Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Gary Humphries and Waterskiing on Lake Burley Griffin

M and I have to go grocery shopping, and because I'm out of my normal breakfast meal of choice (a mango yoghurt), I had to buy a "breakfast pide" at the coffee shop in the foyer at work. As I was standing there waiting for it to toast I perused the front cover of The Canberra Times. Normally I don't read the newspaper much - I get my news from the ABC (radio or internet, usually).

Anyway, I was skimming over an article about a new proposal to trial "limited water-skiing" on Lake Burley Griffin. I have mixed feelings about this - the trial is apparently going to be training of elite waterskiiers only, so there won't be that many of them and presumably they might be interesting to watch... but if the trial is deemed a success and they open the lake up to more power boats, that wouldn't be so cool.

(I should explain here for those interstate or overseas who may not know - Lake Burley Griffin is in the middle of the centre of Canberra.)

About halfway through the article, I found this quote by Gary Humphries, Liberal Senator for the ACT:

"For too long we've regarded it as an object of beauty in the middle of our city, a reflective pool almost, that we can look at and use in a very limited way but not particularly engage in, in ways that other Australians would certainly use water for.

"I think this trial, particularly of water-skiing, is a very important step psychologically towards viewing our lake as a more eclectic asset for the people of this city and other people who come to Canberra."

This raised my hackles pretty bad. It seems to me that his first statement is a brilliant explanation of why the second paragraph is crap.

The lake is, in fact, an object of beauty. People quite often do sit beside it and reflect, eat their lunch, contemplate the view. They walk, ride or rollerblade around it. All of this is true.

But I disagree that this means we don't particularly "engage" in or with the lake.

And saying something that people use in all these ways ought to be more of an "eclectic asset"... Sounds like smarmy politician-speak for turning the lake into a free-for-all, so long as the all doesn't include people who want to sit there, enjoy the peace and quiet, feed the swans.

Now, I repeat, the trial in and of itself doesn't sound too terrible to me. But it's the thin edge of the wedge.

I do have to admit that I am automatically highly suspicious of anything Gary Humphries supports. This is because he's the only politician I've had the privelige of being lied to (by omission) by, personally and face to face.

(Gary stabs himself in the chest with a needle.) When I was all of about thirteen, our high school was one of those slated by the local Liberal government for potential closure. At the same time, we'd just had a brand new computer lab installed, back in the days when this was rare and a big deal. I remember them - clunky old Macs that we got to play classic educational games like "Where in the world is Carmen Sandiago?" on.

Good ol' Gary came out to the school to open the lab - I think he was Minister for Education in the ACT at the time. It was on TV and everything. A few of us got picked to meet him, and I remember that I made a comment to him along the lines of, "Well, I suppose at least with this new computer lab, we are less likely to be closed now." He did that politician double talk that they do so well, where they don't answer the question but leave you (if you happen to be young and/or not a particularly critical thinker) thinking that they've agreed with you.

When I heard later that year that our school had been announced for closure, I felt personally betrayed.

That's why I always put ol' Gary last on the Senate voting forms. Of course, he still gets elected.


Gary Humphries. King nob. I do love the eclectic line too. I'm not sure if he knew what it meant though. In fact I think that this phrase should be sent to the good people at weasel words for their edification.

See here

By the way, another quality rant Cass. I expect to see you in civic on some sort of a hygiene related box like object harranguing passers by with your socialistic mantras. Go you !
I just dobbed him into weasel words and laid the glory at 'Cassandra of the ACT's' feet.

That photo of the Senator is awesome. Reminds me of the queue of people in Flying High [aka Airplane in the states] lining up in the aisle with assorted weapons (boxing gloves, a wrench, a gun, a knife etc) waiting for their turn to calm an hysterical woman.

I can just see Cass waiting patiently behind that nurse armed with a bone saw ready for action.
I might get glory?! Woo!

And you're right about the picture and the reason I picked it. I actually found it in the photo gallery on his website. I guess he wants to fool people into thinking he's a real boy.
I put $20 down that he's an animatronic...
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?