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Live. At the National Press Club

today, the creative director

for next year's Centenary of Canberra celebrations, Robyn

Archer. Ms Archer is a singer,

writer and passionate arts

advocate and been awarded

honorary doctorates from three

Australian universities.

Speaking about celebrating the

nation's capital, Robyn Archer

at the National Press Club.

(Bell rings) Welcome to the

National Press Club for today's

National Australia Bank

address. Our guest today is

undoubtedly one of the most

outstanding figures in the

world of the arts in Australia,

a doyenne of the arts. As

you've just heard a performer,

a writer, a public advocate for

the arts and, of course, a very

experienced and successful

artistic director. Among her

credits in that latter role

she's directed the Adelaide

Festival of the Arts, the

Melbourne Festival, Tasmania's

10 Days on the Island Festival

which she created and the

National Festival of Australian

Theatre all of which she has

directed on more than one

occasion. The Light in Winter,

which she created for

Melbourne's Federation Square.

She's involved with the

forthcoming Anzac centenary and

she's creative director of next

year's Centenary of Canberra so

she's a very busy laidy. It's

in that latter role that she's

here today to talk to us about

what's going to happen next

year in the national capital,

making this city look the great

city that it is. Please

APPLAUSE welcome, Robyn Archer.

Thanks very much. Sir

William Deane, distinguished

guests, colleagues, ladies and

gentlemen. I begin by

acknowledging the traditional

custodians of the land we meet

on today and pay my respects to

the elders past and present and

to the many first peoples who

came to this place to hunt,

gather and trade. The high

country was always great deal

valued. How much has changed

in 200 years, how much in 100

years? Let me give you a few

examples from the past 12

months of media headlines,

largely the work of subeditors

to indicate the level of

respect for this place now.

Goons, ferals and me owing

senators, just another day in

Canberra. Canberra delays

pokies technology, Canberra

treating public like mugs,

conned dention, thy name is

Canberra. Proud Timorese are

fed up with Canberra's

bullying. Canberra now a major

irritant, exorcising the forces

of evil in Canberra. Canberra

settles after destroying

refugee boat. Why would we be

puzzled for one second that

some Australians find it so

easy to bash their national

capital, if Canberra is so

often portrayed as such a

haftful entity, described

relentlessly as an enemy of the

people. Ladies and gentlemen,

I am here certainly as the creative director of the

Centenary of Canberra, but also

as a proud South Australian who

also happens to have lived for

long periods in Sydney and Melbourne and worked for substantial periods in

Tasmania, Perth and Darwin. To

plead with those who work in

the media to give 360,000

Australians a break from now

until the end of 2013 and maybe

by then it will have taken on.

It's a very simple plea - when

you mean the Federal

Government, say explicitly the

Federal Government or the

Australian Government. When

you mean Canberra, say

Canberra, because they are two

different entities. While the new national capital's

beginnings predestined this

place to serve as the host to

Federal Government while the

city is proud to continue to do

so, and the frisson of Federal

politics here remains

fascinating, Canberra is not

the same thing as the Federal

Government. I appreciate full

well that our print, audio,

television and digital media

are essential conduits of

information, I respect the

profession of journalism and I

thank those, including the ABC,

SBS and the 'Canberra Times'

for the partnerships they have

offered in support and content

production for the Centenary of

Canberra next year. These

notwithstanding, we should not productive partnerships,

ignore the fact that each time

the name of the national

capital is used in a perogative

context as a substitute to mean

the Federal Government it

effectively abuses 360,000

Australians in a way that would

never happen to the citizens of

any other Australian town or

city. It causes genuine pain

and shame to the extent that

many Canberrans themselves have

become from time to time

apologetic about the place they

call home. Further than the

basics, we did a little casual

research and found out that by

and large when it's good news,

the media tend to say the Federal Government, as in " the

Federal Government today

pledged major aid and

assistance for earthquake and

tsunami relief in eastern

Japan" and when it's bad news,

they say Canberra. Victorian

Government lashes out at

Canberra's rules. The sub

didn't say Melbourne lashes out

- funny that. Melbourne is

proud to be close to alpine

regions, but Canberra is not

alpine and has no rules about

alpine regions, which are in

NSW and Victoria, so a lot of

this sin nix actually results

in nonsense. Just this morning

on ABC News 24 hanging onto

power in Canberra. Really?

They're in Canberra, but isn't

that actually hanging onto

Federal power and that power in

Canberra is something to do

with the ACT Government? I know

never say London declared war

on the Falklands island and I

had thought that Americans

didn't substitute Washington

for the US Government either.

Alas just recently towards the

end of an otherwise utterly inspiring State of the Union

address by President Obama, he

said with reference to Congress

something like "The problem is

not with America, the problem

is with Washington". I thought

"I wonder how the people of

Washington feel about that?"

In addition, a number of

journalists and even some

much-admired elder statesmen

also feel they have permission

to knock the national capital.

These are frequently people who

for inexplicable reason need

Canberra to be Sydney.

