So how ‘bout that weather in Brisbane, eh?
How was it in your neck of the woods this weekend? And if anyone can suggest a more Australian phrase than “neck of the woods”, we’d love to hear it.
What else has got your blood boiling this weekend? Israel/Gaza? The lack of decent sport apart from motor racing on free-to-air telly? You tell us.
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Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland, Australia. It’s the third largest city in Australia. You don’t need this Wikipedia history lesson to understand, know, appreciate, or in my case, love Brisbane.
Thomas Brisbane was in NSW when he decided to look north for new digs. My life was much the same: my parents moved our family to Brisbane from Sydney in 1988. It was the year of Expo ’88 and the allure of Stefan’s sky needle, which still resides in South Brisbane, was probably too great to ignore.
My arrival in Brisbane marked the first of several terrific early childhood memories: the warmth of a good shower; an unyielding (and as yet unresolved) infatuation with Freddo Frogs and an obsession with the Fat Controller in Thomas the Tank Engine.
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Sydney is grumpy and going through a severe bout of summit envy now that Prime Minister Julia Gillard has confirmed the G20 will drop in on Brisbane in late 2014.
There is a pervasive view that Brisbane is a nice place but a long way from town while Sydney is the sophisticated senior capital, and clearly the first choice for any international event.All of which must be adding to the amusement of those organisers of APEC 2007 who were able to survive, with sanity intact, the whining and moaning which came from those Sydney sophisticates.
In 2007 the erection of a fence through the CBD, traffic diversions, public transport delays, associated security systems were fuel to a prolonged Sydney whinge-a-thon, before and after the event.
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I go to the footy for three reasons. Firstly, I hope to be witness to the perfect moment, that rare blend of the poetic and balletic, when the players channel the ball with an energy and directness which can only be borne of fury’s marriage with grace.
At Brisbane’s affectionately-named Gabba, on this particular night, Carlton managed several of these fizzing instances, mostly at the behest of one Christopher Judd, whilst the Lions’ players fell in their wake like flapping fish churned up by a fast-spinning propeller.
Secondly, I want to be lulled back to my youth, when I too tumbled across the sodden turf in search of that ever-elusive kick to position, handball to advantage, mark to goal.
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The Punch: In January, you wrote that Wivenhoe Dam levels were “exceptionally high” and provisions for flood management were “dangerously inadequate”. Can you expand on this a bit?
Prior to the Brisbane/Wivenhoe flood in January, the risk and warnings for a flood were quite extreme and the lack of response by the Dam operator was inexplicable. A raging La Nina was in existence, and the authorities had three “test run” flood events to convince them they should be wary. But they did not act.
In the week prior to the floods, the BoM was warning that a very heavy rain incident was imminent, but again there was no apparent response from the dam manager. As the rain incident actually developed there was very little sign of action to release water in a proactive way to keep dam levels down.
Under the threat of losing Wivenhoe (Somerset was also at risk) the operator finally released a deluge into the river system, which history now tells us was rather damaging.
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Monday is Queensland Day, a commemorative 24 hours that has a history older than most white-man milestones in our country.
It is older than Federation, older than electricity, but undervalued because we don’t quite know how to celebrate the best place in the world and aren’t big on causing a commotion about ourselves.
Queensland Day acknowledges the birth of Queensland in 1859 as a self-governing colony.
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If there is one thing I like about Twitter, it’s hashtags. In case you aren’t part of the Twitterati, hashtags refer to the “#” that allows debate or discussion on particular topics in Twitter between users who would probably otherwise never get in contact with each other.
For example, there is the #AusPol hashtag that discusses Australian politics and the #qanda one that discusses the ABC’s Q&A programme every Monday and a million other hashtags on every topic under the sun. I often use them when I post Independent Australia articles on Twitter to get them out to a wider audience, for instance.
