Just shut it, Alexander! Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer has told the Adelaide Advertiser that he’s considering a switch to state politics to run against Premier Mike Rann in the 2010 state election, with the focus on water supply. He’s had to come out this morning and say he was speaking hypothetically, but the local Liberals will be delighted.

After five woeful years of opposition, their new(ish) leader Martin Hamilton-Smith has just landed some blows on the Rann Government on just that very issue. They’ve been able to embarrass the ALP over water restrictions and water infrastructure, leading to the recent announcement of a desalination plant for Adelaide. The comments have been a gift for the federal opposition.

“This appears to be instability at the top of the Howard Government, where people really don’t know whether they’re coming or going,” Julia Gillard has said this morning.

“Unfortunately none of this is in the interests of the Australian people, who aren’t interested about who’s who in the Liberal Party.”

Downer’s federal colleagues, no doubt, have been as delighted as the Liberals in SA. Here’s a parallel that will delight them further.

Jean Charest, the Premier of Quebec, was a Progressive Conservative federal minister.

He was part of the Progressive Conservative government that went to the polls in 1993 – and was left with just two seats.