Imperial Canberra?

johnboy 27 December 2010 31

Paul Sheehan in the SMH is expounding on how we are the root of all evil:

Canberra is lush right now. The trees are high, the vegetation thick, the birdlife dense and from those trees comes a beautiful wall of sound – black cicadas, in great numbers. “Black princes”, we called them as kids. Australia has created a green capital, the nation’s only major inland city, with 350,000 people, a very comfortable city. But what lies beneath the greenery is increasingly worrisome.

It’s not just the city’s shockingly lacklustre public architecture, which itself represents a poverty of imagination. This has been a terrible year for Canberra, as expressed in the reputation of the federal public service and the very idea that Canberra should be an imperial power within Australia, constantly expanding its reach into the rest of the nation.

Sadly I think he might have a point.


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JustThinking JustThinking 6:41 pm 02 Jan 11

Is the SMH also going to do a story on Sydney??
The kids at the Cross and other places?
Who gives a ratz azz about the buildings??

Why is everyone so worried about how a place looks,,,,and not worried about its inhabitants or how it functions?
Geesh it was bad 25years ago hanging around Blacktown main street at 3am,,,,,but I can still walk around Civic at 3am…

Let the SMH print what they like….stop biting…some azzholes just have nothing better to write about

caf caf 11:55 am 29 Dec 10

Sheehan’s article is confused and unpersuasive. For example, the following is offered as fact without any supporting evidence:

The Labor-Greens alliance seems impervious to the reality that Canberra’s track record of delivering services is not intrinsically better than that of the states, which have done the hard work of delivering health, transport, energy and education for more than 100 years.

…when a disinterested observer could certainly take a look at the areas of health, transport, energy and education and decide that the Federal record of service delivery is significantly better than that of the States. For example, compare the Federally-administered air transport system with the State-based rail; or the Federally-run University sector with the State-run Primary and Secondary schooling. The public seems to agree with that assessment, too (76% support for the Federal funding plan).

The article also missteps when it complains about the Labor government wanting to take additional revenue from the mining companies, but then also bemoans the fact that “Western Australia is crying out for revenue to invest in the infrastructure needed to expand and sustain its boom.”. If Western Australia currently receives the boom revenue, shouldn’t Western Australia be awash in perfectly administered State-based infrastructure investment? How can Sheehan possibly keep a straight face when decrying the idea of further centralisation whilst simultaneously castigating the Federal government for a lack of intervention in the States?

akinom akinom 8:33 am 29 Dec 10

I wouldn’t take Sheehan’s comments to heart. When inter-state journalists slag off Canberra, they are usually referring to the Australian parliament and the infrastructure that supports it. They forget most people who live here actually like it. Anyway we should maintain the myth of how sterile it is in order to keep people away.

Thumper Thumper 7:04 pm 28 Dec 10

Your answer is yurts, kraals and igloos?

Yeah, why not. At least they’re interesting.

Pork Hunt Pork Hunt 4:58 pm 28 Dec 10

Thumper said:

“The architecture, aside from the parliamentary triangle, is generally boring, insipid, and completely and utterly devoid of any imagination or courage. Brick veneer and rendered monstrosities does not a city make.”

Your answer is yurts, kraals and igloos?

breda breda 3:40 pm 28 Dec 10

Sloppy journalism from (a) Paul Sheehan and (b) the SMH. Quelle surprise!

Yep, like all Australian cities, Canberra has its fair share of crap architecture. If Paul were to look at the Sydney CBD, or even dare to venture out to places like Parramatta, Liverpool or Chatswood (comparable LGAs to Canberra), he might be shocked by what he sees.

Whatever they pay him, it is too much. There is plenty of better written and researched material out there in the blogosphere, as the paid readership figures for his rapidly declining employer demonstrate.

I don’t mind him denigrating Canberra in the bigger picture, though. Let them all keep swarming to the much lauded northern NSW/SE Qld region, and leave us in peace.

trevar trevar 1:49 pm 28 Dec 10

“Will the Canberra Times follow the SMH into terminal decline?”

