Today Shane Rattenbury, Bob Brown, Zed Seselja, and a whole pile of us media types all stood uncomfortably on a gigantic ant hill to celebrate the opening of the Parliament House walk.
These media events are always really interesting to me, there’s a bizarre camaraderie between everyone there. All the journalists know each other, and all the camera men know each other. The people who regularly speak at these events know each other and they know the journalists. Everyone is all friendly and social, and of course that means that before anything happens everyone needs to find out what everyone else has been up to recently. Then they need to talk about other things. Then some more things. Then they need do it again with the next person.
I suspect these media events are as much an excuse for friends to get together and socialise as they are about getting press coverage for things.
It’s a party, and one I would have probably enjoyed were it not for the small battalion of ants crawling up my leg and my admittedly self induced fragile state of mind (boy the Phoenix Bar knows how to celebrate its birthday).
So my hangover, and my new ant friends, and myself were very impatient and grumpy by the time Shane Rattenbury finally took control of the event and started talking.
Then everyone had a turn talking.
My grumpiness aside, this is a pretty cool thing. I dig walking, and I love that Canberra has so many different paths. This City to Parliament path has been on the cards for a while and it’s good to see it happen.
Next time we have a nice day and you’ve got the time, why not go for a stroll over to Parliament House?
“In 2010 as the Australian Greens leader, Bob Brown called for a path from Civic to Parliament House. As such, it was particularly rewarding for me to stroll with Bob today along the full length of the walk from Parliament House back into the City in recognition of the significant role he has played in helping this project come to life.
“13 interpretive signs have been installed along the 3.4km pathway, which runs from the city centre along a safe route adjacent to Commonwealth Avenue and links up to Federation Mall outside Parliament House via a new path between State Circle and Old Parliament House.
“This is a great new project that will especially benefit visitors to Canberra, providing a signed pathway from Jolimont Centre in the City through to new Parliament House, where there was previously no obvious walking route.
“The new signs have been developed to complement other recently completed interpretive signage around Lake Burley Griffin which encourages people to access the tourism, cultural and entertainment facilities in the area and ultimately guide them to Parliament House.
“The signage also includes interpretive information about cultural institutions around the lake and the history of the area. Opportunities for locals and visitors to Canberra to explore the Parliamentary zone on foot or by bicycle have been greatly enhanced by the installation of the new signs and significant footpath improvements.”
The Australian and ACT Government jointly funded the $200,000 project. The Australian Government gifted $100,000 to the ACT Government in the 2012-13 Federal Budget, in recognition of our centenary year.
“I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to officially open the completed Parliament House Walk alongside Dr Brown and Senator Sesleja,” Mr Rattenbury said.
My favourite part of the event came at the end.
Zed Seselja gave the last speech of the opening, warning that Politicians who spend too much time in Parliament House are in danger of putting on weight and losing touch with the people. He went on to discuss his belief that all politicians should engage with Canberra, and that he hoped they would take the new walk as an opportunity to do just that.
It was a good speech.
Once Zed had finished Shane Rattenbury invited everyone to join him on the walk and then share a cup of coffee back at his office afterwards, Zed declined and went back into Parliament House.