Lord Downer of Adelaide Hills has made an unprecedented entry into the federal election campaign to support the bid by his daughter, Lady Countess the Dowager Georgina Downer, to recapture the family seat of Mayo in South Australia.
Lord Downer’s sudden direct involvement in the campaign follows latest opinion polls showing that Lady Downer’s chief rival, Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie, is expected to retain the seat on 18 May.
It is understood the YouGov Galaxy poll for the Adelaide Advertiser newspaper, recording a two-party preferred vote of 57%/43% in Ms Sharkie’s favour, is what has stirred Lord Downer to action.
Travelling in a sedan chair carried by two under-footmen (main picture) His Lordship called reporters together before leaving his summer residence of Pout House yesterday morning to explain he expected to traverse an estimated 120kms around Mayo in a bid to convince voters to support his daughter.
His Lordship acknowledged the change in his tactics, saying: “Up until today I have been relying on the so-called ‘voters’ of Mayo to obey my directions and cast their so-called ‘votes’ for my darling Georgina.
“But of recent days it has become sadly obvious to me that so-called ‘voters’ are just odious addle pates and blowsabellas,” he said.
“They simply can’t be trusted to do what I demand to ensure Mayo is returned to our family as we have every right to expect.
“So know I have decided to go on the hustings myself to help my darling Georgina.”
Just prior to His Lordship’s sedan chair moving from the gates of Pout House he told the young under-footmen who were to carry him on his procession that to ensure their comfort they should feel free to remove their waistcoats and shirts and even their breeches and undergarments if they so desired, as he did.
His directive was interrupted by a question from a reporter seeking an estimate of how many voters His Lordship planned to meet or speak to during the day.
In response Lord Downer emitted a long shrill scream which he finally smothered with a kerchief drawn from one of his cuffs before answering: “My dear fellow, what sort of jackanape are you?
“Of course I shall not be meeting any so-called ‘voters’. They are well below my rank, and I have certainly never been formally introduced to any of them.
“No, I shall simply be presenting myself for them to see, to bow to as their social better, and to allow them to pledge support for my darling daughter to put right the egregious wrong that they committed at previous so-called ‘elections’.
“To that end I have today decided to use my best sedan chair to impress the common folk who, for some unfathomable reason, hold the fate of my darling Georgina in their hands.
“This conveyance was last used on my final procession from Canberra to Pout House upon my retirement as Her Majesty’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and is enamelled green with gold trim to reflect the colours of our nation which my family built.
“This particular sedan chair also has on its flanks the Downer family coat of arms consisting of a heater shield as escutcheon with a field azure, divided party per pall, the charge being a cock rampant with right wing prominent, and supporters of fishnetted and stilettoed legs akimbo both dexter and sinister.
“If that doesn’t impress the riff raff and cower them into supporting my darling daughter I am at a loss to know what will.”
At that His Lordship yelled at the under-footmen to go as fast as they could non-stop for all 120kms because he wanted to be back at Pout House in time to conduct his ablutions, be dressed for dinner, and be at table by five o’clock for venison.