Canberra is an angry, dour and

bad-mannered place, a dreerly

conformist totem pole of petty

competition. You only have to

leave the city for a few days

and venture to Sydney,

Melbourne or Brisbane and the

social climate changes

dramatically. This writer for

'The Spectator' in 2010 is tagged with the information

that he has worked in Canberra

for 20 years, but chooses to

live in Queanbeyan. Mate, if

you don't like it, go somewhere

else to work, it's not that

hard! And you might cure that

painful case of spleen you

appear to have retained for two

decades. But any magazine

would want to print soured

opinion of this time without

giving a Canberra devotee an

equal chance. What happened to

diversity and difference? I

hear other writers who should

know better praising the idea

of the city as if there is only

one kind of high-density sexy

city model - that's simply not

the case. Many critics sustain

infantile prattle on

roundabouts. Oh I see, no-one

ever in the history of visiting

Sydney ever wound up on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and found

themselves lost in the wiles of

North Shore middle-class

suburbia. Just yesterday I saw

a recent peace headlined the

capital cultural fringe. What

about that be exactly when the

National Gallery of Australia

posts the highest attendance

records ever for any Australian

exhibition? When more people

statistically per capita attend

arts and cultural events than

in any other city. Even in

jest - and that article was in

jest - it's just not true.

There is no cultural cringe

here. The 'Spectator' again

only too willing to publish

opinion as if it is the truth about Australia's national

capital. Canberra is an anonymous backwater where

people have no place. Mate!

Did you ever get out of your

car? Did you ever once think

that this is a very young city?

It's changing before our eyes. There are increasing numbers of

people and in terms of human

activity i can't ever find one

night to just flop in front of

the TV, because there's so much

on here. If I accept an

invitation to two things on one

night I miss out on four and

that's every night of the week.

I can't keep up with the number

of exhibitions, performances,

intriguing lectures and addresses here in Canberra.

Just because you don't see it,

doesn't mean it isn't there.

That's not the city's fault.

It's your short coming in not

being curious enough, not

adventurous enough. I lived

for more than a decade in

London. I was resident in Smee

for 30 years, lived in

Melbourne for four years and

have spent extended periods in

New York, Paris, Tokyo, Mexico

City. I love big cities. I

enjoy the in your face

experience of the mega lopolis

and don't have a problem with

Canberra. I enjoy its

difference, I love its unique

combination of village and

vista, bicycling from one cool

village to another and being

struck along the journey with

glimpses of the monumental

vistas. Love being so close to

trees, water, yet never more

than 10 minutes from the most intense scientific and

political endeavour. I know

many who are not Canberrans

feel the same. The ABC's Kerry

O'Brien and Mark Scott, the

author Frank Moorehouse,

astronomer Fred Watson, three

leading members of the Thorpe

team who built Parliament House

and chose to stay here more

than 25 years ago and are

living and working here - there

are as many fans as detractors,

it's just that the latter

appear to have the need

constantly to whinge and be

critical perhaps in the futile

hope that perhaps our capital

will up sticks and go somewhere

else. Guys, it's not going to

happen. Whether you think there should have been a

different place or a different

design, it's here, it's been

here for almost 100 years. By

all means join Canberrans in

thinking positively about the

changes this city will need in

the 21st century. They would

all for instance rejoice in a

high-speed rail network linking

Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney

with the capital. What a boon

for western Sydney neighbours

with whom we now share a footy

team who looked pretty good in

their first AFL match, with a

high-speed connector

advantaging them, how people

would then suddenly see what an

explicitly beautiful place this

is to live and quicker to get

to work from clean, green

Canberra than to cross the City of Sydney. How about getting

that pledge Mattick thing off

your chest and starting to

enjoy what your capital has to

offer? How about looking at

what it does have rather than

what it doesn't have? What it

is, rather than what it is not?

You see, I have a couple of

thoughts around this permission

to knock stuff. For a start,

we should be clear that despite

appearances, and despite these

relentless portrayls, albeit I

will grant sometimes simply

thoughtlessly and not always

maliciously, our early research

showed very clearly that a

majority of Australians believe

that the Centenary of Canberra

is a celebration to be shared

by all Australians. A majority

recognise the undenial fact

that all Australians have a

stake in their national

capital, their seat of Federal

Government, the repository of

national treasures. Yes, there

are a handful of dedicated

negativists and we should feel

sorry for anyone who has the

capacity to nurture Sri triol

close to their bosom for so

long. The majority who bag

Canberra have never been here,

so negative opinions are formed

largely what they read and the disaftion they have from time to time by Federal Government

policy. The perfectly fine and

capable mine of the average

Australian is set against its

own capital through silly

diatribe about roundabouts and

cold climate and the constant

reinforcement that it is Canberra which must be blamed

for any party, politician or

policy they do not like. Me?

Checking into any Australian

airport "Morning Ms Archer,

where are you off to today?"

Canberra. Bloody pollies,

public overseas people. I no

longer cop this. When were you

last there? Terrific new

airport, greenest capital in

the country. Any idea how many

Nobel Prize winning scientists

have produced. Per capita,

highest percentage of cyclists

and people participating in

sport. Highest ratest

university in the country.

