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How the mighty have fallen

Alexander Downer spent 11 years as the foreign minister of Australia. During his tenure, had he been visiting Melbourne he would have had his cars, his people and arrangements for venues visited. Now it’s a bit different.

This morning I almost bumped into him on Collins Street in Melbourne. You can’t miss a public figure. The funny thing was that some man in the street was hurling abuse at him, but didn’t realise he was no longer foreign minister. Downer yelled something back at the man then went on about his business.

To the man in the street: Where have you been? Under a rock? Rudd’s crew are now trying to steer this ship we call the Australian economy. As for Downer, after 11 years in his position, travel over the world representing Australia, political and foreign intrigue; he’s now as much a businessman on the street as I am. It is humbling no doubt.

His replacement in foreign affairs, Stephen Smith, is in for an exciting and probably stressful tenure.