14 February 2023

PODCAST: Cold hard cash and would-be politicians, the arboretum and Canberra ingenuity

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Could an iconic Canberra advertisement become a major movie epic? Image: Supplied.

The Hoot is here again and it’s apparently the week for people to admit they’re wrong. David Pocock will never get elected, the arboretum trees won’t grow, we shouldn’t have big dreams – that kind of thing. Because haven’t we all been wrong sometimes?

On this week’s podcast, Ross and Genevieve begin with the (truly astronomical) cost of getting someone elected to the Senate.

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It’s been revealed that Senator Pocock’s campaign cost an eye-watering $1.8 million, considerably more than either of the two major parties spent on their ACT senate campaigns and a great deal more than any of the other independent candidates had at their disposal.

READ ALSO Big spender: what it took to get David Pocock into the Senate

Is this now the cost of getting someone into power? And if so, who benefits and what are the issues for our democracy?

While many Region readers say that $1.8 million is money well spent to get rid of a deeply unpopular senator, others say that Simon Holmes a Court, who funded many of the independent candidates, will seek a return on his investment at some point.

Speaking of grand visions and very big ideas, the National Arboretum has been open for a decade. Your podcasters were both around when the doubters were thick on the ground, convinced that Jon Stanhope’s plans were madness.

READ ALSO From little things, big things grow: National Arboretum celebrates 10 years

Yet even those who were convinced that it was a good idea to turn a fire-blasted, acid-soiled steep hillside into 100 forest and 100 gardens wood have been flabbergasted to learn that six million people have been through the place. There is no doubt whatsoever that it’s a success and one of the best things to happen to the city in decades.

Is there something particularly Canberran about doubting that truly grand ideas will work? Will the light rail doubters be completely won over when they can travel from Gungahlin town centre all the way to the Tuggeranong Hyperdome (presumably sometime in the late 2060s)?

READ ALSO Classic Seears Workwear ad gets a movie makeover … now ya know!

Another grand vision was at play when Canberra video production company Good Shout decided to turn the locally famed Seears Workwear ad into a full-blown movie trailer as part of their annual blue-sky, no-holds-barred hackathon, designed to sharpen staff skills at delivering speedy ideas.

The result is as much a ripper as you’d expect – a hyper-dramatic all-action take on one of the city’s iconic taglines. There are menacing banjo players, kelpies and local landmarks aplenty. And a cameo appearance from Pat, of Seears fame, himself.

Toast yourself, Canberra – there are a lot of people around here having good ideas and getting them done. Now ya know!

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