Allan Takes Aim Blog

The Two Canberras

Posted on: 27 July 2011


First published The Chronicle Canberra Tuesday 26 July 2011

My home bookshelf is filled with a range of books many of them non academic in content. But some people in Canberra fill their bookshelves with ‘classics,’ hoping that visitors will think them people of learning. Unfortunately I’ve seen these people filled with embarrassment when, on being asked a question about a book, it becomes clear that they hadn’t read it.

Because TWO CANBERRAS is a book of opinions and because it addresses issues in Canberra about which I have expressed strong opinions it is a book I will read again and again, first because it is eminently readable and second because Professor Jenny Stewart, the author, presents her opinions with great lucidity. That being the case, I cannot imagine anyone not being able to understand it.

The TWO CANBERRAS is a book that will appeal to people with a real, not confected, interest in Canberra’s architecture and community. I think too, that Professor Stewart’s opinion that Canberra is two cities not only indicates her involvement in the city’s life, but that it is likely to attract contrary opinions.

That The Canberra Times, The Australian, Online Opinion, Public Sector Informant and the ABC have published and broadcast Professor Stewart’s opinions also shows the importance of what she has to say. Adding to its importance are her comments on national issues and perhaps more important to some people, the state of Australian Cricket. 

The book has eight sections: Beyond growth; On the knowledge; Unplanning the national capital; Governing the city state; The national interest; Meaning well; Preoccupations; and Public Service with articles on population, planning, public education, training, housing, transport, governance, pets, drugs, alcohol regulation, issues that constantly invoke a community’s praise or condemnation. Depending on their personal likes or dislikes it is a book that people will either praise or damn.

I do not agree with all of Professor Stewart’s opinions and nor do I think she expects everyone else will either. Nonetheless I feel sure she hopes that, whether or not readers agree or disagree, the TWO CANBERRAS will set people thinking about how the Canberra community could work better.

That said, I am of the view also, that if our local parliamentarians are really serious about Canberra’s future, not only should they read this book they should be proposing that it become part of the curriculum in Canberra’s public and private high schools and colleges. Who better to read and discuss the issues the book contains than those from whom will come people who will form Canberra’s future governments. 

As an example, take the first article “Resilience.” In this article Professor Stewart gives her opinion on the various interpretations of the word. Not only is the piece worth reading for her opinions it also sets the stage for her opinion on many other issues about which, I have no doubt, readers will either agree or disagree. Two Canberras indeed.                  

Another intriguing article is ‘Unknown Knowns.’ Had former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ever read this article I doubt he would have made the statement in Feb 2002 that gave him fame and made him look foolish: “We know there are known knowns: there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns: that is to say we know there are things we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” Let me add that you won’t be left not knowing what Professor Stewart thinks when you’ve finished reading her ‘Unknown Knowns’ article.

But no opinion book about one or two Canberras would be complete without comments about planning, an issue Professor Stewart opines on in her article ‘Unplanning the national capital.” She also opines on some of its more memorable political fgures such as former Chief Ministers Kate Carnell and Jon Stanhope and perhaps the less than memorable John Hargreaves.  

Professor Stewart’s common sense book is non ideological. However after reading it, and I hope many people do, they may come to form the opinion that Canberra’s current model of government is not one that best suits the Capital.

The TWO CANBERRAS available at the Paper Chain bookshop, Manuka, and Co-op Bookshops: Price $25 (incl. GST) 

The Chronicle for Canberra’s best Community news, published every Tuesday

Advertisements

15 Responses to "The Two Canberras"

Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how could we communicate?

Send me an e-mail

Is this a custom word press theme? I would like to have a similar one for my blog…

What youre saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I also love the images you put in here. They fit so well with what youre trying to say. Im sure youll reach so many people with what youve got to say.

Simply, admirable what you have done here. It is pleasing to look you express from the heart and your clarity on this significant content can be easily looked. Remarkable post and will look forward to your future update.

Hi I appreciate your site very much. Will remember. Thanks for posting. ;-D

This actually answered my downside, thanks!

uXH98w Author, keep doing in the same way!!!

It’s a sensible blog internet site. I mean it. You have acquired a total lot understanding about this issue, and for that cause a lot enthusiasm. In addition you know how to make folks rally powering it, of program from the reviews.

bookmarked!!, I love your site!

Some truly interesting information, well written and broadly user genial .

I’m so grateful for this post and thanks such a great deal for sharing it with us.

Exactly what I was looking for, appreciate it for putting up.

Very interesting topic , appreciate it for posting .

My husband and i have been quite joyful when Raymond managed to do his reports from the precious recommendations he discovered from your web pages. It’s not at all simplistic just to continually be giving out tactics that a number of people may have been trying to sell. So we acknowledge we’ve got you to appreciate for this. The explanations you made, the simple website navigation, the friendships you can give support to engender – it’s got many incredible, and it’s really letting our son in addition to us imagine that that subject matter is exciting, which is wonderfully vital. Thank you for everything!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


  • None
  • chilecomex.com: This site was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something that helped me. Thanks a lot!
  • sua tarefa: I blog often and I truly thank you for your content. This article has really peaked my interest. I will bookmark your blog and keep checking for new
  • ZAP Stun Gun: I love it when people come together and share views. Great site, continue the good work!
%d bloggers like this: