Crikey
Scroll to top

Another string to Downer’s colonial bow

The former foreign minister, now ex-pat, has found a gig close to his heart.

alexander downer

From the Crikey grapevine, it’s the latest tips and rumours…

Royal win. Our former man in London, (Lord) Alex Downer of Mayo has finally been graded as a top expat. His long awaited ascension to the chair of the Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL) has come to fruition.

You don’t become the top dog at the ROSL by being a card-carrying believer in an Australian republic. You have to strongly believe that a 93-year-old London based woman is the putative head of Australia and we have to follow everything she says and does. In 2008, Downer put it clearly on ABC’s PM: “I do hold the view, which I know you will all share, that long live the Queen.”

It’s not just queens of course. Last year Downer became the executive chairman at the International School of Government at King’s College in London.

Speaking of London, the ROSL is in fact a very nice place to stay, good food and great breakfasts — plus a very Australian cafe. The coffee could do with some improving, especially the coffee. But Downer has been away so long from Australia that he would have forgotten what good coffee is. ROSL even has a base here down under in Sydney for high falutin’ fans of the Commonwealth. 

How nice that a battler from Adelaide can clamber to the top of colonial society in London.

Taking a trip. Tourism Australia is getting a new managing director, not that you’d know it. The role hasn’t been advertised publicly. Job ads for such high profile positions are usually mandatory for statutory bodies, but Tourism Australia tells us that because it is a Commonwealth corporate entity it is not bound by rules requiring it to publicly advertise job positions.

Current director, John O’Sullivan, is leaving the government agency at the end of the week and will be replaced, in the meantime, by Phillipa Harrison — the executive general manager international. The “search is under way to find his replacement” according to a spokesman at the organisation. US-based leadership consulting firm Spencer Stuart have been appointed to undertake “what is an extensive and open international search,” which could take up to four months. 

Ghosts of the internet past. As the exodus of staff continues at The Australian, website editors might want to rethink the embedded Twitter feeds they include on each writer’s author page. Writers for the paper, past and present, each have an author page which includes a live stream of their tweets.

While most former writers for the national broadsheet still have their Twitter feeds on their author pages, some recent departees who’ve been critical of The Oz have their feeds missing (including Rick Morton and Anthony Klan). That effort hasn’t been extended to all ex-Australian writers, including Paul Cleary who took to Twitter to criticise The Australian (among others) for failing to credit The Koori Mail for breaking the story about the copyright of the Aboriginal flag

So The Oz was hosting tweets critical of itself, including one tagging the ABC’s Media Watch program and asking: “Can you believe the Oz claimed the WAM story as an exclusive?”.

Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to [email protected]use our guaranteed anonymous form or other ways to leak to us securely.

Peter Fray

Help us keep up the fight

Get Crikey for just $1 a week and support our journalists’ important work of uncovering the hypocrisies that infest our corridors of power.

If you haven’t joined us yet, subscribe today to get your first 12 weeks for $12 and get the journalism you need to navigate the spin.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW
6 comments

Leave a comment

Subscribe
Notify of
6 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Peter Wileman
Peter Wileman
1 year ago

Alexander DOwner: “How nice that a battler from Adelaide can clamber to the top of colonial society in London.” How nice it will be to see his portrait taken down when history recognises his actions regarding Timor-Leste

AR
AR
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Wileman

Surely Lord Bunter the Downer must soon move to his ultimate reward, like his Anglophilic spiritual father, Silver Ming, and be endowed as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports?

AR
AR
1 year ago
Reply to  AR

Though, come to think of it, the 13thC is a bit too modern for him.
I doubt that he’d fancy a rye sandwich, far too much like foreign muck, dover sole being more to his hastings.

Pollietragic
Pollietragic
1 year ago

How nice it would have been to see Downer on trial for war crimes in allowing his department to approve the Austn Wheat Boards apprx $300 MILLION in kickbacks to the Saddam Hussein regime.

We were a signatory to international trade sanctions against the Hussein regime. Foreign Affairs documents showed Downer had written comments on documents, proving he had seen the contractual millions being shovelled over to Hussein.

The guy was always a supercilious slime bucket, England is welcome to him.

Paradoxa
Paradoxa
1 year ago

Downer should be prosecuted, along with Howard, for their joint illegal authorisation of the bugging of the Timor Leste cabinet room in order to gain profit margin for Australian commerce. As a matter of interest, how much did Woodside pay them?

AR
AR
1 year ago

The sub-editting, were there any, could do with some improving “a very Australian cafe. The coffee could do with some improving, especially the coffee.“, especially the sub-editing.