Highest number of people who

attend cultural events, Great

collections of Australian

Indigenous art in the world.

Yep, hour and a half from the

coast, hour and a half from the

snow, exquisite seasons,

Autumn, spring. If it's cold,

gee they do cold well. Yep,

it's a pretty cool city, but

actually that's not really the

point. You see, it's your

capital and you need to get to

know it better. Oh and by the

way, did you know that Jackie

Chan's bedroom is still there,

and James Herd went to school

there and Lauren Jackson lives

there. You could come in 2013

for the Centenary of Canberra,

you could update your opinion,

save yourself the embarrassment

of displaying constant

ignorance about your capital

city. You could remix your

attitude towards Canberra,

which I swear is going to do

surprisingly beautiful things

in 2013. So first of all, it's

just about ignorance.

Secondly, it's a generational

thing. For babyboomers and

before there still remains what

appears to be a tangible link

to history. This generation

and older is still wondering

whether there could have been a

better choice of site or

designer. Unlike other cities,

which just grew and spread and

over time - remember that -

developed a dense inner city

and sprawling suburbia, this

city was chosen. So somehow in

the minds of our elders, it is

still legitimate to continue to

question the choice of site and

design. But for the 160,000

and esculating Year 6 kids,

some of whom are with us today,

who come to their capital every

year through the Pacer program

and for newcomers to Australia,

this is always where it has

been. It is appropriately

monumental for a national

capital. The anti-Canberra

thing is rapidly becoming

something from the past. It's

old-fashioned and those who

continue the senseless Canberra

bash already appear to be

outnumbered and outdated. But

the vital challenges of the media must take responsibility

for their often accidental, but

no less damaging role in

fostering the mythology

something is wrong with our

national capital. This

inequity has to stop. Why, do

you ask? When the idea of a new

capital started to emerge, even

before the formal act of

federation, a passionate public

dialogue surrounded that idea.

It was never a mere stoush

between Melbourne and Sydney

and the quality of commitment

and optimism of that period is

still refreshing and heartening

to revisit today. I am

endebted for my Canberra

education to Dr David Heten

who's on our team. I'll quote

from his book. "Here are some

of the voices of the time,

heard again through Dave's

painstaking research. Senator

Arthur Ray in 1910. "I contend

that we should make a

magnificent offer so as to

attract the best talent,

because no country in the world

can always be planning a new

capital. Such an opportunity

will probably never arise again

and we should endeavour to

obtain the most update plan for

a capital which the mind of man

is capable of evolving. It

should be a city which will be

an object of pride and I might

almost say of veneration to future generations of

Australians. An international

design step was a bold step for

1911. Walter burly Griffin

wrote to the then Minister of

Home Affairs. "I entered this

Australian event to be my first

and last competition solely

because I have for many years

admired the bold, radical steps

in politics and economics which

your country has dared to take

and which for a long time set

ideals for Europe and America

ahead of their possibility of

achievement. " In late 1913,

Griffin published the following

in the magazine 'Building'.

"Australia of most democratic

tendencies and a bold radical

government may well be expected

to look upon her great future

and with it her Federal capital

with characteristic big vision.

Australia has, in fact, so well

learned some of the lessons

taught through modern

civilisation as seen in broad

perspective from her isolated

vantage point, that we may be

justified in believing that she

will fully express the

possibilities for individual

freedom, comfort and

convenience for public spirit,

wealth and splendour of the

great democratic city ideal for

which her capital offers the

best opportunity so far. "

It's worth pointing out these

spirited champions of democracy

ignored the plight of disenfranchised Indigenous Australians who were at this

time a subclass at best. But I

would argue that part of the

story of the growth of our

nation and the evolution of our

democracy is about attempts,

more to come, to redress that

in justice and that a lot of

that has happened in Canberra,

from suffrage to the Mabo case, the establishment of the tent embassy outside Old Parliament

House. The apology in new

Parliament House and the

current quest for inclusion in

the Constitution. This aside -

and it's a big aside - many

interpreted the choice of the

Griffins as winners of the competition to design

Australia's new capital as

symbolic of Australia's youth, sense of adventure and

leadership. The editor of

'Building' magazine George

Taylor wrote "The more I study

this matter, the more I'm

convinced that Australia did

something more than secure a

great design for her capital

city. She proved her motto of

advance by publicly recognising

an architect who is an absolute

rebel against dogmatic ideas,

methods and manners. " March

12 is now acknowledged as

Canberra Day, the anniversary

of this city's naming and

around this week in 2013, we

will invite Canberrans and

visitors alike to participate

in a huge lakeside event as

part of the year-long

celebrations. On this day in

1913, Prime Minister Andrew

Fischer waxed eloquent. "Here

on this spot in the near

future, and I hope the distant

future too, the best thoughts

of Australia will be given

expression to both in

legislative and administrative

acts. I hope this city will be

the seat of learning as well as

of politics and it will also be

the home of art. I trust that

in 2013 with all our hard work

and planning and with such

spirited participation as we

are starting to see in the

Canberra communities, we will

demonstrate that Fischer's

hopes were not in vain. While

it was Lady Denman who declared

the name of the capital would

be Canberra, it was her husband the Governor-General himself

who in Dave Heedon's words

concluded his remarks with a challenge to present and future

Australian generations as

eloquent now as it was stirring

to those present. The city

that is to be should have a splendid destiny before it, but

the making of that destiny lies

in your hands, the hands of

your children and those who

come after them. Remember the

traditions of this city will be

the traditions of Australia.

