeshift, you say there's no consensus to remove it; I say there's no consensus to add it. Sarah 05:09, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

So we need consensus to edit articles now? Timeshift 05:35, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

On a side-topic, is anyone aware of any other such reasonably sized statements from Australian politicians about Wikipedia? Timeshift 01:58, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Timeshift, lots of politicians commented about Wikipedia: Google News is your friend. Kevin Rudd admitted that his staff had probably been editing articles and that he thought it was "entirely legitimate" for political staff to do so, do you think that should go in his bio or are you being partisan about this? Sarah 05:28, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
Did Rudd attack wikipedia? Did he say as much as Downer did? Is Rudd a part of the government of the day? No. Are you welcome to add it to Rudd's article? Yes. Timeshift 05:35, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
Your argument is absurd and partisan. And to your question in response to me just above, yes, when something is contested we need consensus. Obviously this is contested. Sarah 05:43, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
Your argument is circular. I said we need consensus to remove what was added. You said it needed consensus to be added. When something is contested, we need consensus. You in affect said we didn't. Get your stuff together, regather your thoughts, stop accusing me of partisan accusations, and re-state it so your argument is not circular. Timeshift 05:47, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
You are straying towards incivility with your "foaming at the mouth" comment and "arrogant comments" edit summary. So far, five people have expressed the opinion that the Wikipedia comments are inappropriate on this article, either on this talk page or in edit summaries. You and the two other people who have shown any support for these comments being included, have not, in my opinion, provided a sufficient justification for the inclusion of these comments in a biography of this subject. - Mark 06:14, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
Timeshift, maybe you should read up on what a circular argument actually is. I don't think it's what you think it is. Sarah's point about consensus is actually the same as yours. I for one would like to say, it is not notable in the scheme of Downer's entire life and career. Prester John -(Talk to the Hand) 06:52, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. Recurring dreams 08:15, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Where is our Australian Sense of Humour?[edit]

I agree that ideologically motivated comments are not proper in the main entry or in the talk page and I welcome locking the entry. However, some wit comments, we could all laugh about (hopefully including Downer himself), should be allowed. (I rather liked the “Captain the Smirk” attribute reported in the press. This is the reason I dropped in.)

Wit and not ill intended comments could shed some light on a person that would be hard to express otherwise.

I admit that it is hard to talk about politicians without an ideology in the background, but give it a try and restore some of the shine lost about our Australian sense of humour.


I'm disapointed that there are still people here that have to actually prove Downer's comment on Wikipedia correct. Since the article is locked, I assume that citation has been added by an editor who allowed his ideological bias to cloud a better judgement. This does not help Wikipedia image.

Damir Ibrisimovic 15:16, 27 August 2007 (UTC)


Damir Ibrisimovic 05:17, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

"Captain the Smirk"? I assume you mean "Captain Smirk", which was given to Costello, not Downer. Kransky (talk) 07:15, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Ongoing NPOV issues[edit]

There seems to be a large amount of POV creep into this article with a number of statements that need some re-writing particularly regarding recent events. There also seems to be some undue weight issues that need some looking at. I'm intended to give this article a once over in the next couple of days to see if it can be improved and expanded. Thewinchester (talk) 12:18, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Are any specific issues going to be raised? It is pointless having the POV header if no issues can be identified. Let's remove it until such time as an editor actually brings forth a specific dispute. --Wm 03:08, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Article structure[edit]

I think this article could benefit from having the "Minister for Foreign Affairs" section given several subheadings, dealing with the major achievements/challenges/incidents faced by Downer during his time as the Minister, e.g. the Bali Bombings, September 11, Iraq War etc. What do you think? - Mark 05:06, 30 August 2007 (UTC)


Good idea... I suspect the list will only get bigger.DB60 06:53, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

I'm not going to fight it, but my personal opinion is that there is not quite enough material to justify splitting it up - for Downer, or for any other minister except for the PM. The juicy stuff more properly belongs in the PM's (or government's) article, since the controversial decisions are generally made by the PM, not the Foreign Minister, and the Foreign Minister just implements them. Peter Ballard 07:33, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Think that Downer's Foreign Affairs events(good & bad) should have a comprehensive timeline with links to events that warrant a stand alone article where, keep this article focused on the person with just a small section focused on the most most significant stuff. Gnangarra 08:11, 30 August 2007 (UTC)


Strangely no mention of the many Free Trade Agreements signed by Downer and his aggressive policy of bi-lateral agreements, rather than the multi-national approach previously. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 150.101.222.105 (talk) 02:30, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

If you've got such a good grasp on this, then why aren't you contributing to make the article better? Whinging never solved anything. Timeshift 03:51, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Can Downer speak french?[edit]

Is this for real? (go to 2:41) If so then it should be added. Timeshift 09:19, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

