28 October 2019

Skywhale opinions are evenly divided ahead of the balloon's return next year

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Skywhale splits the community between “Absolutely fabulous!” and “revolting and embarrassing”.

While locals expressed everything from burning passion to utter hatred for Skywhale when her return was announced recently, it appears that RiotACT readers are quite evenly divided on the anthropomorphic balloon’s value.

The many-breasted marine mammal caused a sensation when first launched for the 2013 centenary celebrations, both for her extraordinary appearance and high cost.

But in the years since, the work by Australian artist Patricia Piccinini has toured the world, cementing her creator’s reputation internationally after a wildly successful Sao Paolo retrospective attracted around a quarter of a million people.

That didn’t stop the fear and loathing at home when National Gallery director Nick Mitzevitch announced that the NGA had been able to acquire Skywhale and that she would fly again in the next Balloon Spectacular.

“Skywhale is a disgrace!”, thundered Fergus. “It’s an embarrassment for Canberra. Why bring it back? Was pleased to see the end of it. Stupid titty balloon!”, while an equally enraged John described it as “revolting and embarrassing.”

He added that “the achievement and pride of establishing a national capital and growing up in the city was washed away in a flurry of plastic boobs and ridicule from people interstate which made us a national laughing stock”.

But for Karen, Skywhale is “Absolutely fabulous, I love everything Piccinini does, surreal, thoughtful. Welcome home Skywhale”.

When put to the test among RiotACT reader; however, the vote was much closer.

Skywhale will fly again in Canberra after being acquired by the National Gallery. Are you happy to see her back at home? we asked.

648 votes were cast, with an eventual difference of only 32. Your options were Yes, she’s joyous, thought-provoking and entertaining, receiving 308 votes or 47 per cent of the total.

Alternatively, you could vote No, it was a waste of money and I don’t see the point. Despite the brouhaha in the comments and references to the Hindenboob, that option received 340 votes or 53 per cent of the total vote.

This week we’re asking you about the sizeable new fines for littering imposed by the ACT government.

Fines for dropping a cigarette butt in the ACT will increase dramatically from $60 to $500 while littering a coffee cup will incur a $150 fine. Small-items littering, such as tickets or food wrappings, will incur a $150 fine instead of $60.

The laws also increase the fines for not securing a load on a vehicle or a trailer from $500 to $1,500 and for not returning a shopping trolley when directed by an authorised person from $60 to $150.

The ACT Government says it currently spends $3 million a year cleaning, and Access Canberra received 1,178 reports of illegal dumping during the first seven months of the year.

But the Greens opposed some parts of the legislation, arguing that there would be a “disproportionate impact” on vulnerable people and could excessively penalise the homeless. They pointed out that TCCS City Rangers had not issued a single infringement for littering in three years and given only eight warnings.

What are your thoughts?

The ACT is dramatically increasing the fines for some kinds of littering including cigarette butts and syringes. Is this a good idea?

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I do think that these fines could disproportionately impact the homeless and hurt vulnerable people. But I think the fire danger in Canberra this year is going to be particularly extreme and a thoughtlessly discarded cigarette butt can destroy a city.

I think that the Greens made a very good point though, that no one ever seems to get fined now, so what is the point of making the fines larger?

Capital Retro9:59 am 29 Oct 19

It should be permanently moored at the Glenloch Theme Park (aka arboretum) along with other tacky kitsch and bespoke developments.

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