Let us hope they will be

traditions of peace, of honour

and of prosperity. But here

will be reflected all that is

finest and noblest in the

national life of the country.

That here a city may rise where those responsible for the

government of this country and

the future may seek and find

inspiration in its noble

buildings, broad avenues,

shaded parks and sheltered

gardens. A city bearing

perhaps some resemblance to the

city beautiful of our dreams.

In the face of this idealism,

this poetic hope for our future, the kind of language

often used about our capital

now is actually a national

disgrace. What happened to

respect for the capital between

now and then? Now... and

forgive me, but it is partly to

do with the way the word

Canberra is used as a

substitute for the Federal

Government, some Australians

feel they have to say they hate Canberra, and it's usually because of particular

politicians or policies or

parties. Plainly speaking,

that's arse up. Any capital of

any country should somehow

symbolise and enshrine all that

country aspires to, its noblest

values and highest ideals.

Particular politicians,

policies and parties should be

judged on how well or how ill

they uphold those values

enshrined in the national

capital and not the other way

around. Sir John Shulman said

something similar in 1909.

"Such a chance as we now have

of showing the world what we

can do has rarely been vouched

safe to a young nation. My aim

is to direct public attention

to our unequal opportunity and

arose a patriotic interest in

the future of our Commonwealth.

No people can live without

ideals and these ideals to be

effective, must find expression

in action. It is surely well

that we should enshrine all

that we hold dear in the

preservation of our liberties

and our right in a fitting

setting. We may find fault

with our representatives as

individuals and become irate at the inefficiencies of

departments" ... this is 1909 "

but after all is said and done

they represent to us as free a

system as government as the

world has ever seen. Let us

try by all means to make it

better and the way to do so in

connection with the Federal

city is to treat it as a matter

of grave national concern. If

we show that we regard our

system of government as worthy

of admiration and respect, its

members will try to live up to

that reputation. Why do we

need that symbolism, especially

now? I think it's because we're

in many ways a country of

contradictions. Many people

who have come here as

immigrants or refugees knew

Australians, cherished the

democratic system of which they

are now part. They also tend

to relish Canberra's symbolism.

We need powerful symbols and

our capital is perfectly placed

one of them. King O'Malley

said "All subsequent Australian

political history will

concentrate its searchlight on

this place where with Congress

gait, a magnetic attraction to

eyes of countless generations

still unborn and forever the

visible evidence of Australia's

national identity. " In 2013,

we celebrate this capital, we

reflect both on its bold

genesis, subsequent pioneering

days and the courage of those

who build this city. We bust

the silly myths that prevail

and we reveal what the city

really is today. We look to

the future of both the actual

city and its much-needed symbolic role. We are doing

this through a vast array of

programs, which we, myself and

the team of the Centenary unit

have generated, but programs

also arising from local and

national cultural, scientific ,

sporting, environmental and

educational institutions and

organisations and also

widespread initiatives from the

Canberra communities and then programs which stretch out to

the nation and also invite the

nation in. I invite you all to

go to our website Canberra and look at what

we're doing and the programs

you can all participate in

right now. The Canberra

diaspora, et cetera. You'll

find the things we announced at

our preview launch a couple of

weeks ago, including major

sporting events, a celebration

of the history of discovery and

innovation at places like Quest

icon, some of the 20

commissions we have invited,

new works being made here in

Canberra and other places,

including the world premiere of

a new work by the Australian

Ballet to celebrate the

democratic architecture of new

Parliament House and a range of

other Indigenous cultural

programs. I believe that it

will be very odd indeed if

Australians start to see for

the first time in many years

just what a complex and

progressive 21st century this

is in and of itself, local,

regional, national,

international, and come to

understand better the capacity

of this place to symbolise the

things we stand for, the things

we a spire to, while the media

continue to use the language of

disease, murder, war and

betrayal in connection with

this city. It needs to stop.

I believe there's an even more

serious side to this problem.

Every time you say Canberra

instead of the Federal

Government, you release the

Australian people from their

political responsibility.

Somehow, some other place

called Canberra is responsible

for many travesties. I wonder

what people would change in

their attitudes? I wonder if

they would change if the

headlines in read "The

people of Australia issued

backpacker death warrants" ,

because in a sense the people of Australia elect their

politicians to run the country

on their behalf. It is, in

fact, a much more accurate

description to substitute " the

people of Australia" for the

Federal Government, than to

substitute 'Canberra' for the

Federal Government, the latter

often making no sense at all.

