Fairfax newspaper slams Canberra Centenary

THE Age, The Canberra Times’ sister newspaper, has published an article claiming that Australians have forgotten Canberra’s 100th birthday because of its “weird remoteness” and “political bastardry.”

The article, titled “Happy Birthday, to a vision turned sterile”, is by regular Fairfax columnist Martin McKenzie-Murray, a former Labor Party speechwriter and ex-Canberran.

“Canberra turns 100 this year, but awkwardly it seems Australians have forgotten its birthday,” McKenzie-Murray writes.

“The Bush Capital must now be cursing its weird remoteness, and the fact that outside its borders ‘Canberra’ is not the name of a city, but shorthand for political bastardry.”

The milestone anniversary “has not softened criticism of Canberra,” McKenzie Murray argues.

“Running parallel to the cheerful parochialism of those organising centenary events are some very different and unflattering stories,” he writes.

“On the day I moved to Canberra I was taken to the top of Mount Ainslie. From there you can view The Plan – the sight lines, the Parliamentary Triangle, the geometric symmetry. From there you could also see the empty boulevards and feel the crisp air. That cool wind didn’t just come from the Brindabella Ranges. There was a chilling vibe. Here was the ”unreality” of Canberra that Keating had described.”

McKenzie-Murray describes Walter Burley Griffin’s design for Canberra as “prophetic and pathetic.”

“Instead of a tightly knit centre, six (now seven) small districts emerged, separated by vast space and ill-connected by public transport. Between these centres lies mandated green space, which is pretty for tourists but pushes locals apart, limits land availability and drives up property prices.”

He concludes by admitting there “is diversity in Canberra…but it’s maddeningly, inorganically muted by the concentration of bureaucrats ironically shepherded to a place far removed from the Australians they’re meant to serve.”

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3 Responses to “Fairfax newspaper slams Canberra Centenary”

  1. Christine
    March 8, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    What a joy it is to know this man doesn’t live here anymore!! What a cynical and nasty individual he is, happy to use his “power” to attempt to turn even more Australians against their own capital city but never once thinking about the actual people who DO live here who don’t rely on the government for their way of life but do just enjoy living in a city with so much beauty and diversity.
    Yes we suffer all the politicians that everyone else sends us as they mooch off the public while waiting for their huge superannuation cheques.
    When do we get credit for taking them off all the other states hands.. NEVER.. No we just get criticised for doing our best to enjoy our lives while these bothersome people and their hangerson including the media get in our faces about what sort of city we are..
    Did he bother to ask anyone who was born here what they think of the city? Did he bother to wonder at why so many of us stay here for so long and usually always return even if we do wander off for awhile to seek a new horizon!! Did he bother to think …… actually we already know the answer to that question! From my point of view and as a person who’s travelled fairly extensively, there isn’t anything as good as Canberra out there in our big world and nothing comes close to the way of life we lead here.
    Yes it may not be everyone’s idea of heaven but it is mine and I’ll defend my right to love it always whether its perfect or not. Canberra turns 100 years old this year… most of us are proud of that and will celebrate happily about it… Lets hope the guy who wrote that piece of crap gets a better understanding of other subjects in the future before he pontificates about things he knows little about.
    Just remember Canberra isn’t only made up of politicians, bureaucrats and media… there are good people here who work hard and enjoy their lives in a city that gives back.. I’m proud of my heritage and my place of birth and no one can take that away from me.

  2. J mac
    March 7, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    The CT tend to forget what they do and do not sponsor. Sally Pryor is the centenary reporter and she quite often flies off the handle giving her own views rather than the best interest of the XI or the paper. The sooner the CT has gone the better Canberra will be.

  3. Chris
    March 7, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    Seems Martin fits the media requirements of only covering conflict – even if you must create it yourself.

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