19 June 2017

Miranda Devine, please stop whining about Canberra

| Chris Endrey
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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

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dungfungus said :

Correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t the Federal Public Service decentralised from Melbourne to Canberra?

I recall there was a lot of bitching about it for many years.

What was the “net benefit” (if any) in that move?

Correct. The move was purely political because Sydney didn’t want Melbourne to become the capital (and vice versa). The move (and particularly the long time period when some depts. were in Melbourne and some in Canberra) had a huge impact on the efficient working of the federal government for some decades. Problems included communication issues, loss of experienced staff, rivalries between workers in the different cities, and inefficiencies due to an inability to share like services (eg early computation machines). It was not something to emulate.

I love that Miranda set out to play the predictable, and oh so boring, sport of Canberra-bashing. Yet, all she ended up doing was perfectly make the case for why CBR is such a fantastic place to live and work. You betcha we have low unemployment, strong economic growth, clean air, low commute times and Canberrans are happier with their work-life balance than residents in any other major city in Australia. In 2015 the OECD went so far as ranking Canberra as THE most liveable city and region in the world. No wonder growing numbers of people are moving to the nation’s capital! The “Miranda’s” can try to bash this beautiful city as much as they want…but they can’t argue with the facts.

Correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t the Federal Public Service decentralised from Melbourne to Canberra?

I recall there was a lot of bitching about it for many years.

What was the “net benefit” (if any) in that move?

Well said. There are serious discussions and opinions to be had about Canberra the place, Canberra the capital city and Canberra the centre of government. Yet all anyone wants to hear is the uniquely Australian whinge of “These people over here and doing ok – and that’s not fair”.

I liked Miranda’s bit about this place she’s heard of. It’s called the Kingston Foreshore and everyone there is cashed up. Hmmm so much insight – no other place in Australia has pricey areas, that I’m aware of??

Never mind a few actual facts in her piece – recent public service job losses, further job losses forecast in the budget – and more than 50% of public service jobs based outside of Canberra…

It seems to me that Miranda bashes Canberra when she has nothing else to write about. Usually her page in the Sunday Telegraph has three articles on different subjects but this article was the only one that day and much of the page was taken up with a large picture of The Wombles.

Today in the Telegraph she has criticised the gay ex-serviceman’s group for placing a wreath at The Cenotaph during the Anzac Day commemorations. Truly a nasty character.

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