One of Australia’s biggest mistakes claims Canberra is “a huge mistake”

H1NG0 23 October 2009 96

Possibly Australia’s worst ever Prime Minister, Paul Keating,  has slammed Canberra at a book launch claiming that “Canberra is of its essence a great mistake” and has suggested that Sydney or Melbourne should be the capital. Judging by his comments, he probably spent most of his time in Manuka so that is hardly a great snapshot of Canberra as a whole.

You can read more about it here in the Brisbane Times.

[ED – the CT has a more comprehensive piece here.]

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96 Responses to One of Australia’s biggest mistakes claims Canberra is “a huge mistake”
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cleo cleo 1:39 am 13 Nov 09

toriness You should have read what I said in previous post, it’s plain as the nose on my face that you were born here, I must admit, I’m being a bit naughty, just wanted a bite, it’s not a bad place, BUT Canberra is a world of it’s own, one large bush town.

wishuwell wishuwell 3:03 pm 03 Nov 09

toriness thanks for the info.

toriness toriness 10:20 am 03 Nov 09

wishuwell, it was to the ACT division of the Australian Property Council at the hyatt this month – a link to the complete transcript:

cleo, you sound like a sydney tragic who should move back there. i always feel sorry for people who live in a place they don’t like and just whinge and moan all the time about it – take control of your life, you only have one, and just leave??

cleo cleo 2:12 am 03 Nov 09

Sydney does have a soul and alot of history, people are so much easygoing, friendlier, you do get used of the traffic, Canberra is becoming busy also and no parking, you really have to rely on your own transport here in Canberra.

dixyland dixyland 10:27 am 01 Nov 09

Just because Sydney has a big population do not mean that it is “full of life”, as people have suggested. There’s just a shitload of people in traffic and no soul.

Thankfully people like Paul Keating only get on their soapbox a few times a year and spout their ridiculous ideology. Go back to whatever rock you live under Mr Keating, and leave our beautiful city alone.

cleo cleo 4:19 am 31 Oct 09

Thumper Maybe you are just too clever lol

Thumper Thumper 8:57 am 30 Oct 09

I have to admit when I came to Canberra in the early 80s I was quite suprised at how slack the education system was in comparison to Victoria.

So slack that I didn’t do a single piece of meaningful work all throughout year 12 and still qualified to go to uni.

However, I do agree with Mr Bands.

cleo cleo 1:15 am 30 Oct 09

I must admit I used to really enjoyed watching Keating in Parliment, such a sharp witty person, always had a good laugh.

cleo cleo 1:12 am 30 Oct 09

justbands Education what proof in the pudding, I went and did a course a fews years back which covered everything, most of the students were not very good in English, I accually got 98%, I grew up in Sydney where the education system was very strict, my children had lived in different parts of the world and other states, they did finish school in Canberra though.

justbands justbands 9:13 am 29 Oct 09


Education…the proof is in the pudding, we are more educated here on average…there’s no argument there. Your kids experience relates to one school/class, not an entire system.

The air here is fine, there’s hayfever issues…but we have far, far less polution.

Water not as clean as Sydney? Hmmmmmmmm.

Commuting by public transport here is a joke, I grant you that.

I do just fine in private enterprise here, more than my companies Sydney counterparts in general.

cleo cleo 12:52 am 29 Oct 09

Thumper Eastern and Northern suburbs of course

cleo cleo 12:50 am 29 Oct 09


None of the above, and as far as literacy goes who made you the professor? I don’t drink chard or watch neighbours, home and away ever, Is Chopper Reid one of your buddies sunshine?

cleo cleo 12:38 am 29 Oct 09

Justbands As for higher standard of education, I don’t think so, when my kids moved here they could not believe how rude and cheeky the other kids were to teachers, as for the air well, there are more hayfever, asthama suffers here, the water here is not as clean as Sydney, that’s why hair is clingy here, also commuting here is shocking by public transport, yes I do have a car here in Canberra, cannot do without it, and when one wants to go to the airport or railway station, you have to ask a friend or get an expensive taxi, also the beaches do not cost, everything costs in Canberra, and as far as higher paid jobs they are mostly public servents, private enterprise pays lousy wages, I should know.

