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Fears For Australian Journalists and Diplomats In Indonesian Plane Crash

Nine Australians were passengers on a Garuda flight that crashed at around 11am at Yogyakarta airport today.

According to Sky News, 5 of the Australians are accounted for.

A Fairfax journalist, Cynthia Banham, has been rescued from the plane and is undergoing surgery at an air force hospital near the airport.

The Australians were journalists and diplomatic staff travelling to Indonesia to cover a visit by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer. Mr. Downer was travelling separately in a VIP plane. [Read more…]

Alexander Downer: Earle Page Politics Speech

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, has delivered a speech on Australian foreign policy and politics at the University of New England in Armidale.

Downer gave the Earle Page College’s Annual Politics Dinner speech. [Read more…]

Alexander Downer Speech To Earle Page College Annual Politics Dinner

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, has delivered a speech at the University of New England to the Annual Politics Dinner of the Earle Page College.

Alexander Downer

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer.

In his speech, Downer, the Foreign Minister since 1996, discussed attitudes to the appeasement policies of the 1930s and later wars.

He attacked his political opponents, claiming they abandoned “both realism and idealism” and “too often plumped for immediate political advantage and to hell with the consequences.”

The Annual Politics Dinner is named in honour of Sir Earle Page, the second leader of the Country Party, who held that office from 1921 until 1939.

Following the 1922 federal election, Page negotiated a coalition arrangement with the leader of the Nationalist Party, Stanley Melbourne Bruce. The agreement led to the overthrow of the Nationalist prime minister, William Morris Hughes. The Bruce-Page government was in office from 1923 until 1929.

Page served as the Country Party member for Cowper (NSW) from 1919 until his death in 1961.

Speech by Alexander Downer, Foreign Minister, to the Earle Page College Annual Politics Dinner at the University of New England, Armidale, NSW.

In 1915, at the age of 35, Earle Page was already a mover and a shaker. He was a successful surgeon.

As well, he and a group of likeminded friends were starting or reviving a string of lively newspapers in rural N.S.W., including The Tweed Daily, The Grafton Daily Examiner and The Northern Daily Star. [Read more…]

Coalition Outpolls Labor In Australia Day Honours

The annual list of Australia Day honours has been released.

Politically, the Liberal and National Parties have done well in this year’s honours.

The former Deputy Prime Minister, Tim Fischer, and the former Victorian Premier, Jeff Kennett, have been made ACs, Companions of the Order of Australia, the highest category.

Lynton Crosby, the former federal director of the Liberal Party, was made an AO. Crosby has been in the news in recent days for his role in advising the British Conservative Party leader, Michael Howard. Howard has announced an immigration policy which includes a crackdown on asylum seekers. [Read more…]

Condolences For Former Senator Janine Haines – House Of Representatives

The House of Representatives has paid tribute to former Senator Janine Haines, who died on November 20, 2004. She was 59.

Haines was first appointed to a South Australian casual vacancy in the Senate in 1977. At that time, she replaced the former Liberal Movement Senator Steele Hall, who had resigned and ultimately rejoined the Liberal Party and was elected to the House.

Haines’ term expired in 1978, but she was elected as an Australian Democrats senator at the 1980 election, taking her seat in 1981. Following Don Chipp’s retirement in 1986, she became leader of the party.

Haines resigned her Senate seat to contest the House seat of Kingston at the 1990 election but she was defeated by the sitting Labor MP, Gordon Bilney. [Read more…]

Downer Offers Condolences For Arafat, Calls For Renewed Peace Efforts

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, has expressed the condolences of the Australian government to Yasser Arafat’s widow and to the Palestinian people.

Downer described Arafat as a “very significant leader”, but would not be drawn on his legacy. Downer said he hoped that “the Americans in particular will take the opportunity of recent events, as well as the re-election of President Bush, to promote … a new peace initiative in the Middle East.” [Read more…]

Jakarta Australian Embassy Bombing: Party Leaders React

In the midst of the federal election campaign, Australia’s political leaders reacted to the bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.

A bomb inside a delivery van exploded outside the embassy in South Jakarta at 10.30am local time. It killed 9 people and wounded around 150 others.

The nearby Greek embassy was gutted by the blast and damage to the Chinese embassy was also reported.

Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Mark Latham spoke about the bombings. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, held a joint press conference with the head of the Australian Federal Police, Mick Keelty. [Read more…]

The First Question Time For 2004

Federal Parliament met today for the first time in the 2004 election year.

Nearly three months into Mark Latham’s leadership of the ALP, Question Time (2pm daily) was eagerly awaited for the clues it might provide to the course of the battle between the 8-year-old Howard government and the Federal Opposition.

  • Listen to Question Time 53m)

The following questions were asked:

  1. Mark Latham to John Howard:
    Would the government support the ALP’s recently announced literacy program and encourage parents to read aloud to their children? [Read more…]

Downer Attacks The Myth Of ‘Little’ Australia

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, has attacked the ALP for promoting the idea that Australia is simply a middle power.

Alexander Downer, Minister for Foreign AffairsAddressing the National Press Club in Canberra, Downer said: “My view is that we are not just a ‘middle power’, as my predecessor, Gareth Evans, often asserted. In fact we are a strong Commonwealth with around the 12th largest economy in the world, and one of the most successful, peaceful and well-governed democracies in history.”

Downer said the notion of a “little Australia” had been the “prevailing paradigm” throughout the previous governments of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating.

He said: “We are not a middling nation, but a considerable power, the sixth largest in total land mass.”

Text of speech by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, to the National Press Club.

Ladies and gentlemen.

As we approach the end of the end of the year, the obligation is always there to look back and see how we’ve gone.

The last year has been one of my most demanding as Foreign Minister. [Read more…]

Australia Benefits From Globalisation: Downer

This is the transcript of the speech delivered by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, at the Launch of the Monash Institute for the Study of Global Movements.

Speech by Alexander Downer at Monash Institute for the Study of Global Movements.

Globalisation: Global Opportunities And Global Responsibilities


Thank you, Professor Darvall [Vice Chancellor, Monash University], distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

It is my great pleasure to address you on the occasion ofthe launch of the Monash Institute for the Study of Global Movements.

Monash University has responded creatively and very successfully to the opportunities and challenges of globalisation.

It has adopted a global strategy, establishing campuses and research links in Europe, Asia and Africa. [Read more…]