Standing up for Canberra

Hong Kong Chamber: A Letter from Canberra

At the end of every year, I tour local schools to hand out awards to students who’ve done amazing things in the last 12 months.

And every time the awards season rolls around, I find it hard to believe it’s already been a year.

Not this time. Nobody could call 2016 uneventful.

It’s been a year of surprises. Brexit shocked global markets, Trump shocked US election watchers and Leicester City shocked sports fans by winning the English Premier League, despite 5,000 to 1 odds against it.

Australia’s had its own surprises to contend with. The Prime Minister’s efforts to use his majority to sweep away the Senate crossbench of the 44th Parliament ended up with a reduced majority and an increased Senate crossbench.

Depending on who you ask, Canberra’s either had a year of political exhaustion or exhilaration. We’ve been through not one but two elections, which means twice the amount of volunteering, twice as much knocking on doors, twice as many corflutes hammered into the ground, twice as many phone calls and letterbox drops and all the other parts that go into a modern campaign.

And now that schools have broken for the holidays, I’ve given out the last of 2016 school awards. They’ve gone to students who are quiet achievers, having overcome tremendous personal challenges to achieve their goals this year.

But right now in Canberra, the cicadas are getting louder and the traffic is getting quieter.

It’s a sure sign it’s Christmas, and more than a few Canberrans will be heading to the coast in pursuit of a beach and a barbeque.

But before I get started on my packing, I want to thank you for reading this year. I wish you and your family a merry Christmas, and a peaceful and prosperous new year.