Folks, I’m sad to report that Miranda Devine is at it again. Her latest bravery is to descend to the ever-novel and surely Walkley-demanding sport of pissmoaning about Canberra.
And you can see what has her so upset. Canberrans are committing the unacceptable crimes of working reasonable hours; going to cafes; exercising (far) more than the national average; and – worst of all – living in a dedicated and planned capital city which dares to serve its intended function.
Miranda doubtlessly grins above her keyboard as she harpoons the Moby Dick of our time: ‘At 5.30 in the afternoon, they’re out walking the dog’. Well, root me sideways. The barrier reef’s silently turning white and everyone under 30 lives in the same Marrickville sharehouse; but Miranda’s chief beef is that dogs in the Territory aren’t being neglected in the manner that the free market demands.
In Canberra, life is certainly good. On that point, we can at least agree. Meritocracy isn’t a dirty word, with state schools routinely outperforming private schools. The obscene individual wealth that defines swathes of Melbourne and Sydney is very rare and even the more expensive suburbs have public housing. Plus we made a Sky Whale.
Of course, Miranda’s ‘fighting made-up whinging with waged-up whinging’ is cynically timed to give weight to the Nationals’ toddleresque demand that APS departments be moved to ‘regional’ Australia. As though Canberra is some skyscraper-strewn metropolis. The Nats lining up to dig the boot into the town that they’ve already stripped of ~15,000 jobs. It’s a lazy free kick for a party that sorely needs it.
If the Nationals decided to become serious about actually serving the country again, they could begin by demanding a proper NBN, an end to CSG-fracking on prime agricultural land and requiring that mining operations actually generate local employment that’s commensurate with the billions reaped by offshore shareholders. But they don’t seem to have the political capital to really do anything beyond attacking our political capital.
To be clear – there isn’t a scintilla of evidence that there’s a net benefit in decentralising the APS. Industry concentrates for a reason and it can’t be unwound without a critical loss. Property in Sydney CBD is Habsburg-expensive, yet you don’t see JP Morgan scheduling a move to Cootamundra to save money. And they love money.
And if Miranda herself truly cared about regional Australia, she could better-direct her lazy campaigning to the upstairs offices of her own workplace, News Corp, who have spent the last decade happily firing the types of people who don’t live in Mosman.
It’s Canberra that should be whining about the rest of Australia ruining everything. The ACT tried to bring in marriage equality back in 2013, only to be overruled by the fly-in-fly-out idiots who work on the hill we can’t even roll down. We have a 100% renewable energy target while the rest of the country fights over whether there’s a correlation between that smoke and that fire. The egg heads here sailed us through the global financial crisis while growing GDP, only to have their jobs disappear for gratitude.
Indeed, the worst thing about living in Canberra is currently taking form in the comments section below Miranda’s latest ‘think’ piece, and it’s a trade I’m more than happy to make.
Chris Endrey is a musician and comedian who can be found through all the typical channels.
Twitter: @chrisendrey Instagram: @misendrey Spotify: Endrey