Desperate times call for…paparazzi?

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The AFR has fantastic piece today on the future of Geelong, based around a profile of its eccentric new mayor, Darren Lyons:

“You’ve got to get off your bloody arse, and you’ve got to go out, and you’ve got to find it, and you’ve got to do it yourself. Stop the dependence on society, stop blaming governments and officials. There is work out there, it might be a bit grubby. I’ve been there and done it myself. I grew up doing it. You know, at the end of the day, stop this whingeing, whining and moaning for pay rises here and pay rises there. The fact of the matter is, sometimes you’ve got to go back to go forward.”

Darryn Lyons – mayor of Geelong, pub owner, ex-war photographer and “Mr Paparazzi” – has been chatting to theAFR Magazine for about 37 minutes when he sets his multi-coloured mohawk bobbing with this impromptu speech. The words tumble out of the stocky entrepreneur’s mouth in response to a remark that workers at the doomed Geelong Ford plant want the company not only to pay for their retraining but allow them to do it on company time. Ford wants them to make cars on its clock.

Lyons’s words echo the organising principle of a man whose party – the Liberals – only reluctantly embraced him. At another level his words describe his approach to his next project: steering Geelong and its citizens through choppy waters to the rosy future that will be theirs if they just stop whingeing and get off their bloody arses – in a smart, modern way of course.

“You either rise from the ashes or you don’t,” Lyons says.

The people of Geelong, a busy city of 220,000, located 75 kilometres south-west of Melbourne on the shores of Port Phillip Bay, turned to Lyons last November when the incumbent, Christian teetotaller Keith Fagg, retired because of ill health. The city’s business establishment had thrown its weight behind Lyons’s opponent, Ken Jarvis. But Lyons’s relentless social media campaign – he had more than 900,000 Twitter followers – got under their guard. Lyons has changed the tone in City Hall. Now he’s on a crusade to change the city.

Geelong is a city in transition, stranded between its history and its future. Its post-World War II legacy as a stronghold of heavy industry – led by Ford, Alcoa and Shell – is fading fast. A glittering, post-industrial “smart city” future beckons, one long envisaged by city leaders and promoted with renewed vigour by Lyons. It embraces a rapidly expanding Deakin University, a growing healthcare and insurance sector, a housing boom, wine and surf tourism, high-tech firms and – maybe – a large carbon fibre manufacturing plant.

I spend a lot of time in Geelong. My wife is from there. I have many friends there.  Good luck to it and Mr Lyons. But I worry it will take more than a new haircut to sustain its current levels of employment.

15 Responses to “ “Desperate times call for…paparazzi?”

  1. Nunatak says:

    “You’ve got to get off your bloody arse, and you’ve got to go out, and you’ve got to find it, and you’ve got to do it yourself. Stop the dependence on society, stop blaming governments and officials. There is work out there, it might be a bit grubby. I’ve been there and done it myself. I grew up doing it. You know, at the end of the day, stop this whingeing, whining and moaning for pay rises here and pay rises there. The fact of the matter is, sometimes you’ve got to go back to go forward.”

    Wow! That’s right up there with “The forgotten people” and “I had a dream”.

    How could the people of Geelong not be inspired by such empathetic and visionary words.

    Incidentally, according to Realestate.com, the median price for a 3br house in Geelong is $475,000, and there are 33 people looking for every property listed.

    Perhaps that explains some of the “…whingeing, whining and moaning for pay rises here and pay rises there.”

    Still, it’s comforting to know that our leaders at least see a future for us in grubby jobs.

    Australia…..the clever country.

    • migtronix says:

      To be fair there is no grubbier job than politics only problem of course is the f—ers are on handouts and give themselves pay rises!

      • Gramus says:

        Mayors don’t make much money.

      • migtronix says:

        @Gramus tell that to the formerly employed.

      • Jason says:

        That is true Gramus, the trough is smaller but I have no doubt that the snout is the same size.

      • Nunatak says:

        Mayors don’t make much money

        Really?

        Perhaps you didn’t get the memo. :-)

        Herald Sun – July 07, 2012.

        “MAYORS and councillors have been awarded big pay rises by the Baillieu Government – as rates are spiralling upwards and public sector jobs are being axed.

        Local Government Minister Jeanette Powell has signed off on statewide salary increases of as much as $18,000, despite teachers being offered as little as 2.5 per cent wage hikes.

        Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has won a 4 per cent pay rise, taking his salary from $160,050 to $167,300.

        Deputy Lord Mayor Susan Riley gets a pay hike of more than $18,000, taking her annual earnings from $60,500 to $83,600.

        And City of Melbourne councillors, who work part-time, will have their allowances lifted from up to $33,360 to up to $39,282.

        The pay rises, released in the Government Gazette on Thursday, are due to take effect from October 27.

        Geelong’s yet-to-be-appointed lord mayor can earn as much as $158,935 with the deputy mayor to rake in $49,757.

        The hikes come after the Herald Sun revealed federal politicians would be given a 3 per cent pay boost.

        Generous bonuses have been handed out far and wide, with the pay band of mayors in the likes of Frankston, Port Phillip and Casey councils rising to a maximum of $83,650. Mayors at councils including Ballarat, Banyule, Wodonga and Mildura will be paid up to $67,634.

        Councillors in areas such as Boroondara, Stonnington and Yarra Ranges will be paid up to $26,188.
        And mayors in the likes of Mansfield, Horsham and Indigo Shire stand to earn as much as $52,000.

        Government spokeswoman Kate Walsh said most mayoral and council raises were 2.5 per cent, consistent with inflation.

        It is up to individual councils to vote on how much they think they deserve.

        “The minister is to give regard to the increases received by senior public servants and other factors such as inflation in the settling of any change,” she said.”
        ————————————————————————————————-

        “Geelong’s yet-to-be-appointed lord mayor can earn as much as $158,935 with the deputy mayor to rake in $49,757.”

        I could manage on that……particularly if I owned a pub as well.

    • RobW says:

      There is nothing wrong with grubby jobs. I don’t mind cleaning for example, but the pay is barely enough to live on and there isn’t a great deal of work around right now. It’s also incredibly insecure work. Those issue aside, what amazes is how many light weight thinkers are extremely successful in Australia. I’m not particularly intelligent, so my lack of traditional success is understandable, but it seems to me many of the politicians and successful business leaders in Australia are pretty two dimensional in their thinking. I mean they’re hardly inspirational. It’s a shame, because as the world becomes even more complex and unstable we could use some truly great thinkers. Then again, maybe that’s not what Australians want?

      • migtronix says:

        Had pleeeenty of grubby jobs in my time, and in fact anything that means I don’t have to talk to humans is just fine by me!

        Why we pay so much to people who do nothing but babble all day long is completely beyond me!

        On the smart thing — I’ve never considered my self particularly smart, partly because I read and thereby be introduced to great thinkers, partly because I’ve met some great thinker — but what has always completely bewildered is why everyone else is so f—ing dumb!

      • Jason says:

        Mig, you’ve got my head nodding all day today!

      • Neville Gearless says:

        RobW – Don’t need to be a 3 dimensional thinker, let alone 2 dimensional to be successful in business. Some successful guys I’ve met were completely one dimensional. I mean, if you know how to sell one widget, you’re pretty well set. Not knocking that, but I’ve been stunned how little they new outside their world.
        Sometimes its no help asking people like that their opinions on the economy etc..

  2. jimbo says:

    I spend a great deal of time down there too. It has its own culture and charm that’s for sure (all good IMO). It will be most interesting to see if it can pull off a ‘Newcastle’ and come through the closure of some of its largest employers. Time will tell.

    One thing that always surprises me walking through Westfield in town is the thriving nail joints, packed full of large, tattoo clad Gen X and Y women being serviced by Asian girls. I’m still trying to work out who’s paying for this and secondly how long it will be on current trajectory before the tables turn between the customer and the practitioner.

    As for grubby jobs, we know full well the plan is for a real estate led recovery, so perhaps they envisage plenty of new real estate agent jobs forthcoming. Although he did say grubby not filthy.

    It’ll also be interesting to see how the borrow as much as you possibly can and let future pay rises inflate away the debt payments clan cope with the new normal. But that’s a problem that goes far beyond the Geelong boundaries.

    P.S. Busy? I’m 10km from the Melbourne CBD and far prefer to drive down to Geelong to shop because of the lack of congestion and ease of getting around.

  3. Lef-tee says:

    I think he must have a relative here in Gladstone. I was still in high school in that fateful year, 1990. As we watch employment prospects disintigrate, a local businessman who was a friend of one of my teachers came to give us a “pep talk”. It was all down to laziness and poor attitudes he said. There was plenty of work out there, even if it was shovelling shit he said. None of us had the nous to ask him why hundreds of thousands of previously productive workers had suddenly decided to become slack arses, quite happy to lose their income and possesions. None of us asked him if he himself was still putting on workers – we didn’t know that jobs were a function of aggregate demand. Neither did he apparently.

    The pair of them are just members of the loud-mouthed fuckwits club.

    • Snail Cafe says:

      Yes Leftie this country has has become a great place to be a member of TLMFWC.
      The mind set of positive thinking is very important but these days with the empty headed loud mouthed FWs spruiking for there own personnel gain they are a another disease in our society….the issue I see here in Australia and Sydney in particular is that all of us who think we are sensible, use common sense and try to have fair judgement on say our investment decisions (learning from say USA Europe, Spain Ireland Cyprus etc) are being thought of as negative,scared,too cautious even failures because right now behaving and investing like a tosser seems to be the way to go. Jeez, all around this FW jobs in Geelong are going at an ever faster rate….trouble is his bullshit flows and in the end it’s all about Darren…

      • Slambo says:

        Those admonitions must mean a lot coming from a loudmouth prat sporting a ‘my little pony’ coiffure.

        “Nothing so gives the illusion of intelligence as personal association with large sums of money. It is also alas an illusion”. J.K.Galbraith.

        One might say the same thing for celebrity.

  4. Prometheus69 says:

    Empty; wafer thin rhetoric from an igorant, narcissistic and probably psychopathic attention seeker.

    If they voted for this clown then they deserve what they get.

    It’s not all that far off the political scenario in the film, Idiocracy.