I assume you mean during a debate recently. I can't be bothered watching the video but it got a small mention in today's (Friday's) Advertiser. Lots of people are bilingual so I'd say it's not notable. (Rudd's effort is an exception because it was in front of Chinese leaders, and got lots of coverage). Peter Ballard 10:13, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
I would think the foreign minister knowing a foreign language is noteable? Also, AFAIK, it was on the Rudd page before Rudd spoke to Hu in mandarin. However, if its nn, then it's nn. Timeshift 10:16, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
I think it would've been on the Rudd page because that was his major at University. Peter Ballard 11:06, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
I still think a minister being able to speak a foreign language is noteable, especially the foreign affairs one. It is a biography after all. Anyone else have an opinion to get consensus? Timeshift 11:09, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
He studied a short course of French before his posting to Brussels. His French at the McClelland NPC debate (I was there) was largely flawless but not especially sophisticated. He has only spoken French when asked, and always tries to underplay whatever fluency he has. Kransky (talk) 07:10, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
The statement in this article that he is 'fluent' is probably wrong or at least unsubstantiated. I very much doubt that anyone could be fluent after two months of language instruction and pretty much no practical exercise. 59.167.53.236 (talk) 00:32, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Here's the proper excerpt of the question put to Downer where he speaks French. Timeshift (talk) 00:06, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

The link is pretty clear: he did a short course in French for his Brussels posting with DFAT, but that doesn't make him fluent in French. Without a cite saying words to the effect, "Downer is fluent in French", it's WP:Synthesis for us to say so. Peter Ballard (talk) 12:07, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Non-attendance at Question Time[edit]

We make no mention of this fracas, and it's probably not noteworthy as it'll be forgotten in a few weeks. However, I was quite bemused and surprised when it blew up. I know that QT is televised and members like to be seen on TV and all, and their constituents like to see their representatives "at work"; but at the end of the day, how many members actually ask questions on any one day - 20, maybe? And of those, how many are backbenchers - half, perhaps? So that's 10 out of about 110 backbenchers who take any active part in proceedings. I don't say that to suggest that the other 100-odd are there just for show - but for the rest of the day, which is when the real work of legislative debate happens, the public generally neither knows nor cares who's actually in the chamber at any point in time. How often do quorums have to be called? Often. They all scurry in, and then scurry out just as fast. Sometimes they carry on without bothering to call a quorum. So, I just don't get what's so important about being seen to be in the chamber during the one hour of QT - and that's all this boils down to; being seen to be there, not necessarily saying or doing anything - when it's not considered important for the rest of the day. Any ideas? -- JackofOz (talk) 03:51, 6 March 2008 (UTC) he sure can. have heard it myself! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Plumes (talkcontribs) 11:01, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Fishnet stockings[edit]

Poor guy wears fishnet stockings ONCE! :-) Anyone know *why* he wore them? I found this link [4] but I vaguely remember it was a charity fundraiser of some sort. --Surturz (talk) 13:39, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Yes it was for charity. But something the media hasn't let go of since, perhaps due to his poisonous leadership. Timeshift (talk) 13:46, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Definition of Downer read into Australian Hansard[edit]

Interesting that this is not already here. It created a large fuss at the time. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 122.111.171.32 (talk) 12:19, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

Don't recall it and couldn't find it in a quick gnews search. Reckon it says more about the twit who thought making a slur about the genetically disabled would make a witty political point, than it does about Downer. --Yeti Hunter (talk) 00:49, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

Description of Downer in DAB[edit]

Please discuss the rationale for changing the description of Downer in the DAB link at the top of the page before engaging in further edit warring. IP has just broken 3RR ([5], [6] and [7]) after being warned that he/she was about to do so. --Yeti Hunter (talk) 15:14, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Inclusion of potential sa lib leadership run?[edit]

There's now an overwhelming number of articles out there about this over a period of months, not the least of which is:

"Liberals say Mr Downer has even picked out a fantasy Cabinet, including some heavy-hitters. Former Democrat senator Natasha Stott-Despoja is said to be a surprise pick for education. She could even enter State Parliament as an independent and be drafted in to the Cabinet, US-style."[8]

"ALEXANDER Downer is set to return to politics in South Australia, but will likely ignore arbitrary deadlines to reveal his plans, senior Liberals say. The South Australian Liberal Party on Monday night set a closing date of February 18 for nominations in all remaining seats without candidates.Senior Liberal sources said a closing date for nominations was only put in place to "keep Isobel (Redmond) happy", noting nominations in any of the seats could be reopened and preselections further delayed. "I think he probably is going to do it," one senior Liberal close to Mr Downer told The Australian last night. "But I think any decision from him is going to be a couple of months away." One senior Liberal MP said the "Downer option" was becoming increasingly likely. However, Mr Downer has only publicly said that, "people should support Isobel" and refused to rule out a return to politics. He did not respond to requests for comment yesterday."[9]

At what point should something be added to this article? Timeshift (talk) 23:41, 26 January 2013 (UTC)