Can social media damn your career when you’re already 66? It might just be so in the case of Alexander John Gosse Downer.
The left-wing media have been quick to put the boots into the former foreign minister, our man not that long returned from London and father of the sacrificial lamb the South Australian Liberals threw on the bonfire of the ballot papers that was the Mayo by-election (result – obvious to blind Freddy the moment it was called), Georgina, simply for gallantly exercising his paternal position to defend his daughter against Facebook foes.
It all began when mum Nicky Downer asked the stout yeomanry of the Adelaide Hills to back her daughter in a closed local Facebook group on election eve.
The result? It suggests the former yeomanry now favour neat Jim Beam with a few puffs of ice over stout. Things turned nasty quick, so the affable arts administrator Nicky replied:
Then Alexander joined in, less subtlely:
Georgina got a kicking from veteran local journo, radio host and columnist Matt Abraham in the Adelaide Sunday Mail this morning (“Go back to Melbourne, ya faker. You only pretended to like pie floaters,” she was told). Alexander copped a pasting for his intervention everywhere. And successful Mayo candidate Rebekha Sharkie waved a freshly-chopped onion under her eyes to underline the drama and pathos as the Adelaide media gently cooed.
Why does this matter, though, for Alexander’s future?
Well, for a long time it’s been generally regarded that the Alexander Downer story would not end with London.
First, he was going to be brought back and drafted into the state Liberal leadership ahead of this March’s election. Christopher Pyne and Nick Minchin had it all sorted. Alexander suddenly realised the job would be bloody hard yakka and carried the clout in the political world of being Lord Mayor of Sydney or Melbourne, but with much less to boast about, so he declined.
But after the Liberals finally fell over the (gerrymandered) line in the state poll, a different role in public affairs for Alexander has been talked about time and time again as a vacancy looms for the position of Governor of South Australia.
But you can’t have anyone controversial or political, the type who gets involved in social media melees in that sort of job, can you?
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