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Canberra Confidential. A review

By johnboy 14 March 2013 32

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Canberra Confidential screened on the ABC tonight and you can watch it via that link or soon enough on iview.

For the purposes of disclosure I should note I got a Burmese curry out of it to share my ideas on stories they could include, and I was invited to a preview screening at the National Museum last week but had other things to do. While I doubt she remembers my name; over a decade ago Annabel Crabb and I used to sneak out of our press gallery offices and find ourselves at the same press conferences of visiting world leaders that it appeared no one else in the Canberra Gallery could take the time out of party gossip to make it to. (I once ended up asking Mikhail Gorbachev questions due to being one of very few non-cameraman or sound techs in the room).

After the preview screening last week the ruling elites of Canberra took to Twitter to howl they had once again been done down by cliche.

It’s true that if you’re a very keen student of local and Australian politicial history there’s not much new in there.

As well they used some really flimsy material early to smear conservative leaders, to balance the weightier Labor scandals.

But while those who walk the corridors of power will be on nodding terms with these scandals the rest of the population probably will come at it for the first time.

Which is no bad thing.

Annabel does come across as far too twee at times. But she is a journalist and not an actress.

And the conclusions that Canberra is becoming a fortress of secrets, because that’s what Australia wants us to be, bears some thinking about.

(Also the establishing shots of the landscape are really nicely done and show off what little remains of the Griffin legacy use of the landscape)

Well worth a watch.


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32 Responses to
Canberra Confidential. A review
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Masquara 9:07 am 16 Mar 13

Madam Cholet said :

I had never heard of this scandal before as im not from this side of the equator originally but I thought Coombs came across as a bit of a numpty. He couldn’t see what he was doing was going to get him into big trub.

I hope ASIO employees are less numpty-like these days. Otherwise I think to coin a phrase ‘we’re all doomed’.

Sorry prev two posters: David Combe not Coombs!

Madam Cholet 8:19 am 16 Mar 13

I had never heard of this scandal before as im not from this side of the equator originally but I thought Coombs came across as a bit of a numpty. He couldn’t see what he was doing was going to get him into big trub.

I hope ASIO employees are less numpty-like these days. Otherwise I think to coin a phrase ‘we’re all doomed’.

maureen52 6:49 pm 15 Mar 13

I now live in the O’Connor ex guvvie once inhabited by Mr Coomb’s spouse!

Masquara 6:21 pm 15 Mar 13

johnboy said :

Coombs still shocked that a “mate” would put the interests of Australia above his own was a highlight.

Coombs and his wife owned more than one property, including an enormous house in Campbell, when the scandal broke … but when they split up soon afterwards she was immediately allocated a three bedroom guvvie in O’Connor off Macarthur Ave – no waiting on the emergency list for a Labor mate’s spouse! Coombs kept living in the large house in Campbell rather than move out, and charged the roof over his kids’ heads to the taxpayer …

c_c™ 5:28 pm 15 Mar 13

astrojax said :

i was annoyed by the bloody wide-angle (almost fish-eye) photography as they panned past various canberra landmarks.

Not to mention driving around Australia’s national capital in a Detroit pimp mobile.

astrojax 4:11 pm 15 Mar 13

i was annoyed by the bloody wide-angle (almost fish-eye) photography as they panned past various canberra landmarks. i found her twee, as did jb, and the show overall a bit flat and lifeless, or forced.

still, at least someone is thinking to make canberra the centre of the attention of a show… nice one, aunty.

Alderney 3:30 pm 15 Mar 13

EvanJames said :

I’m glad Crabbe has dropped the weird 40s Housewife clothes she was inhabiting for the pollies cookery show. I enjoyed the show, mostly, but her weird-arse get-ups were annoying.

I just thought that’s the way she liked to dress.

I like it because it’s different.

EvanJames 2:44 pm 15 Mar 13

Alderney said :

The only good thing about there being one game on a Friday night is that I can catch Dr Blake on iview afterwards. I’ll do Canberra Confidential sometime over the weekend.

It’s bound to be repeated on ABC 2, things like that often are, and fair enough too.

I’m glad Crabbe has dropped the weird 40s Housewife clothes she was inhabiting for the pollies cookery show. I enjoyed the show, mostly, but her weird-arse get-ups were annoying.

secretmumma 1:21 pm 15 Mar 13

obrijo said :

Charlies restaurant is the place many Labor people drifted to after the sacking on 11 November 1975. Leunig was there and did drawings of us all which appeared in the Nation Review.

drawings of “us” very interesting!

Alderney 12:51 pm 15 Mar 13

I thought last night’s tele was riveting. I mean, who’d have thought Parramatta could play so well.

Seriously though, I’ll have to pick it up on iview as nothing stands in the way of the footy.

The only good thing about there being one game on a Friday night is that I can catch Dr Blake on iview afterwards. I’ll do Canberra Confidential sometime over the weekend.

obrijo 12:45 pm 15 Mar 13

Charlies restaurant is the place many Labor people drifted to after the sacking on 11 November 1975. Leunig was there and did drawings of us all which appeared in the Nation Review.

c_c™ 12:40 pm 15 Mar 13

Annable Crabb was charming for a while, but the schtick is wearing a little thin.

If they don’t include a look at the infamous middle east finance broker been sped through the streets of Canberra, chased by another ComCar and dropping documents at a hotel before taking a decoy car, you know the producers are being lazy.

maureen52 12:04 pm 15 Mar 13

Charlies was a fantastic restaurant situated where La Scala is now in the old Centre Cinema building. I once went there for lunch and stayed for dinner.

muscledude_oz 11:54 am 15 Mar 13

secretmumma said :

Really enjoyed this, have one question, where was this “Charlies” place/bar they kept refering to?

Charlies was a restaurant in the old Center Cinema building where La Scala is now. It was modelled on a restaurant in New York and had Charlie Chaplin as its mascot. Inside the restaurant were posters and pictures of famous Charlies including Charlie Brown. One of the dining areas was called The Limelight Room, Limelight being a movie starring Charlie Chaplin.

slashdot 11:50 am 15 Mar 13

As I recall, ASIO was headquartered in Melbourne until the late 80s, so shouldn’t most of this doco be about drab, boring, secretative, grey Melbourne?

EvanJames 11:47 am 15 Mar 13

secretmumma said :

Really enjoyed this, have one question, where was this “Charlies” place/bar they kept refering to?

Charlie’s was in the Centre Cinema Building, Italian food from memory?

EvanJames 11:47 am 15 Mar 13

Every show about Canberra or set in Canberra doesn’t have to be some rah-rah beat up funded by ACT Tourism. Last night’s show was about a very interesting story, I hope there’s more like it. I loved the gossip, and the retrospective view, especially by Coombs himself. Fascinating stuff.

    johnboy 11:59 am 15 Mar 13

    Coombs still shocked that a “mate” would put the interests of Australia above his own was a highlight.

secretmumma 11:40 am 15 Mar 13

Really enjoyed this, have one question, where was this “Charlies” place/bar they kept refering to?

JessP 10:49 am 15 Mar 13

I enjoyed it! Remeber some of the stories from my youth (Junie and Dr Jim, Coombes affair) and enjoyed getting the inside story.

A good show!

switch 10:46 am 15 Mar 13

Surprised she didn’t go into the VENONA decrypts which mentioned several people here who were being very free with information flow to the Russians back in the late forties. Which led to Chiefly setting up ASIO in the first place. e.g., talk to Ric Throssell about career limiting.

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