Alexander Downer

Alexander Downer

Australian High Commissioner to the U.K.

Statesman and Diplomat

Alexander Downer was appointed Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom in May 2014.

Downer retired from politics in 2008 after a distinguished career spanning 23 years. He was Australia’s longest serving foreign minister from March 1996 to December 2007. He was Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party from May 1994 to January 1995.

Downer was born in South Australia and educated at Geelong Grammar in Victoria, Radley College in Oxford and the University of Newcastle on Tyne. He has a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Politics and Economics and is a Doctor of Civil Laws (honoris causa). Downer also holds a Doctor of Philosophy from Bar Ilan University.

Before entering Parliament, Downer held a number of senior positions in government and the private sector. He worked as an economist to Westpac Bank and as an Australian diplomat in the Australian Missions to the European Union and NATO, based in Brussels. Downer held senior political advisory roles with former Prime Minister, the Hon. Malcolm Fraser, and Federal Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Andrew Peacock, before entering Parliament as the Member for Mayo in 1984.

In January 2013, Downer was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for his distinguished service as Foreign Minister.

Until recently, Downer was the United Nations’ Special Advisor on Cyprus at the level of Under Secretary General. He was also a Visiting Professor of Politics and International Trade at the University of Adelaide.