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DOWNER, the Hon. Alexander John GosseBiography for DOWNER, the Hon. Alexander John Gosse

Member for Mayo (SA) 1984-2008

Liberal Party of Australia

Parliamentary Service

Elected to the House of Representatives for Mayo, South Australia, 1984, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2007.

Resigned 14.7.2008.

Ministerial Appointments

Minister for Foreign Affairs from 11.3.96 to 3.12.07.

Committee Service

House of Representatives Standing: Transport Safety from 28.2.85 to 19.8.86; Transport, Communications and Infrastructure from 8.10.87 to 19.2.90; Selection from 1.6.89 to 19.2.90; Finance and Public Administration from 10.10.90 to 28.11.91; Banking, Finance and Public Administration from 28.11.91 to 8.2.93.

Joint Statutory: Public Accounts from 23.5.86 to 5.6.87; Intelligence and Security from 12.3.08.

Conferences, Delegations and Visits

Leader, Delegation to USA 1986.

Leader, Liberal Party Trade Delegation to China 1991.

Member, Bi-Partisan Trade Mission, USA, March 1992.

Member, Parliamentary Delegation to Germany, Belgium, UK, France, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Austria, September 1995.

Official visits to Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, April 1996; Papua New Guinea, May 1996; New Zealand, May 1996; Japan and USA, June 1996; Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Cameroon, June-July 1996; Indonesia, July 1996; Malaysia, August 1996; China, August 1996; France, Germany, UK and USA, September-October 1996; Malaysia, India and Indonesia, October 1996; Philippines, November 1996; New Caledonia, Western Samoa, Fiji and Tonga, December 1996; UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy, January-February 1997; Papua New Guinea, February 1997; Indonesia, April 1997; Canada, May 1997; Indonesia, June 1997; Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Laos and Vietnam, June-July 1997; India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore and Brunei, July-August 1997; Vanuatu, Fiji and New Zealand, August 1997; Papua New Guinea, August 1997; UK, September 1997; USA, the Philippines, Japan and Hong Kong, September-October 1997; Papua New Guinea, UK, Russia and Germany, October-November 1997; Canada, November 1997; Canada, USA and China, December 1997; Bougainville, January 1998; Indonesia, UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Pakistan and Bangladesh, January-February 1998; Papua-New Guinea and Vietnam, April-May 1998; USA, Israel, Egypt, Italy and Thailand, June 1998; Indonesia, July 1998; Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Philippines, July 1998; Micronesia, August 1998; Malaysia, November 1998; Papua New Guinea, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tuvalu and Kiribati, December 1998; Switzerland, UK, Germany, Belgium and United Arab Emirates, January-February 1999; Singapore, Indonesia, UK and Portugal, February-March 1999; Samoa, March 1999; Japan, Singapore and Indonesia, April 1999; New Zealand, USA and Yugoslavia, June 1999; China and Hong Kong, July 1999; Singapore, Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea, July 1999; New Zealand, September 1999; USA, September 1999; USA and UK, September-October 1999; Thailand and Singapore, October 1999; USA, October-November 1999; Philippines and Thailand, November 1999; Fiji and New Caledonia, December 1999; Macau, December 1999.

