Canberra you can’t leave home without it

By Mike Welsh

A MEANINGLESS and often shifty phrase is echoing around places where Canberra public servants gather to “socialise”.

“Getting On With the Job”, ordinarily a deep scrape of the political barrel, is being used by a group, differently, but still drenched in dishonesty.

“Getting On With the Job” (GOWTJ) is the theme of scripted “talking points” supplied to anxious employees of the Australian  Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) to help shut down barbecue and dinner party discussions on the authority’s relocation to Armidale. The options were given to all staffers, regardless of whether they were staying put, relocating to Armidale or undecided.

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BUT just as quickly as the catchy GOWTJ gained notoriety it became obsolete. The government now wants all departments to justify their presence in the capital, which will require a longer list of “talking points”. While GOWTJ may have been deemed sufficiently pithy for dealing with shifting a few hundred public servants from Canberra to Armidale, relocating more departments and agencies, impacting possibly thousands of people, is a whole other “conversation”.

THERE could be a silver lining though to the dark grey nimbus forming. The mass migration of one section of society may enhance the comfort of another.

A local community activist has floated an idea that could solve the city’s homeless problem. Kim Fischer says the Federal government has identified 200,000 square metres of unoccupied Commonwealth floor space in Canberra. With the additional vacant office spaces potentially created by relocation the district’s estimated 1500 homeless could be easily and economically housed. Ms Fischer says all that is required is “the vision to make it happen”.

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LOYAL listeners to Canberra’s conduit for conservative commentary, 2CC, may have been confused recently by Alan Jones and Ray Hadley. A year after anointing Scott Morrison as the next PM Hadley punted the Treasurer from his program and installed former PM Tony Abbott. Meanwhile Jones was recommending something akin to a “thorough thrashing” at the ballot box as the only means of the LNP coming to its senses. Strange days, indeed.

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STILL on the wireless and we have a new #1 FM breakfast crew. Hit 104.7’sRyan and Tanya leapt 2.7 per cent to 16.2 per cent. The biggest loser of GfK’s first sampling of the district’s listening habits for 2017 was the ABC. Despite plunging 2.7 per cent, new breakfast host Dan Bourchier starts with a 17.5 per cent share and overall #1 (his predecessor Phil Clark regularly posted 20-23 per cent audience shares). Over at 2CC, early-rising, steak-knife salesman Tim Shaw rose slightly to 5.4 per cent but has failed to threaten predecessor Mark Parton’s ratings PB of 7.3 per cent. Mix106.3 FM is overall market leader, up an impressive 5.4 per cent to 21.6 per cent

THE co-organiser of a recent Canberra town hall meeting featuring Bill Shorten has taken the concept further by proposing an extra public holiday.

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Member for Fenner Andrew Leigh says “Deliberation Day” (held only during an election year) would be a chance for people to ponder politics and debate issues in the local community and the nation’s future. Dr Leigh says he borrowed the idea from US academics Bruce Ackerman and James Fishkin, saying it “builds off the notion of town hall meetings, which have seen an upsurge in attendance in the States recently”.

AT 21 years of age and with dreams of being an NRL referee, Canberran Brian Cobb’s career took a sharp detour. A role in a training video set Cobb off on the long and often rewardless journey of filmmaking.

Last Sunday, on his 40th birthday, the producer hosted the world premiere of his feature film “Indigo Lake” at Dendy. The picture, which was shot in Sydney, is written and directed by Martin Simpson and stars another Canberran, Miranda O’Hare.

 

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