Posts Tagged ‘Alexander Downer’


Yesterday saw the introduction of new leadership for the NSW Government and the induction of our first female Governor-General. Today is election day over on the west coast. Over at The Poll Bludger, William Bowe reports that the final two polls show it is a close contest, although Labor’s primary vote is a long way down.

UPDATE: Lest we forget, today will also see the selection of replacements for Dolly and the former Minister for Consultancies in Dubai. Vote early, vote often.

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Dolly, look out!

Beware of the penis-curse.

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Greg hearts Dolly

Sheridan is happy to remain a fawning sycophant, even after the subject of his admiration is leaving in defeat:

With Downer’s resignation from parliament announced this week, Australia loses an authentic parliamentary and political giant.

I rate Downer as the equal second most important and effective foreign minister in Australian history.

This may seem a qualified sort of praise, but in the history of the Australian nation, to be the second most important foreign minister is a giant achievement.

Among the list of Dolly’s significant achievements, Greg devotes an entire glowing paragraph to the brilliant and entirely uncontroversial approach taken to working with the US, for which Sheridan himself was a cheerleader:

He was the key minister, with Howard, in invoking the US alliance in response to the 9/11 terror attacks in New York and Washington. One thing that flowed from that, in a great service to Australia’s national interest, was a historically new level of military and intelligence intimacy with the US. Downer was a key player in Australia sending troops to Afghanistan, where they performed magnificently, and later in backing the US war in Iraq. I believe this was the right decision and it took a hell of a lot of guts.

And, naturally, Greg needs to remind us of his own importance:

He is a good friend of British historian Andrew Roberts. I once had a long conversation with Downer about how Tony Blair’s Christian convictions compared with those of William Gladstone.

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Caroline Overington has been released from whatever dungeon they were keeping her in. And she kicks things off by slapping – sorry, “pushing away with an open hand” – Dolly.

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Sam Roggeveen quotes a Dolly anecdote from Planet Janet that says it all, really:

A few days ago our Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told me a secret. He said, that after he’d a particularly bad day on the political hustings, he slinks home and he does three things: he sits down on a sofa with a glass of whisky, he turns on the television to watch FOX news and downloads the latest offerings from Mark Steyn, just to remind himself that there is some sanity in the world.

I’m so very glad his view of sanity is no longer part of our Government.

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Josh Fear raises an issue worth considering as Dolly becomes the next departure:

There should be recognition of the shirking of responsibility that this entails. At the least, Downer (or his party) should contribute to the considerable costs of holding byelections.

Of course, the public funding of elections (including byelections) is one of the financial costs of democracy. In principle it is money well spent. But if there were financial penalties associated with not fulfilling a basic election commitment, such as serving out a full term, perhaps our parliamentarians would pay more attention to the importance of meeting their obligations.

If you contest an election, you are seeking a position that gives you the chance at guaranteed employment for the next parliamentary term. It seems reasonable to expect that anyone seeking that opportunity would, in turn, be willing to commit to serving that entire term – barring unforeseen circumstances.

Losing Government should not be an unforeseen circumstance.

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If the team is desperate and the skipper begs me to come back, I’ll think about it.


If the team is desperate and the skipper begs me to come back, I’ll think about it.

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Sheep brains

produce funny noises:

Rudd is weak on national security. He is weak because he lacks substance. He lacks substance because he has little experience and even less conviction. He does not know what he stands for; nor does Labor. The world moved on; Labor stood still. Now they seek to copy but inevitably get confused and get it wrong. You cannot get it wrong on national security, the highest priority any government has. But Labor has and would.

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Cry baby

What’s the point of this, Dolly?

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The US has announced new, unilateral sanctions against Iran. Thus continues the march toward war.

Noted cheerleaders for the Bush administration’s foreign policy approach, Senators Joe Lieberman and John Kyl, have suggested that the aim of the sanctions is to increase the pressure for Iran to engage in diplomatic negotiations:

“Far from taking us closer to war with Iran, as some have irresponsibly suggested, these kinds of targeted sanctions represent our best chance to influence Iran’s action so as to be able to avoid military action,” they said.

But, as Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards points out, this approach has the potential to escalate tensions with Iran toward the point where armed conflict appears justified. As Edwards notes:

Today, George Bush and Dick Cheney again rattled the sabers in their march toward military action against Iran. The Bush Administration has been making plans to attack Iran for many months. At this critical moment, we need strong leadership to stand against George Bush’s dangerous ‘preventive war’ policy, which makes force the first option, not the last.

I learned a clear lesson from the lead up to the Iraq War in 2002: if you give this president an inch, he will take a mile – and launch a war.

Edwards’ statement is particularly aimed at Hillary Clinton, who he argues has failed to provide clear opposition to Bush’s march toward war. But in the context of the Australian election, we might question whether the two major parties are providing implicit or explicit support for a move toward military action.

Interestingly, the rationale given for these sanctions manages to tie together the two lines of attack the Bush administration has attempted to use in building support to act against Iran. The Iranian military groups that have been linked to supporting terrorism are now also being tied to nuclear proliferation. I wonder how much longer it will be before we start to hear a direct connection of the two – i.e., talk of mushroom clouds in Baghdad or Jerusalem, from terrorists using IRGC- or Quds-supplied nuclear bombs.

UPDATE: Dolly and Tony Burke were asked about the sanctions on Lateline last night, with neither displaying any concern about the possible escalation toward military conflict. Downer is confident the United States will soon be joined by other nations in imposing sanctions and says he does not believe the US is on a “path to war”. Burke would not even comment on the United States, instead focusing on the Iranian leadership’s inflammatory rhetoric.

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