Downer was born in South Australia in 1951 and is a member of the Liberal Party of Australia. The Downer family have been involved in politics for over a century. A draft of the Australian constitution was created in the Downer family home prior to federation in 1901. His father was Sir Alexander Russell Downer and grandfather was Sir John William Downer. Downer was educated at Geelong Grammar School. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Politics and Economics from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and holds a Doctor of Civil Laws (honoris causa), also from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
He was elected to the Adelaide Hills seat of Mayo in 1984. He served in various shadow cabinet position, becoming Leader of the Opposition in 1994. During his time in opposition he made many controversial decisions including addressing the far-right group League of Rights meeting in 1987 thinking it was a Christian rally. His most famous mistake was as Leader of the Opposition when he joked after the launch of the "Things that Matter" policy, that they would call the Liberal Party's policy on domestic violence "Things that Batter". Afterwards poor opinion polling and low party donations accumulated in a meeting of Howard, Peter Costello and Downer in which they agreed for Downer to hand over the party's leadership to Howard without a formal challenge.
After the landslide election in 1996 Downer became foreign minister, a position he held for a record 11 and a half years. One of the key features of his time was the re-strengthening of ties with the United States of America which had been neglected by the Hawke and Keating Governments which had primarily focused on Asia. Downer is credited with being a master of foreign affairs as he was able to ally Australia closely with the US, as well as getting Australia a seat at Association of Southeast Asian Nations - something Australia has not had since the organization was formed in 1967 - to the surprise of most critics who said that focusing on the US would come at the expense of regional relations. Downer was a strong support of both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
On July the 3rd 2008, following the defeat at the November 2007 election, Downer announced his retirement from parliament and said he would give his resignation as the Member for Mayo to the Governor-General on the 14th of July. He was made Visiting Professor of International Politics at the University of Adelaide's School of History & Politics by the Vice Chancellor Professor James McWha. The position entitles him to call himself Professor Downer. He was appointed High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as "Ambassador" in American media, and served from 2014 to 2018.
The Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei was the subject of a House Intelligence Committee investigation in 2012. U.S. intelligence experts have deemed Huawei a security threat to the United States and other nations. Alexander Downer was a board member of Huawei until 2014, when he accepted the position of Australian High Commissioner in London.
According to Canada's Globe and Mail, “Since at least 2016, U.S. authorities have been reviewing Huawei’s alleged shipping of U.S.-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of U.S. export and sanctions laws.”
On Dec. 1, 2018, Wanzhou Meng, the chief financial officer of Huawei was arrested in Canada at the request of U.S. authorities on suspicions that she violated U.S. trade sanctions against Iran. The investigation into Huawei is run out of the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn.
- Main article: Trump-Russia collusion hoax
The meeting between George Papadopoulos, a low-level Trump campaign volunteer, and Alexander Downer was portrayed in American fake news media as a chance encounter in a London pub. It wasn't. It was an entrapment sting designed to justify FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign.
A lawyer from the Australian embassy contacted Papadopoulos fours days in advance and asked to arrange a meeting between Papadopoulos and Downer. At the meeting, Papadopoulos was ordered to "leave [UK Prime Minister] David Cameron alone." Papadopoulos had suggested in a London newspaper that Cameron owed Trump an apology for comments critical of Trump. Cameron colluded with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to murder Muammar Gaddafi - an ally of the UK and the US, - an action that caused the resurgence of black-African slavery in Libya. Obama said at the time it was done for "humanitarian" purposes.
At the time Papadopoulos quit the Ben Carson campaign to volunteer for Trump, Papadopoulos was lured to London with an offer on a board of a front group known as the London Centre of International Law Practice (LCILP) which he accepted to pad his resume. Prof. Joseph Mifsud also worked with the group. Mifsud introduced Papadopoulos to Russian nationals living in the UK and working with retired UK intelligence officials. One pretended to be Putin's niece, and the other worked with a Russian think tank in London. Mifsud claimed to have access to Hillary Clinton's emails.
