The Hon Alexander Downer
– Friday, September 18th
Excellency, the Hon. Alexander Downer OR, the Australian High Commissioner in
the United Kingdom and one of Australia’s most distinguished politicians and
diplomats, spoke to a large audience of Radleians and dons on Friday, September
18th, as part of the weekly 6.2 Lecture series.
Downer began his talk by commending Radley on the “amazing building programme”
the College had undertaken since he left E Social in 1970. He then stressed the
“common heritage” shared by Australia and Britain: “divided by only one thing –
his main focus was to emphasize the West’s “need to reinforce the notion of a
rules-based International system” – and he outlined the four major challenges
this rules-based system currently faced. First and foremost was the rise of
China and how to accommodate China’s new status and influence. 30% of
Australian exports, for example, now went to China. Next he addressed the rise
of ISIS – where the UK and Australia clearly had much common ground in facing
an urgent need to tackle this threat. He moved on to discuss the current
migration crisis in Europe: stressing, at the same time, that Australia liked
to take legitimate migrants. Lastly he commented on the recent actions of
Russia in the Ukraine.
then took a number of questions from the Radleians present.