Don't we think that the people

of Australia would be deeply

offended at the suggestion that

they need evil exorcised or

that they themselves pushed

people to the boats ? And if

they started to think that they

were responsible for that - which in some sense they are

because of the way they voted -

then could we assume that the

people of Australia might start

thinking about their role in a democracy, considering

carefully and in the greatest

detail they can access the

policies which any party puts

forward rather than voting according to the often

inflammatory and biassed

opinions of certain shock jocks

and other prominent

commentators. Bringing

responsibility back to the

citizens, almost 23 million of

them, where it must lie in any authentic democracy instead of

weirdly hiving it off to the

360,000 people who make the

national capital run, I think

would be a good thing for this

country. As Greg Sheridan

wrote in the Weekend

Australian, it is a commonplace

that democracy faces

existential crisis. More

millions of Americans voted for

American Idol than in their

election. I can vote for what

I like and my vote counts. The Australian Ballet through its

major sponsor lets audiences

vote by phone for their

favourite dancer on the night.

Many people vote in these ways

and somehow trust their vote

counts in this realm, but do

not trust the one vote that

actually makes them responsible

for what goes on in their State and their country and that is

their political vote. I

repeat, this is not the same

for all Australians. Those who

have sought refuge here

intensely value their right to

vote in Australia, as in the uprisings to overthrow

long-seated dictators in north

American States being all about

the right to vote in democratic

elections, they are passionate

about participatory democracy.

But there are other Australians who are increasingly cynical or

take our system of government

for granted and some

Australians are unjustifiably

cynical about their capital,

but can we really blame the

people of Australia for this?

About 10 days ago there was a

block of text in larger font

sitting in the middle of an

article entitled following the

mining tax leader. It had a picture of the mining leader

and the text read "I blame

Canberra, as that's where the

disease started. " These

comments highlighted by a

subeditor who could have chosen

not to highlight that

particular comment go beyond

insulting. Many of them are in

this vein. They express

opinion to policy, opposition

to policy in a way that

unfairly produces towards the

notion of Canberra reactions of

disgust, revulsion, horror,

violence and even sat Yannicke

fear. Now I mark my words. I

care about language and the way

we express ourselves, so I hold

back from using that kind of

language about things that concern me, but that shouldn't

be mistaken for any lack of

passion on the subject and it's

not just semantics. I am an ambassador for the National

Year of Reading. I believe in

the power and symbolism of

words. When people arguing

that discussing Republicanism

for instance is a waste of

time, because we are already

independent, I disagree. Some

say any change would only be

symbolic - that's the point.

It's about the symbolism.

Typically to frame this as some personal dislike of the British Royal Family it's just a

tactic, a distraction. I

admire Her Majesty Queen

Elizabeth II. I admire Quentin Bryce our Governor-General -

that doesn't mean I have to

abandon my desires for my

country to have strong symbols

of pride and independence and

owned by us. I long for the

time when we as a nation can

let go of the endless questing

for national identity, because

by then it would be

self-evident we're a strong and independent nation. Clearly we

are no longer a colony, but the

symbols of colonisation

continue to hold us back and

these symbols have particular resonance for Indigenous

Australia and I feel the same

about the national capital.

The language that represents

distaste, revulsion and taste

actively holds back respect for

participatory democracy, and

deprives the Australian people

of the confidence they need to

see Canberra as a 21st century

city most apt to symbolise the

best we wish for. This city

was born through passionate

public discourse and a bold

step to advertise an

international design

competition. That boldness has

been picked up time and again

in the last 99 years and

ensured Canberra as a cradle

for the development of

democracy, education, all

manner of scientific

achievement and remarkable

cultural institutions, which

hold the clues about and the

evidence of this country's

history. Every now and then

its power as a symbol is

evident. Many citizens are

moved by a visit to the war

memorial, many are in awe

through the sporting

achievements obtained through

training at the Institute of

sport. Many are amazed when

they explore for the first time

the collections of the National

Film and Sound Archive, Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery of Australia. People gathered by the thousands in public spaces

around the nation to hear the

apology. The right thing to

say in the right place with the

right audience right there.

And there's one final thing, no

matter how much some

superficial response may appear

indifferent or negative, the

truth is that when any

Australian is asked to make the pilgrimage to the national

capital to offer their opinion

in some forum, to join a

meeting in support or in

protest, there is a sense of

entitlement and ownership. A

sense that my opinion counts

and my participation in

democracy is important. Behind

the knee-jerk tendency to diss

the capital there is an army of

closet respecters. They feel a

pride they're almost too shy to

admit, that their voice counts

and especially when it's heard

in the capital. Next year in

Canberra will be quite

remarkable. The Centenary of

Canberra offers Canberrans a

huge opportunity to reexamine

the place where they live and

work. Many have been here a

long time. It is a myth that

this place is only a place of

constantly shifting politicians

and public servants. Yes, it

is a transitory place and we've

picked on that with our project

called the Canberra diaspora.

