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  • Writer's pictureCaterina Sullivan

Canberra - The Forgotten Capital

For most places in Australia, a leadership contest of a political party makes news - but not Canberra.

We may be the capital city of this country and home to the heart of politics, but we are often forgotten, especially when it comes to political news.

On the 27th of October, Elizabeth Lee and Giulia Jones were named the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Canberra Liberals after the 2020 ACT Election. This made history for the ACT and for Australia in a number of ways.

Firstly, it is the first time in ACT's history that there has been a female Leader and Deputy Leader in either Government or in Opposition. Ms Lee has also become the first female of Asian heritage to be the leader of a political party in Australia, paving the way for other young women of Asian descent to pursue a career in politics and have someone to look up to.

But this was nowhere to be seen on the ABC's national news homepage, nor the Australian's homepage within the four hours after the announcement; however, you could pick up some great tips for working from home or a top recipe for a homemade meat pie.

It was really disappointing that both major news outlets forgot Canberra like this.

This is not the first instance in the past month that this has happened, however. On the night of the ACT Election, I saw more Australian politicians celebrating the win of Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand (which occurred the same night) than I saw Australian politicians celebrating the win of Andrew Barr.

As Canberrans, it's something we sort of acclimatise to - seeing a list of Australian capital cities on the TV, Canberra not being one of them.

We are doing amazing things in Canberra. We have led the way in legislation around building standards. We have led the way in renewable energy. ACT Health and ANU worked together during the height of the pandemic to develop a contact tracing program, now being used internationally.

But we still can't seem to make frontpage news. As a city, we are often dismissed due to statistics around being the most educated population in Australia with the highest median income. But those are just statistics, brushing off the entire population as a collective. Canberra, after all, is a diverse city with citizens who hold a wide range of opinions on many issues.

I would like to see improved coverage of Canberra's political and societal achievements in national media. I believe Australians should celebrate Canberra not only for the building sitting on the Hill but for being the capital of Australia in many other facets, for the people living here, for the territory government who ensures there are adequate and effective services for those people and for truly being the bush capital of Australia.


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