SYDNEY – LONDON – PARIS – BEIJING - BEIRUT


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When the Iemma Government released its Financial Statement, in which they announced they were sacking 5000 public servants like me (details of where the cuts will fall have not yet been released), the paragraph that stuck out for me was this: "We recognise that particularly in Sydney - Australia’s only international city - the costs of living are higher. We are determined to provide best value to taxpayers. We will be increasingly disciplined with regard to budget management and take the necessary prudent measures to protect our budget position." Sydney - Australia’s only international city. The justification used continually as to why Sydney is the greatest place on earth, despite the fact that nothing works properly, we are taxed to our eyebrows and the state is so broke it’s going to sack people to be ‘responsible’. It seems to be used here as the catch-all, foolproof excuse for anything – crappy public transport, huge fees for everything, tollways, hospital failures, mob violence. “The train system is a disaster here.” “Oh, but Sydney is a much bigger city, with far more demands on it.” Demands that Sydney is comprehensively failing to meet. This belief in Sydney as so far above the other Australian cities is so widespread, it has lead to ridiculously lowered expectations on the part of the people who live here, I’ve noticed. They just expect their public services to regularly break down and when I suggest that people in Perth wouldn’t put up with this, they just shake their head and say well, “Sydney is so much bigger, and it’s an international city.” Sydney is home to big banks, law firms, financial deals, the stock exchange and big IT. Which makes it international in its professional services to the region, and one with which it competes hotly with Singapore, Hong Kong and increasingly Shanghai. It doesn’t appear to explain why they can’t get a bus service organised. I think by international, a lot of people mean the pretentious side of Sydney. I should feel so special, because in Perth I would not be able to walk through King’s Cross past the drug addicts and prostitutes in 4-inch heals and white shorts to suck back a gin and tonic with a man wearing a pink polo shirt with the collar up, before taking a crazy cab ride home through a toll road. Now Sydney is planning to add another “international” notch to its belt: Premier Morris Iemma said yesterday: "Water cannons are used to great effect to disperse riots and civil disturbances in Europe, the Middle East and Indonesia. We have never used one in NSW before but recent events have demonstrated we must be prepared for large-scale public disturbances Because there’s nothing like being able to sweep the drunken kids-of-Home-&-Away-when-they-decide-to-hold-a-white-supremacy-rally off their feet with high powered hose during a period of strict water restrictions to really prove your weight on the international stage.
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Found via Crikey.com What the cat ragged in For me and many other Xers, the choice of going to university has proved to be a financial disaster. Three years ago, I wrote an open letter to Brendan Nelson suggesting a “degree buy-back” by government, a la John Howard, post-Port Arthur massacre, buying back the heavy-duty guns (acquired for fuck knows what purpose) that were owned by Gympie (et al’s) white-trash. In hindsight, I was educated in a vacuum, leaving me not only ill-prepared for work in the 90s – the decade of pillaging the public commons (most obviously in the former Soviet Union, but also with a six-years-behind handicap in personally joining in the looting frenzy.


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