Official visits to Indonesia, January 2000; UK, Switzerland, France, Portugal and Belgium, January-February 2000; Papua New Guinea, March 2000; India, March 2000; Japan, China, USA and UK, April-May 2000; Cambodia and Vietnam, May 2000; UK, June 2000; Solomon Islands and Fiji, June 2000; Germany and USA, July 2000; Thailand and Iran, July-August 2000; Samoa, August 2000; East Timor, August 2000; USA, September 2000; Brunei, North Korea and Hong Kong, November 2000; New Zealand, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, December 2000; UK, Switzerland, Spain, Denmark and Sweden, January-February 2001; UK, USA, Brazil, Argentina and Chile, March-April 2001; Papua New Guinea, April 2001; Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, South Africa and UK, April-May 2001; Japan, Republic of Korea and Hong Kong, May-June 2001; East Timor, July 2001; Singapore and Vietnam, July 2001; UK and Indonesia, September 2001; USA, September-October 2001; China, October 2001; Nauru, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Zealand, December 2001; UK, December 2001; Solomon Islands, January 2002; UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, Poland and Russia, January-February 2002; Indonesia, February-March 2002; Belgium and India, April 2002; East Timor, Thailand and Indonesia, May 2002; USA, July 2002; Brunei and Malaysia, July-August 2002; USA, September 2002; Burma, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, October 2002; Indonesia, October 2002; USA, Canada and UK, October-November 2002; Japan and China, November 2002; Papua New Guinea, November 2002; Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa and New Zealand, December 2002; Switzerland, Belgium, Germany and France, January-February 2003; Republic of Korea, February 2003; Indonesia, March 2003; USA, March-April 2003; Indonesia, April 2003; Japan, UK, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Iran and Sri Lanka, May 2003; Cambodia, June 2003; Singapore and Vietnam, July 2003; Solomon Islands, July-August 2003; Papua New Guinea, September 2003; USA and Italy, September 2003; Thailand, October 2003; UK, the Netherlands and Singapore, November 2003; Indonesia, December 2003; New Zealand, December 2003; Tonga and Fiji, December 2003; USA, Ireland, Switzerland, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and United Arab Emirates, January 2004; Indonesia, February 2004; Germany, March-April 2004; Fiji, April 2004; New Zealand, May 2004; Belgium and Libya, May 2004; Malaysia, June 2004; Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, UK and USA, June-July 2004; Thailand, July 2004; China, North Korea and Hong Kong, August 2004; Chile, November 2004; Indonesia, December 2004; Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and New Zealand, December 2004; Thailand and Indonesia, January 2005; USA, January 2005; UK, France, Belgium and Luxembourg, January-February 2005; Japan, March 2005; USA, April-May 2005; India, June 2005; Japan, Thailand and Laos, July 2005; Papua New Guinea, August 2005; UK, Czech Republic, Hungary and USA, September 2005; Fiji, September 2005; Indonesia, October 2005; Republic of Korea, November 2005; Indonesia and Malaysia, December 2005; Iraq, Afghanistan and United Arab Emirates, December 2005; Brazil, Mexico and USA, December 2005-January 2006; UK and Netherlands, January-February 2006; New Zealand, February 2006; Indonesia, February 2006; Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga, April 2006; New Zealand, May 2006; Singapore, May 2006; Solomon Islands, May 2006; East Timor, June 2006; France, Germany, UK and Indonesia, June 2006; Malaysia, July 2006; Japan and China, July-August 2006; East Timor, September 2006; Canada, USA, UK, Belgium, Finland and Italy, September-October 2006; Indonesia and Vietnam, November 2006; USA, Trinidad and Tobago and UK, December 2006; USA, January 2007; UK, Germany and Turkey, February 2007; New Zealand, February 2007; Indonesia, March 2007; Vanuatu, March 2007; China, April 2007; USA, May 2007; New Zealand, May 2007; Japan, June 2007; United Arab Emirates and Jordan, June-July 2007; Nauru and Tonga, July 2007; Philippines, July-August 2007; New Zealand, August 2007; East Timor, August 2007; USA, September 2007; Tonga, October 2007; Singapore, November 2007.

Parliamentary Party Positions

Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party from 23.5.94 to 30.1.95.

Leader of the Opposition from 23.5.94 to 30.1.95.

Member, Opposition Shadow Ministry from 21.4.87 to 14.8.87, from 16.9.88 to 12.5.89 and from 11.4.90 to 11.3.96. Shadow Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Environment from 21.4.87 to 14.8.87; Housing and Small Business from 16.9.88 to 12.5.89; Trade and Trade Negotiations from 11.4.90 to 28.4.92; Defence from 28.4.92 to 7.4.93; Shadow Treasurer from 7.4.93 to 26.5.94; Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs from 31.1.95 to 11.3.96.

Member, Fightback! Co-ordination and Marketing Group from 28.4.92 to 7.4.93.

Chairperson, Economy, Public Sector and the Law Management Group from 7.4.93 to 26.5.94.

Party Positions

Delegate, Liberal Party State Council (SA) 1981.


Born 9.9.1951, Adelaide, SA.

Qualifications and Occupation before entering Federal Parliament

BA (Hons) (Newcastle-on-Tyne).

Australian Diplomatic Service 1976-82.

Political Adviser to Rt Hon. JM Fraser, Prime Minister 1982-83.

Director, Australian Chamber of Commerce (Canberra Secretariat) 1983-84.


Description: rural.

Location: Adelaide Hills and the Fleurieu Peninsula; it includes the centres of Aberfoyle Park, Birdwood, Bridgewater, Cape Jervis, Crafers, Echunga, Gumeracha, Goolwa, Hahndorf, Kangarilla, Langhorne Creek, Lobethal, Macclesfield, Mount Barker, Myponga, Normanville, Oakbank, Springton, Strathalbyn, Victor Harbor, Williamstown, Woodforde, Woodside and Yankalilla. It also includes Kangaroo Island.

Area: 9190 sq km (approx.).

Electors enrolled: 96 401 (at 24.11.07).

Industries: dairying, beef, sheep, apples, pears, cherries, smallgoods, Kanmantoo copper mines, Jupiter Creek goldfields, forestry, natural spring water, wine, cereals, tourism and the Woodside army barracks.

State electorates: Mayo includes the South Australian House of Assembly electorates of Finniss and Kavel, and parts of Davenport, Fisher, Hammond, Heysen, Morialta and Schubert.