Alexander Downer

Australia’s longest serving Foreign Minister & former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
'Brexit and the Changing Politics of Europe: Lessons for Australia'
Tuesday, 12 November 2019
Arrive from 11.30am, lunch 12 noon, speaker 12.30 concludes 1.30pm
Canberra - 16 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600

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Alexander Downer AC, Australia’s longest serving Foreign Minister and former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, is to speak to the National Press Club in the wake of the final Brexit deadline.

Mr Downer has warned that Britain faces a future of “weakness and irrelevancy” if it remains in the European customs union.  And he has called for the EU to show “common sense and flexibility” but if it doesn’t, “its pig-headed recalcitrance will be held entirely responsible for any damage done to the global economy by a no-deal Brexit.” (AFR July 2019)

Mr Downer is currently Executive Chair, International School for Government, Kings College London and will be visiting Canberra in the days following the 31 October EU Brexit deadline.

From 1984–2008 Mr Downer was a member of the House of Representatives for the division of Mayo in South Australia.

He was Shadow treasurer from 1993–1994 and Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia from 1994–1995

In 1996 he was appointed Foreign minister of Australia, a position he held for almost 12 years.

After politics Mr Downer has held a number of senior appointments, including Professor of Politics and International Trade, University and Adelaide (part time) from 2008-14; and Special advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations with responsibility for the Cyprus peace talks from 2008–2014.

From 2014–2018 Mr Downer was Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.


Alexander Downer AC

Born: 9 September 1951

Education:
Geelong Grammar School;
Radley College;
Newcastle University BA (politics and economics); DCL (honorary).
Honorary doctorates University of Adelaide; University of South Australia; Bar Ilan University

Employment history:
1975-76 Economist, Westpac bank
19 76–82, diplomat, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Canberra 1977–80, diplomat, Australian mission to the European Union, Brussels.
1982–83. Political adviser to the Prime Minister of Australia, the Right Honourable Malcolm Fraser.
1983–84 Executive director Australian Chamber of Commerce.

1984–2008 member of the House of Representatives for the division on Mayo (South Australia)
1993–1994 Shadow treasurer
1994–1995 Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia
1996–2007. Foreign minister of Australia

2008-14 Professor of Politics and International Trade, University and Adelaide (part time)

2008–2014 Special advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations with responsibility for the Cyprus peace talks.

2014–2018. Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

2018 – Executive Chair, International School for Government, Kings College London.

Board appointments:
2008–2014. Founder and Partner, Bespoke Approach.
2010–2014. Non-executive director, Huawei Australia
2010–2014 Chairman , Common Ground 2008–2014 Director, advisory board, Hakluyt (UK)
2010–2014 Non-executive director, LakesOil
2018 –19. Non-executive director, CQS
2018 – Non-executive director, Yellowcake plc
2018 – Chairman, Policy Exchange
2018 –Trustee, International Crisis Group
2019 – Chairman, Royal Overseas League

Honours:
2001 Australian Centenary Medal
2013 Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)