Aggressive Politician Verbally Attacks Teenager
You can read a blog here to learn more about the Australia-Korea Energy Forum, which brought together Australian and Korean students to talk climate strategy, and saw them visiting Kakadu, and the Ranger Uranium mine, amongst their many adventures. They then winged it back to Canberra for the Talkback Classroom debate, which resulted in Alexander Downer making a complete fool of himself, and allegedly directing unsavoury comments towards the Korean students and the insistent questioner Alex Meekin.
Climate classroom debater, and student, Tina Pahlman explains what happened during the 'Alexander Downer Incident' :
...we didn't ask everything we wanted to and Mr Downer tended to speak far too much on things other then our direct questions----we never mastered the cut in technique...but all in all I think the audience was engaged we had Downer on the edge of his seat and we raised some important issues...
What a sad, pathetic man Alexander Downer is.
From news.com.au :
ACT student Alex Meekin got a taste for the thrust and parry of political life when he took the foreign minister to task over climate change during a session of Talkback Classroom at the National Museum of Australia today.
The Narrabundah College student was part of a panel grilling Mr Downer on energy and raised the minister's ire on a number of issues.
Mr Downer at first batted the tricky questions away, diplomatically sidestepping whether he agreed with climate change sceptics in the Government like Finance Minister Nick Minchin.
Mr Downer's tolerance started to slip when the 17-year-old asked about the moral imperative involved in addressing climate change, suggesting there had been similar economic arguments against ending slavery 200 years ago.
"We're not trying to have some sort of polemic debate," the minister said.
...when Alex questioned whether Australia could have much impact given its refusal to ratify Kyoto, Mr Downer hit back: "It sounds like your questions come from a familiar source".
"A source I'm very familiar with, I'd say they've written them well for you," the minister said, suggesting he thought the questions were supplied by Labor.
Talkback classroom producer Stephen Cutting said the students had been briefed by a variety of sources, including Mr Downer's office, Labor, the federal parliamentary library, business and industry.
"I think comments like that underline the effectiveness of how these kids learn the issues, they've met with many experts, they've been briefed by everybody including Mr Downer's own office," he said.
Downer refused to answer genuine questions from concerned teenagers. Teenagers concerned about how climate change will impact on their lives and the lives of their future children. They wanted to know if Downer's government are really committed to trying to control the growth of global warming. They wanted to know if Downer, as foreign minister, accepted the reality of climate change.
The students wanted straight answers, but Downer refused to answer. He didn't "bat" the questions away. He refused to answer them.
Instead, Downer tried to smear a 17 year old as a Labor stooge, and accused him of not writing his own questions.
Downer owes Alex Meekin, and the other students, an apology. And he still owes them truthful answers to their very valid questions.
So just how paranoid is Alexander Downer these days? Utterly.
Few Australians know how widely disrespected Alexander Downer is on the world diplomatic stage. Particularly in Asia. Diplomats can often be seen rolling their eyes or laughing to themselves when Downer enters a room. Others visibly tense up in his presence, or grit their teeth in grim smiles.
Downer is widely viewed as rude, impertinent and absolutely arrogant. He bullies Pacific nation leaders, and dismisses the concerns of Central and South East Asian leaders over Australia's involvement in the BushCo. missile defence shield, all the while demanding they do more to "fight terror".
Prime minister John Howard is not the only Liberal federal politician now shifting into meltdown mode after seven months of appalling polls. Downer has become a snow man in the sunlight.
Downer's woeful performance at the students' debate is another in a long string of embarrassing public spectacles, including his recent appearance on Lateline, where he was clearly drunk, slurring, and repeating himself.
Really, what sort of federal politician can't take a few hard questions from a 17 year old student without starting to whine, sulk and then go on the attack?
The sort of politician that is increasingly sad and pathetic and knows he will soon lose his job.
The sort of politician that is Alexander Downer.
There will be many a loud cheer sounding in embassies and parliaments across South East Asia when they learn, after the election, that they no longer have to tolerate Downer in order to keep up good relations with Australia.
Downer On Lateline : Drunk, Slurring, Repeating Himself
December, 2006 : Downer Expresses 'Sympathy', Then Urges Fijians To Stage Resistance Against Well-Armed Military
Downer Okays Uranium Sales To India - Formation Of Asia Pacific Alliance To Contain China Moves Closer To Reality
Downer And Howard Spattered By 'The Blood Of Iraqis' In Cartoonist's Christmas Card