A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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Question Time


Canberra is a compromise.

Like all well-intentioned compromises, it excites no one.  A bit like kissing your sister.  You see, Australia’s capital city – like America’s – was sited and built to appease a regional rivalry.

In Australia’s case, residents of both Sydney and Melbourne thought their city should be the country’s capital.  The creation of Canberra was the solution.

The capital city, designed by one-time Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice Walter Burley Griffin, is long on symbolism, short on functionality.

The circle is one of the city’s key design elements. While it may look good on landscape design rendering, it makes getting from Point A to Point B a bit challenging.


I can imagine the meeting when Griffin presented his plans:  “And so Mr. Prime Minister, with this design you will have a city that communicates to your citizens the strength, continuity and unity of this great country.”

Too bad no one thought to say:  “All well and good, but how the hell is someone supposed to drive on this?  Get me someone who know how to lay out a proper grid!”

Like most people who visit this city, we had come to Canberra because we had business with the Federal Parliament. Wayne Swan, a friend of twenty years, had recently risen to the position of Federal Treasurer.

Swan’s office had kindly coordinated tickets for us to attend Question Time, a regular occurrence in parliamentary systems where Backbench Members of Parliament are allowed time to question the Prime Minister and members of his Cabinet.

On the day we attended, Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd displayed the rhetorical skills that have helped earn him a 70% approval rating.

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December 29, 2008   2 Comments

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