Alexander John Gosse Downer AC ( born September 9, 1951 in Adelaide ) is an Australian politician and served from March 1996 to early December 2007, the 38th Secretary of State of the country. From 1994 to 1995 he was Chairman of the Liberal Party of Australia.
Downer was born in Adelaide in South Australia. His father, Sir Alexander " Alec " Downer was also politician and member of the Australian Senate and later Minister for Immigration and Citizenship. His grandfather, Sir John Downer was a senator in the first federal parliament in 1901. His mother, born Mary Gosse, comes from the first immigrants from who settled in South Australia. Downer is married, has four children and speaks fluent French.
He attended the Crafers Primary School, then the Geelong Grammar School in Australia. Later he went to England, where his father was High Commissioner in London, and attended 1964-1965 the Radley College, Oxford. Later Downer came to Newcastle University.
From 1975 to 1976 he worked for the Bank of New South Wales before he became a diplomat. During this time he was in Brussels, where she learned French. He then worked as a consultant for Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. Between 1983 and 1984, Downer was chairman of the Australian Chamber of Commerce. In the same year he was elected for the Division of Mayo in the Parliament and since then holds this seat occupied.
He was treasurer of the Liberal Party in 1993. In May 1994, he took over the party presidency of John Hewson.