Canberra

August 19, 2005

The award of a Chevening postgraduate scholarship that will allow the daughter of Alexander Downer, the Australian Foreign Minister, to study in London has led to claims that she has benefited from Australia's support for Britain in the Iraq War.

Georgina Downer, 25, is among a small number of Australians to receive one of the British government-funded scholarships out of more than 330 applicants.

Critics said it was improper for a child of the Foreign Minister to benefit from a country with whom her father must maintain a close relationship. But a foreign office spokesman said there had been no communication during the selection process.

Chevening scholarships are available in 150 countries, and 2,300 awards are made each year. Applicants are expected to have obtained at least an upper second-class degree. Ms Downer has a third-class honours from the University of Melbourne.

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