In September Papadopoulos was lured back to London by Stefan Halper with a promise of $3000 and airfare to write a paper. Halper and Downer have connections to the shadowy UK security firm of Hakluyt (Halper wrote two books with the Hakluyt representative in the US and Downer sat on its advisory board). Halper, who publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton, asked Papadopoulos about the emails Hillary Clinton stole from the State Department and National Archives and Records Administration.
During Papadopoulos' encounter with Downer in the London pub, Papadopoulos told Downer about the meetings with Mifsud and friends. Downer reported what Papadopoulos said to US State Department back channels, who told John Brennan, who told Comey, McCabe and Strzok, who then opened a counterintelligence investigation based on the unverified, unvetted information to violate the civil and Constitutional rights of members of the Trump campaign, and interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
Brennan and FBI cover story debunked
Australian ambassador to the UK Alexander Downer did not pass to the Australian ambassador in the US, Joe Hockey, information on a meeting Downer obtained during a drunken binge with George Papadopoulos in a London pub. Anonymous sources in the New York Times claimed Downer supposedly passed the information to Hockey to relay to the FBI, sparking an FBI counterintelligence probe of the 2016 Trump campaign. Mainstream fake news media in the United States reported it as the official cover narrative to justify the Trump-Russia probe for six months between January and June 2018.
Hockey neither transmitted any information to the FBI nor was approached by the U.S. about the tip. Rather, it was Mr. Downer who at some point decided to convey his information—to the U.S. Embassy in London.
That matters because it is not how things are normally done. The U.S. is part of Five Eyes, an intelligence network that includes the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The Five Eyes agreement provides that any intelligence goes through the intelligence system of the country that gathered it. This helps guarantee information is securely handled, subjected to quality control, and not made prey to political manipulation. Mr. Downer’s job was to report his meeting back to Canberra, and leave it to Australian intelligence. We also know that it wasn’t Australian intelligence that alerted the FBI. The document that launched the FBI probe contains no foreign intelligence whatsoever. So if Australian intelligence did receive the Downer info, it didn’t feel compelled to act on it.
But the Obama State Department did—and its involvement is news. The Downer details landed with the embassy’s then-chargé d’affaires, Elizabeth Dibble, who previously served as a principal deputy assistant secretary in Mrs. Clinton’s State Department.
Downer's reliability as a source is further tainted by his securing $25 million from the Clinton Foundation while Foreign Minister. The information James Comey and Peter Strzok used to initiate a counterintelligence investigation and secure FISA warrants - labeling members of the Trump campaign as "agents of a foreign power" - did not come from allied intelligence agencies as John Brennan claimed. It came by a circuitous and illegal route that violated American law and was used to strip American citizens of their Constitutional protections.
- Spygate, Part #4: Foreign Intelligence, The_War_Economy, February 11, 2019.
- Australia Says It's "Ready To Confirm" A Key Meeting That Led To The Investigation Into Trump's Russia Links, BuzzFeed News, April 18, 2019.
- Technically, the Queen of England is the Head of State of Australia, so Downer is not really the representative of a "foreign" government, as Americans would know it. Hence Downer's title is High Commissioner, representing the interests of Australia in London. American media know him as "Ambassador," a distinction without a difference.
- Papadopoulos said, "I can't speak directly for him but it would seem that if Prime Minister Cameron is serious about reaching out, not only to Mr Trump's advisers but to the man himself, an apology or some sort of retraction should happen.
"To see Mr Cameron come out as the most vocal opponent was uncalled for. Considering that we believe that the UK-US relationship should be a cornerstone, not just of Nato policy but elsewhere, it would be wise for him to reach out in a more positive manner to Mr Trump." Cameron earlier described Trump as "divisive, stupid, and wrong."
- Mifsud told the Italian publication Repubblica: “I am a member of the European Council on Foreign relations”, he adds, “and you know which is the only foundation I am member of? The Clinton Foundation. Between you and me, my thinking is left-leaning. But I predicted Trump’s victory as well as Brexit. Everyone of us wants peace. If the governments don’t talk each other, we citizens must keep talking”.