Alexander Downer has laboured for years in foreign policy. He worked as a diplomat before entering politics. He was John Howard's foreign minister for 11 years. He was appointed by the United Nations to be a mediator in Cyprus. He was Tony Abbott's High Commissioner to London, a position he will shortly relinquish after nearly four years. But his only real achievement in that field is likely to come from a night on the grog in London with a Trump aide in May 2016, during which said aide George Papadopoulos, whose lips were evidently loosened by copious quantities of wine, told him the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Papadopoulos would later become better known as the first of many Trump associates to plead guilty to charges brought as a result of Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign's collusion with it.