wishuwell wishuwell 7:43 pm 28 Oct 09

toriness, I’m confused with whom Lindsay was replying to (key players). Was it you and me or non Canberra folk. Besides the fact that that nothing can be changed anyway.

cranky cranky 7:07 pm 28 Oct 09

Howard got two things right. The guns buy back and the GST. Keating was an arrogant pr!*k. May they both predecease me that I may dance on their graves. I have developed a degree of admiration for Fraser, post parliament. He speaks sense, not spin.

I have been Sydneycentric all my life, and Melbourne was a much derided unknown. Sydney was well known, an easy drive, and rellies on tap.

Last year I went to the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. What a revelation! Thoroughly enjoyed myself, a quantum leap upward from Sydney, and a deep realisation on returning to Canberra of how the other half live.

We have Another Country Town.

toriness toriness 6:44 pm 28 Oct 09

Excerpt from a speech by Lindsay Tanner today which I’m sure will provide you with the huge sigh of relief as it did me (joke):

Canberra as the nation’s capital
No doubt you will have seen recent comments questioning Canberra’s suitability as Australia’s national capital.

As key players in the Canberra property sector, I think I can safely assume that you don’t share these concerns.

Rightly or wrongly, Canberra is now firmly established as our national capital, and I believe it is a capital city of which Australians can be proud.

Irrespective of debates about Canberra and Parliament House, the Government has no intention of changing that situation.

sepi sepi 4:08 pm 28 Oct 09

Every other European/First World country managed to get their ‘suspected of training with terrorists’ prisoners back within weeks. We were the only ones that left our citizen to rot for years, and agreed to let another country put him on trial – in their country, even tho he had never committed a crime there.

governments are supposed to stick up for their citizens against other governments, not just roll over and let them do whatever they want. If that is now a lefty ideal, then we are in big trouble.

deezagood deezagood 3:43 pm 28 Oct 09

As a parent, I absolutely love living here. Name another major city where you can whip to your kid’s school, watch their assembly, and pop back to work within an hour? Or get from the suburbs into the city in under 30 minutes in peak hour? Canberra has most of the amenities of a big city (excluding really good clothes shopping) combined with the convenience and community spirit of a country town. We have gorgeous snow within two hours, and gorgeous beaches in the other direction. The crime rates are low – I actually feel pretty safe here compared to living in Melbourne. There are more restaurants per capita than any other city in Australia (I read this somewhere once). The people here are really nice … it is hard to initially ‘break in’ to the social scene, but once you have a good group of friends, it is easy to quickly develop friendships and socialise, because everyone lives in close proximity! Okay – it may not be a ‘thrill-a-minute tourist destination or have the ‘wow’ factor of Sydney/Melbourne/Brisvegas … but living here is just wonderful – at this stage of life anyway. Every time I drive through a Melbourne/Sydney/Brissy peak hour I thank my lucky stars that I live in Canberra. Maybe Mr Keating just didn’t stay for long enoguh to appreciate these factors.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 1:47 pm 28 Oct 09

sepi said :

David Hicks thought Howard did a great job.

David Hicks also trained with a known terrorist organisation, and was outside the country when captured.

I know people here love to bag Howard, but don’t forget that more than 98% of Australians are not tree-hugging lefty Canberrans.

justbands justbands 1:43 pm 28 Oct 09

“Sydney has beachers, great transport, top specialists, the Opera House, great markets,shopping cheaper than Canberra, a veriaty of shops, warmer weather, do I need to go on? Ok there is much more to do in Sydney, and yes I hope to leave Canberra as it is boring”

Yes, it has those things….we have other things….higher standards of education, cleaner air & water, shorter commute times, higher paid jobs, lots of green space, a beautiful lake, a fitter, healthier population that lives longer & more.

Horses for courses.

I loved Keating when he was PM, he just leaves me feeling sad for him nowadays…he needs to drop out of the media spotlight gracefully.

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