Go on-line, there are terrific

stories and we invite you all

to contribute yours. We acknowledge an Indigenous

presence from way back, a

pastoral presence in a rich

food-producing area. The

families who were here from the

start and built a new city in

the bush. The workers who

moved from the Snowies and

planted market gardens,

surveyors, the monument

constructors and that legion of

educators, scientists, defence

personnel, artists, diplomats

et cetera, but we are also engaging with all Australians,

all of whom have a vested

interest in this place. There

are programs that take Canberra

to the nation and those in

which the nation comes to us.

We have involvement not only

with all the capital cities,

but with the Pilbara, the

Northern Territory, Far North

Queensland, the length and breadth of the Murray-Darling Basin, which takes in five

States and has Canberra as the

largest city in that system,

and regional Tasmania. This is

as it should be and I ask all

of you to keep an eye out for

our launches around the country

in September. In the meantime,

there are multiple entry points

for everyone and the best way

to access these is to go to the

website or Facebook and get involved. It will be a

splendid year for all of us to

revisit, reimagine and remix our take on the national

capital and as we look forward

not only to the 100th an verse

of Canberra, but also

Goulburn's 150th, Queanbeyan's

175th, the 25th anniversary of

new Parliament House and

Questicon, the centenary of the

Royal Australian Navy and the

anniversary of the Press Club,

there is every opportunity to

look at Canberra through the

touring exhibitions, sporting

events, performance and debate

that the centenary celebrations

provide. No social demographic

is overlooked, no area of

endeavour is ne demrekted. By

the end of 2013 there will be

no excuse for shameless

ignorance about Canberra our

national capital and in the

interests of the system of our

democracy, the cultivation of

an intelligent and responsible

electorate, I restate my plea.

I would never suggest it's the

only or even the key factor in

constructing resilience for our

system of government, but I

think nurturing respect for our

capital and building pride in

it will help. People won't

increase their pride because

any one individual is

passionate about it. People

have to feel it and have evidence there's something to

be proud of. We will offer

that evidence in 2013, you

won't have to take my word for

it. We will demonstrate throughout that year that this

is a capital of noble origins

and dynamic present. A place

which already symbolises a huge

spectrum of what Australians

aspire to and symbols can be

very powerful things. They can

turn countries around, so when

you mean the Federal

Government, say the Federal

Government. If you mean

Canberra, say Canberra and

believe me, there will be

plenty to say about Canberra in 2013. Thank you. APPLAUSE

Thank you. APPLAUSE ?

Well that's - thank you very

much, that's a rousing response

and I guess I can say there's

not a person in this room who

wasn't thankful for your

rousing rebuttal of the sties

critics of whom there are quite

a few. Do you sense that there

is - that you may be picking up

on a trend here, that there is

a change under way anyway?

Regardless of your comments

about the media and how we

routinely refer to Canberra.

When you think of the many

million of people who pour

through this city everyier year

and visit our cultural

institutions, is there not

perhaps a changing perception

that is under way anyway out

there? I agree with you. When I

came here three years ago I

wasn't aware of the centenary

of Canberra and I was pitching

a new idea for a new festival.

I was pitching a new idea. I

found out about the centenary

and I was so seen about the

place because I could feel

within the city it had started

to change anyway. There were

more people. It did have more

of the little groovy bits that

everybody wants in any city and

I just thought there was a

culture about to happen here.

Indeed, I think there's

incredibly favourable response

to the place at the moment and

as I said in the speech, I

think it's generational. A lot

more speech just accept that

it's here and it is and they

expect it to be very different

from other cities. They want

these monumental bits but it's

handy to know that there are

great little dives where you

might think that you're in

Melbourne or Sydney and that's

just great for day to day life.

It's really changing and I

think perceptions are changing

too. Thanks for a cracker of a

speech. That was fantastic. At

the risk of recommitting some

of these crimes, that you

accuse of us in the media, I

wonder if I could play devil's

advocate and suggest that isn't

there something inherently a

smidge perhaps a little

inherently Australian in the

kind of jeering, the disrespect

for authority at times, those

sorts of things that are part

of how we think of ourselves as

a community and suspect that a

counterveiling force to your

call for positivity and more

embrace of the great things

about the national capital and

its institutions? I agree with

you. There is something - is it

always intentionally tongue in

cheek or is it just a

convenient subeditor's

subscript. It's only about the

subs that you can fit Canberra in better than Federal

Government or the people of

Australia etc.Ic there's

another thing that needs

investigating as well,ic early

on and Dave would be able to

reinforce this for me, I think

early on it was sort of

suspected that because Canberra

was the seat of Federal

Government that it would always

be in the newspapers and I

think there was something about

the naming. It's just that the

kind of language that's used is

quite when you really look at

it and we've dumped a few of

them on you today, when you use

that language for anybody who

hasn't been here, I think there

is that chance that there's a

prevaing perception that

there's something wrong, that's

it's a bit uneasy and some of

the headlines I read are simply

confusing the one about the

alpine rules, I went what? The

Victorian Government lashes out

at Canberra's alpine rules. I

thought it was something to do

with the ACT Government.