But they can also be on frivolous matters as well — and this is where the fun really starts. Yesterday a hashtag arose called #rejectedbnetourismslogans, which, as the name suggests it is all about creating slogans to poke fun at the city of Brisbane. I’m not sure why or who suggested it, or why, but it has gone viral with thousands of contributions, most of them quite funny:
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As Campbell Newman yesterday outlined one of the more goofy political strategies Australia has seen, there was one stark impression: The bloke himself didn’t come across as goofy.
Newman, the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, was explaining to reporters how he planned to be the Liberal National Party (LNP) State Opposition Leader without having to actually be in the Queensland Parliament.
In about a year’s time he would run for a seat Labor has held for 22 years, and in the meantime a surrogate elected last night would be the official Opposition Leader. But actually, the Opposition Leader would be Campbell Newman.
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Sometimes people just get it plain wrong. And that goes for me as well.
Often we’ve thought that Generation Y are so preoccupied with themselves that they are not interested in the world around them. Or worse, they’re interested but not doing anything about it.
The stereotype goes along these lines: locked up in their bedrooms, on Facebook 24 hours a day, playing computer games, comfortable in the world of anonymity. And no social responsibility. Well, it’s time to put all their prejudices back in their box. Because what has happened in Brisbane in the last few weeks is the total and comprehensive counterproof.
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This summer of floods has been an incredible test of character for all the people who’ve faced it. And through it all, amongst the tragedy, sadness and loss, our Aussie spirit has shone through, brighter than ever.
Stories of bravery, sacrifice and mateship abound. Friends drop everything to go and help their friends. Total strangers put their lives at risk to save others. People wade into floodwaters to save stranded dogs, cats and even kangaroos.
People who live on high ground offered their driveways, their yards and even their houses so total strangers can store their possessions and have somewhere to sleep.
Through the uncertainty, devastation and loss, Brisbane has finally revealed itself to me.
As the flood waters continued to rise in the city’s suburbs yesterday, so too did its fiercely defiant spirit.
You could almost feel a little tall poppy syndrome settling in.
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There will come a time for introspection, but for now we watch the tide.
Before dawn broke this morning much of Brisbane’s CBD will have been swamped by a muddy deluge that will scour and scare the city.
But this is a news story like no other in our history because this story is playing out painstakingly live on at least four channels.
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Bathed in an eerie sunlight, Brisbane doesn’t look like Queensland’s next disaster zone.
Small patches of mockingly blue sky mask the overwhelming sense of dread that has settled across the city.
The impending flood is expected to trump the infamous 1974 floods - and authorities are struggling to predict the extent of the damage. The CBD is uncharacteristically silent and calm, the usual morning hum replaced by a worrying stillness. The air is hot and the humidity is stifling.
Great music cities don’t just suddenly emerge, although some have their genesis in rebellion or in the emergence of some artist or event.
Brisbane is known as one of Australia’s great music cities mainly by people who’ve grown up here over the last 40 or so years or the lucky blow-ins who’ve come to love the place.
Robert Forster, now an elegant elder statesman of Brisbane’s music scene, closed the 2010 Bigsound conference last week talking about his early connections with music.
It was this statement that caught my attention: “There’s no band, but I got in there with my sonics. There’s nothing else out there like it.”
This was legendary producer, genius musician and all round studio super hero Daniel Lanois talking about the new Neil Young record – Le Noise – which is being released worldwide on September 28.
Neil Young fans are a tolerant bunch. The crazy, dope-smoking, song-writing and guitar-bending maestro is without peer for those who’ve been following his wandering ways since he first left Canada and headed for California – in a hearse – in the mid-1960s.
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The people’s forum format is a bit like Twenty20 cricket. A strong start when you go in to bat second is critical.
Tony Abbott got his at Rooty Hill in western Sydney when he walked down off the stage and spoke to the audience from the floor. This week the Prime Minister was taking no chances, warming up the room by mixing it with the audience before her slot and kicking off her time talking about positive economic plans. The intent was clear: she was going to have a go, try a bit of tonking.
Not this time the stool on the stage, far from the crowd. A Prime Minister rolling into a town where the metro newspaper’s front page says the government is set to lose half a dozen seats in the state must, to stretch the cricket analogy, get on the front foot.
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