Saturday, March 17, 2007

Mr. Sylvester McMonkey McBean

I've never been particularly fond of Canberra. It feels vaguely sterile, perhaps because it is a city by design (Walter Burley Griffin in fact) rather than evolution? It is a town populated almost exclusively by public servants and, being a public servant myself, I'm somewhat happy about that (it at least means the profile of amenities suits my lifestyle and I'm not talking about Fyshwick). I'm down there a bit at the moment (and will be for the next six months or so) on a project for the Commonwealth.

Security is big in Canberra, which makes sense as the Australian capital, however I've been surprised by how much more security conscious Commonwealth agencies are compared with State. I used to work directly next to the building where State Ministers have their offices - a target of sorts I guess (not wanting to sound particularly paranoid) - and yet our security wasn't particularly zealous, nor did it seem were other State agencies. Canberra however is the land of star-belly sneetches; almost every single one of the city's workers wears a photo ID, so much so that you needn't wear a McDonald's uniform - if you don't have a photo ID you must work in FMCG simple as that (cautionary tale, returning to Sydney wearing your photo ID is-not-on... I know this thanks to a Tori Spelling-lookalike who advised me of this potential fashion faux pas).

So anyway, for the next six months I work for the Commonwealth, I am one-of-them (the rivalry between States and the Commonwealth can be significant). I'd like to say I'm a schizophrenic policy mercenary but working for both Liberal and Labor governments has so far been surprisingly easy because, basically, all sensible public servants accept that politics is for their Ministers, not for them.

Oh and Mr Sylvester McMonkey McBean... both parts of his little scam can be seen here and here.

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