Sometimes it's merely confusion

by I would not ever wish to

dampen the larrikinism that

allows to us have a go a little

bit as long as it's not

actually damaging and I think

satire is a really hard one

when it doesn't matter satire

is great and we love it, when

it gets a bit misinterpreted it

can be detracting and

dangerous. I could hug you but

that would be weird. Perhaps

not in my case! Respect, lady,

respect! I'm interested in I

suppose the element of your

speech in which at one level

you're obviously the ambassador

for Canberra and defending the

industry and thank god for you,

but you're also I think unless

I've misinterpreted your

arguments having the courage to

stand up for idealism in

politics at this point in time

which makes you rather unique.

Why do you think that people

are at the moment apparently so

disconnected from politic and

political parties that they

come up with remarkable

observations in polls like that

the PM's demon stabibly less

intent than she was 12 months

ago. I don't really know. I

think it's a long conversation

over some good South Australian

red with David at some point

about trying to pinpoint when

things started to slip about

the capital and I suspect

there's something a little bit

later than that that's about

suspicious, about democracy and

I don't know just whether it is

our system that

representational democracy kind

of doesn't work anymore. I'm

sure we've all had questions

about the thoughts that

possibly democracy was very

good in a Greek city state when many of the people including

women and slaves were

completely disenfranchised and

if you could just have the

property owners it worked quite

well and only a small number of them but in fact as the world

grows bigger and cities grow

bigger and countries grow

bigger does it actually work

anymore? I don't know where the

cynicism comes from but it is

kind of distressing to feel

that people are looking more at

personalities and I guess this

is one of the great and

divisive unfortunately in the

Republican argument, one of the

get bits that if we went to a

Presidential style election for

a Republic would politics be

become even more personality

driven than it is now but in a

sense I find it difficult to

see people just expressing

instability opinions about

leaders whoever they are and

not actually getting down to

the business of demanding policies, demanding

understanding policy, demanding

all the information you can get

in order to vote, because there

is a sort of distancing between

what I do at the ballot box and

then what happens in my country

and it's those - again I think

to some. Tent maybe some of the students that come through and

go to the museum of Australian

democracy and have a look and

find out how the system works,

the introduction of civic and

citizenship into the school

curriculum may lead to a better

formed electorate, and as I

said for new comers, you hear

the kids that I work with in

Melbourne in the light in

winter, the Ethiopians, they

can't wait to be old enough to

vote in Australia, they really

prize that thing, so where the

rest of the disaffection goes I

have no idea but indeed I would

like to see everybody lift

their game a little bit in that sense. I'm going to continue a theme, thank you, thank you so

much. I don't think I've ever

heard anyone defend Canberra

with such passion and such

force so thank you and I think

I can say on behalf certainly

of all our viewers and

Canberrians that many of v of

us would light to see a cold

again statue of you put up and

hopefully that might happen at

the end of next year. The issue

that you've raised today is one

that's very close to my heart,

it's a hobby horse of mine.

When I moved to Canberra ten

years ago via Sydney, Adelaide

and Melbourne I was surprised

at how Canberrians just let

this go by and it's something

I've raised in my own news room

many times. It is arse up as

you put it that we refer to all

the bad things happening in

politics as Canberra doing it.

When I've argued this in my own

media organisation and others,

that we should not do it, it's

been put back to me "look,

that's the way we refer to

Washington, this is the way

it's always been." How do you

see we can really stop it if

that's so deeply embedded in

media culture? I have

absolutely no idea and indeed a

number of the editors that have

spoken to me say that you're

wasting your time. Today was

completely purposeless

actually. I just wasted an hour

of my life to tell the truth!

Maybe there are ways - I had

always understood with the ABC

that there was a proformula

that you didn't use Canberra as a substitute but then recently

I've been hearing it not from

you Virginia but... No, we do,

all the time? So it is used and

I don't know. I guess it's got to come from everybody

agreeing, it's a democracy

after all, everybody agreeing

that maybe we'll give it a shot

for a year and a half and see

how we go and but I don't know,

got some editors sitting here.

We could ask, how about it. I

mike one point n terms of this

issue, it's nothing knew to

people in this room but there

may be a lot of viewers who

have not heard this point put

before. You've delivered that

message. Viewers, write in.