I think it preceded the SMH!

vg vg 12:55 pm 28 Dec 10

Who gives a rat’s what a Sydney joourno thinks of Canberra. That place is a shithole

Rollersk8r Rollersk8r 9:05 am 28 Dec 10

Agree the first two paragraphs make all Canberrans sound like fatcats, which you’d think we’d be used to by now. And the follow up punch that we choose to live somewhere that’s ugly; ouch…

Although Sheehan’s article of last week was excellent – and gives more context to what he’s really trying to say here: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/a-diminished-gillard-caught-in-a-storm-of-her-own-making-20101219-191ub.html

facet facet 8:56 am 28 Dec 10

I note that Gina Rinehart (the daughter of mining magnate Lang Hancock and arguably Australia’s richest woman) has just purchased a large chunk of the SMH.

I predict we will see a lot more of this rubbish from right wing journos.

Will the Canberra Times follow the SMH into terminal decline?

This of course would be good news for increased readership of the RiotACT.

meggsy meggsy 8:44 am 28 Dec 10

I love Canberra for its open spaces and greenery, country feel and ease of getting around and will put up with the ‘lacklustre architecture’ for that. As LSWCHP suggests it just depends on what you choose to focus on.

trevar trevar 8:37 am 28 Dec 10

Seems the SMH is still bitter that the other states didn’t back Sydney for the capital. Perhaps Sheehan would even like a recount on the 1899 referenda? He would no doubt be counted among the 40% of New South Welshmen who voted no…

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 7:52 am 28 Dec 10

Who really gives a stuff if some idiot journo tries to write a piece like this? Those of us who choose to live here do so for a reason.

LSWCHP LSWCHP 10:00 pm 27 Dec 10

Ahhh bollocks.

Picture the scene. Paul Sheehan goes to any one of a hundred remote communities and tells the locals: “You don’t know how lucky you are. You could be living in crappy old Canberra, where people have to endure shockingly lacklustre public architecture, representing a poverty of the imagination!! You lot are living in a paradise by comparison!!”.

The fact is that Canberra is (despite its problems) a well organised modern city with good infrastructure, good educational facilites and lots of well paid work.

I’d say it was a slow news day, and Mr Sheehan had nothing else to write about so he thought he fill his required column inches with a bit of Canberra bashing.

1 out of 10.

spinact spinact 10:00 pm 27 Dec 10

Apart from stating some Canberra facts in the first paragraph and the personal opinion on architecture thrown into the second paragraphs Pauls article has little to do with ‘Canberra’, rather it’s a big dig at the Labor Federal Government.

M0les M0les 6:10 pm 27 Dec 10

Yeah, lots of Civic buildings are rubbish. I direct the reader towards the Crowne Plaza building (Casino Canberra) and its contemporaries. No idea what that last sentence is about though.

Hells_Bells74 Hells_Bells74 5:40 pm 27 Dec 10

I haven’t noticed the cicada’s this year at all.

PM PM 5:35 pm 27 Dec 10

It is true, although I’d prefer it if columnists would once in a while portray Canberra as a community in its own right, and not slander that whole community for the Federal Government’s decisions.

Anna Key Anna Key 5:30 pm 27 Dec 10

Gosh, who’d have thought that the Australian Government should try and run Australia. More power to Hutt River.

Tempestas Tempestas 5:28 pm 27 Dec 10

About what JB?

Sheehan is hard pressed to find a coherent logical argument at the best of times.

Buildings designed by committee and focus groups are universally ugly, but Canberra doesn’t actually have them all to itself.

As for the State vs Federal argument, ho-hum, been there before methinks, but it is the slow news season.

Reputation of the APS, so no one likes taxes but everybody wants the services, a bit droll really.

Perhaps there was an interesting point in the linked article that I missed.

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