JUDITH IRELAND April 04, 2012
There's more to Canberra than roundabouts, freezing weather and “bloody pollies”, says singer Robyn Archer. Photo: Rob Homer
It's time Australians stop 'Canberra bashing' and get to know their national capital, according to singer and director Robyn Archer.
Ms Archer, who is the creative director of Canberra's centenary celebrations in 2013, said that the language around Canberra was a "national disgrace" and that many of its inhabitants feel apologetic as a result.
"Canberra is not the same thing as our federal government," she told the National Press Club this afternoon.
Ms Archer observed that every time there is good federal political news, the media use the term "federal government". When it is bad news, they use "Canberra".
This practice results in "nonsense and non sequiturs," she said, noting that nobody ever says "London declared war on the Falkland Islands."
Ms Archer, who has also lived in cities like London and New York, said that a number of journalists and even some admired elder statesmen knock Canberra, but that there is more than one model for a city.
"There are people who need Canberra to be Sydney," she said.
"I don't have a problem with Canberra, I enjoy its difference."
Ms Archer said that it was not Canberra's fault that it was maligned – and that other Australians didn't see its many positive attributes – such as its proximity to nature, access to culture, environmental commitment and lack of traffic.
"Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it isn't there," she said.
"That's not the city's fault. That's your shortcoming."
Ms Archer said that despite some people's wishes, Canberra was not going to move locations."How about looking at what it does have, rather than what it doesn't have?" she asked.
Ms Archer said that many Australians who are critical of Canberra – and see it as a city of roundabouts, freezing weather and "bloody pollies" – had never been to the city.
"It's your capital and you need get to know it better," she told Australians, imploring them to visit."You could update your opinion. Save yourself the embarrassment of displaying constant ignorance about your own capital city."
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