Bring it on. I put it to you

that possibly one of the

explanations for that when we

see it - see reports about

what's come out of Washington

it's often referred to as the

White House or Downing Street

has done this or that in

theication of the British Government. We can't really

case the Lodge in the case of

Canberra because the Lodge is

not a working seat of

Government like those two

residents are, so perhaps

that's one of the reasons. I'm

pleading that anyway as a

tabloid journalist and just

hoping I get away with it! In

terms of the research that you

might be doing about Canberra

and the way it's perceived, is

it one of the problems that you

see coming up that people who

come to Canberra don't really

see it as having any sort of

history, that it doesn't

because we're only coming up to

the centenary now, is it the case that you come here and

everything's roughly the same

sort of age and it just doesn't

have the long run institutional

history or the architectural

history that makes it seem

solid and establish

established? The answer so that

is very interesting. The whole

thing about Canberra is that

things are not seen and this

actually goes right back to the

Griffins, so the people who

entered the competition got

this wonderful landscape and

the people who advertised the

competition said, "Sit the city

in the landscape." And Griffin

did it absolutely brilliantly

and then when the team was led for new Parliament House

instead of building a White

House or a Westminster, a big

boastful thing, he built a

Parliament House into the

ground which people could walk

over, so I wonder if you could

see it whether people would

think rather differently. I

constantly say to people "I

wonder what would happen if you

put all the embassies all along

NorthBourne Avenue so when you

entered Canberra you'd go

through this Disneyland of

global architecture." The thing

about is it that you don't see

it. It is after all the only

city in the world surely that

has to have signed that say

shops. Because otherwise you

wouldn't know where they were.

I find this completely

charming. It's hidden,

therefore what it requires of

people is a bit of energy and

one of my favourite cities is

Kyoto, I think it's a little

bit like that. Kyoto in the

commercial centre is not

spectacular in the way Tokyo is

and you've got the dig. The

beauty of sit the more you dig

the more you find and I think

that's about Canberra and why

it is always said that the best

thing you can get out of

Canberra is having a guide with

you, of coming here, somebody

that knows the place and will

show you the secretses and will

show you the allies but I find

that a challenge, I don't need

to be spoon fed my cities and I

love it when I do, they're

fantastic cities but I like a

place where - and I like it in

people too, where you think

"mm, that's not all that's

saying and I'd really like to

get many behind." Tate as by of

laziness, a bit of tourism is

now about the in your face

city, the big experience that's

widely advertised and promoted

and not many say come to a

place where in winter you might

not see many people on the

streets but boy within you go

out to the little suburb and

you find that little bar you'll

be completely knocked out. It

just needs a little bit more

energy I think probably from

Canberra itself, from us, to be

able to promote these things

we've got but also a bit more

energy from people to dig and

discover and of course once you

get an inch below the surface

here, I could spend a life time

and never get through what the

cultural institutions can offer

me here. We just have to

explain ourselves a bit better I 2013. Thank you. Thank you.

Coming here to live at the

beginning of 1969 on a standard

trajectory. Australian

National University,

Commonwealth public service,

starting a family, one of the

hardest things to find then was

a third generation Canberran.

One of the easiest things to

find then was the assertion,

the insistence that Canberra

was a city that didn't have a

soul. We thought we'd nailed

it a bit later. 1988,

Canberra, solve government, the

Raiders '91, only to be

thwarted by the wretched

Penrith at the last minute.

Years further on, still that

issue as to whether Canberra

seriously is a city with a

soul. In the centenary year in

2013, what is it that you see

that you and your co-organisers

will have done, which for once

and for all nails the issue of

Canberra the city with a soul?

You're talking KPIs here. I

keep saying a few things.

Everything we're doing about

the centenary is about legacy,

apart from the big festivities

around the birthday weekend

I've tried to ask the question

of everybody that's come to me

that says "I want to do this

project" , I say "Where will

you be in 2014?" We're trying

to strengthen the cultural

landscape. I often do this, I

say if you think Canberra is

like this, flat, boring, full

of public servants, actually

it's this. We want to kind of

reveal all the stuff that's

underneath and I guess in terms

of legacy I see John Mackay is

here and he's got a huge amount

to do with the new arboreum.

It will kick off the centenary

celebrations. It will be at

its best in 100 years' time.

It's so poignant the story that

it's in the space that the

fires burnt out. January is

the 10th anniversary of the devastating bushfires that

happened here in Canberra. Out

of the ashes, like the Phoenix

from the ashes, 100 forests of

100 trees. It's a magnificent

place and it will be at its

best in 100 years, so I think

every time we have projects

like that, I hope that we'll be

able to say to people "This

place is worth something". It

is just as much about - we love

the fact that the politics is

here, it's a frisson that we

love. We love the national

cultural institutions bushes

it's more than that. You can

go and have a good meal, a cup

of coffee. I've instituted a

thing called You Are Here.

Even other artist s told me "There's nothing for young

people to do here". We've been

through the second edition of

You Are Here, 60 events by

Canberra independent artists

and a few Canberra ex artists.

It's here, we have to make it

evident. Instead of being a

big boastful one-month festival

around the birthday, we've

chosen to do the whole year so

we can show people what the

cultural calendar is like and

yes, this is a special year,

but actually this kind of thing

happens every year in the

national capital. So there are

kind of multiple strategies I

hope that will say... and

again, because I come from the

arts there's a feeling that

maybe it's all arts. It's not.

Major sporting events, Australian Championships,

scientific endeavour, I will

want to raise up. Big issues

and ideas, talkfests, et

cetera. It really is

absolutely the lot.

Closed Captions by CSI.