Denman W18 Masthead 2

Driving home to Canberra

Jo Scard

Last week, as something of a respite, my family took a drive up the highway to Sydney to see Taylor Swift at the ANZ Stadium at Homebush.

We shared the arena with 76,000 others, mostly young women and girls, who recited each and every word of every song passionately. We queued up for the requisite concert Tay Tay t-shirt as well as ice cream. Certainly more edgy than The Wiggles but with a fair few men and Dads singing along.

Swift identifies as a feminist. The fact that Swift calls herself a feminist and uses her large fan base to spread a positive message about female friendship is great. Broader culture has shifted, with feminism becoming increasingly popular and acceptable among young women. But it should be more than just supporting girlfriends or or talking about girl power. Hopefully Swift’s feminism is genuine as well as being a useful branding tool.

That night as we witnessed Tay Tay’s girl power, next door at Stereosonic a young woman died from a cardiac arrest after a drug overdose. 70 others were arrested.

Dealers posing as tradespeople in the days before the concert had hidden the drugs in drilled holes so they could return to sell them to the crowd. The dramatic lengths drug dealers will go to are challenging the police. They’re hard to foresee and the police and parents so far aren’t winning.

As world leaders gathered in Paris for climate talks last week, I watched an ABC Foreign Correspondent program and learned a great deal. China is going to quadruple their solar power capability in the next four years and India is gearing up to provide 130 million with solar power in the same time frame. The world seems to be speeding up in an effort to catch up to climate change, but it’s still unsure as to how we will prevail.

In the Adelaide Hills last week my friend Helen lost her family home as fires decimated their property, crops and farm equipment. In the last 12 months the family had suffered drought, frost and now fire. They’ve been climate change believers for quite a while. It’s sad that here in our relative affluence, Australia has abolished a number of the government agencies that provided the innovation to help us respond to the rise in global temperatures. Until the recent change in Prime Minister, ‘direct action’ was considered a large part of the answer.

In contrast, here in Canberra, the ACT government is confident that the city will be powered entirely by renewable energy by 2025 – isn’t that a great thing (and well before I have grandchildren to pass the world onto).

One wonders whether the world will still be able to sing along at pop concerts in 50 years time, or whether the negatives of the world might stamp the joy from our most simple pleasures. It’s difficult when individuals threaten the pleasure of simple events like a concert. You know there’s some big stuff happening at the moment, isn’t there, if you’re attempting to have family deep-and-meaningfuls around the kitchen table at the end of the day?

Driving back home always calms me after a day in Sydney. As soon as I hit the vista of green grass and cows on the outskirts I inhale. Returning to what feels like our little safe haven near the nation’s capital it always confirms our decision to exit Sydney eight years ago was the right one. Canberra is a delight.

Jo Scard is Managing Director of Fifty Acres – The Communications Agency. She tweets at @scardjo.

Image: supplied.


Jo Scard

With over 20 years' experience in communications, political advisory roles and journalism, Jo Scard is one of Australia’s leading advisers to corporates, Not-For-Profits, organisations and government. Managing Director of communications agency, Fifty Acres which is HQ'd in Canberra, Jo is a respected former political journalist in the UK and Australia working with ITV, Associated Press, Seven Network, SBS, ABC and Fairfax. A former senior adviser to the Rudd and Gillard governments and a trained lawyer she is on the Boards of the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Hockey ACT and a Member of the NSW Council of the Public Relations Institute of Australia. Jo is an Ambassador for the global entrepreneur magazine Renegade Collective and a member of the Registered Consultancies Group of the Public Relations Institute of Australia. She has spent over a decade advising corporates and Not-For-Profits at CEO and board level across strategic communications, government relations and public relations and co-authored the best-selling book The Working Mother’s Survival Guide with Seven’s Melissa Doyle. More about the Author

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