No more Downer nation-building

After Georgina Downer’s defeat in the Mayo by-election last Saturday, Alexander Downer, Gerorgina’s father, spat the dummy and said that Ms Sharkie’s supporters had brought “horrible hate to our district” and added that they “must all be new arrivals”1. It was a way for the pompous, entitled Downer, to explain how the loyal voters of Mayo had been diluted by some blow-ins from elsewhere (African gangs?). Bizarrely, in an interview on Sky News, he followed this up with “I think in Georgina’s case, if people in Mayo do want a Turnbull government, now that they know her better they’ll be enthusiastic about voting for her in a federal election”2. Either he misspoke or is delusional. Sharkie won the Mayo by-election with 58.1% of the two-party preferred vote3; Downer achieving 41.9%. That is a thumping by anybody’s measure. It would need a massive turnaround for Downer, to even come close to Sharkie’s support.

Laughably, Alexander Downer stated that “Our family have been nation-builders, we’ve helped to make this nation great”4. Said the man who at 8 months in the job, is the shortest-serving leader of the Liberal Party, although he is the longest-serving Foreign Minister. His main claim to fame since leaving politics is being out on the piss with George Papadopoulos whose information, related to Downer, may have kicked off the Trump-Russia investigation5. He served in the most reactionary government Australia has elected in my lifetime, the Howard government of 1996-2007. It was during those years that the dog whistle was brought out regularly when referring to Aboriginal affairs, refugees and Asian immigration6,7. It was the Howard government who made shovelling money to the rich, at the expense of the working and middle classes, an art form. It was also the Howard government which wasted the revenue from the mining boom, with numerous profligate decisions leaving the federal budget in long term structural deficit8.

Alexander Downer’s father, Sir Alexander ‘Alick’ Downer served in the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1963, being Minister for Immigration from 1958 to 1963 and reformed the migration laws, in part leading to the massive immigration of Europeans subsequently. He also allowed non-criminal deportees to be held in detention centres rather than prison9.

Alexander Downer’s grandfather, Sir John Downer was premier of South Australia twice, in 1885-1887 and 1892-1893. Despite describing himself as a tory, he was fairly progressive, consistently advocating the rights of married women to have their own property, female suffrage, protection of local industries and federation10.

Georgina Downer is a member of the Institute of Public Affairs, a far-right money laundering organisation for the Liberal Party. This organisation is also simply a lobbying organisation for big business who hate anything to do with the general public. They want to abolish penalty rates, the minimum wage, unions, public broadcasting, medicare among other things. These embarrassing policies are those about which Georgina Downer refused to answer questions during the Mayo by-election, to the extent of blocking several people (including me) from asking questions on Facebook, and shutting down her Twitter account11.

While you could argue that Georgina’s grandfather and great grandfather at least attempted to advance Australia, what has happened subsequently? The most recent members of the Downer dynasty have done the reverse. They are attempting to turn Australia into a land of mostly poorly paid serfs who are beholden to the wealthy in their corporate towers, for the crumbs of the latter’s tables. They are attempting not to advance Australia, but to damage it, to take us back to a time when you were at the mercy of the employer, and had to doff your flat cap when they walked past. That is not nation-building.





  • jon says:

    This pompous ass is a prime example of why nepotism, entitlement and snouts in the trough should be rejected by voters (not that we have any control over Liberal and Labor appointments of their mates to prime government positions post parliament). The irony won’t be lost on many – the conservatives regularly roll out the old chestnut about Labor members coming from union ranks. The sins of the father shouldn’t, for the most part, be visited on the daughter but when she’s a member of the contemptible “IPA” it’s pretty obvious that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. A second flogging at the ballot box might send them both a message.

  • Jim says:

    Neither Alexander Downer nor Georgina Downer seem to understand that the demographics of the electorate of Mayo have changed considerably in recent years. In the last twenty years or so about 20000 people have moved up to the Adelaide Hills and more move up to Mt Barker every day. It is now largely a commuter town rather than a country town. As I understand it, the forthcoming redistribution is going to make it even harder for the Liberal Party. It is reported that Georgina Downer intends to run in the general election next year and has now bought a house in the electorate, presumably to at least in part counter the ‘prodigal daughter’ criticism. If so, she must be totally out of touch with reality because given the results on Saturday, there is no way that she will win.
    Oddly enough at the SA March 2018 state election one of the liberals in the state seat of Kavel, which is within the Mayo Federal electorate, succeeded in doing what Georgina Downer tried to do. He was a local that had been away for about ten years–the difference was that he returned to the area about two years before the election and worked his way through the normal preselection process rather than being parachuted in.
    The Braddon by-election was also very informative. The fact that the independent fisherman, Craig Garland, received 11% of the votes, after running a low key campaign backs up the various commentators who have suggested that the two major parties are on the nose. Mind you he was given free publicity by the slow learners of the Liberal Party who dragged up a 24 year old conviction. The Green vote in Braddon continues to collapse–it is after all an area at least partly dependent on the logging industry.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the info. It is very enlightening, and seems to support the notion that Lord Downer is living in the 1950s.

    • Jon says:

      They are very much on the nose Jim, and for good reason imo. Saw an interview with Garland a few weeks ago and he stuck it right up the Liberals. Instead of trying to woo him they picked a fight, Wrong fight with the wrong bloke.

      We’ve mentioned this before but what a good proportion of the electorate seem to want is reps who care about the common good, who are not ideologically driven (but hold some sort of reasoned philosophy), who aren’t beholden, who are moderates, and above all else who are responsible, honest and trustworthy. I’m starting to think that if we eventually want to get back to better days we will have to put up with a range of crackpots and asses not wedded to LIbLabNat approach. Only a charismatic, strong, truly liberal and socially aware leader (big ask) from the middle or left could change that I suspect but there ain’t none on the horizon. .

      • admin says:

        Yep, it is a big ask. However, I think the realisation that trickle-down has been an abject failure, is starting to pervade the Labor Party, despite them embracing it in the 1980s. It is a case of not voting for a party or a personality, but for a series of policies in which you believe closely approach what you think will be for the benefit of the nation.

  • Jim says:

    There was a very revealing couple of fund raising events about half way through the election campaign. Georgina Downer had a dinner at XXX dollars per plate at Marble Hill, an historic house owned by Julie Bishop’s sister (Julie Bishop comes from the Adelaide Hills). It was attended by all the “knobs”. On the same day Rebekha Sharkie’s function was a quiz night in the Macclesfield pub. This sums up the two campaigns.

    • admin says:


      In a nutshell.


      And isn’t it great to see Rebekha Sharkie standing with Andrew Wilkie and Nick McKim supporting Witness K and Bernard Collaery! If it had been the Downer twit, she’d be right behind the vindictive prosecutions. After all, it was her father Alexander Downer who was responsible for the sending the spies to East Timor to rip that poor country off and make sure the mega profits stayed with Woodside Petroleum and others. Everyone should be searching the name of Alexander Downer on google – the more you search, the more instances of corruption you find. And oh dear, Julie Bishop is sitting on the back bench.

  • Mark Dougall says:

    As a relatively new subscriber I’ve just been back reading some of your pieces and I was drawn to this one. I agree with all the comments, and the article. In our house, part of the Mayo electorate, I am proud to say that there were votes on Saturday for only winning candidates on the weekend. Sharkie, who is an excellent local member, who cares about our environment, and in the senate Hanson-Young. Both returned with oomph. Strong, decent representatives for our area, and our state.

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