Flat White

The world’s most expensive flagpole

21 June 2022

6:00 AM

21 June 2022

6:00 AM

As soon as the New South Wales state government finishes putting the Aboriginal flag atop Sydney Harbour Bridge, they need to have another ‘Sorry Day’.

I don’t mean a day to say sorry to Aboriginals. I mean a day to say sorry to taxpayers who are being charged $25 million for the gesture.

It costs $300 to climb the iconic bridge. It costs $25 million to whack a flag on the top. Figure that one out.

When installed, the Aboriginal flag will be permanently flown alongside the Australian flag and the New South Wales flag. 

How afraid must the NSW Liberals be of losing the next election – due early next year – that they are prepared to throw so much money at Woke posturing?

Premier Dominic Perrottet yesterday said the $25m pole and flag was ‘a small price to pay for unity’.

If the Premier is seeking to unify taxpayers in seething anger against government profligacy, then he may be onto something.

I’m changed $16 in tolls to drive from my home in north-western Sydney to the airport. And I need a second mortgage to afford the fuel. So you’ll forgive me if the Liberals shelling out $25m on a flagpole feels a little excessive.

Imagine being a small business owner in Sydney – battling to pay rent, overheads, and staff in the hope that you’ll be left with some sort of profit at the end of the month. And then you turn on the news and discover the government is spending $25m on a flag.

The NSW Liberals could build a brand new primary school for what they are spending on the flagpole, and still have $10m in change!

Heck, for the totally reasonable price of a million dollars I’ll sit on top of the bridge and wave the flag while performing an Acknowledgement of Country every five minutes. Bargain!

Mr Perrottet told ABC news he was ‘not sure’ why the project cost so much.

‘I don’t know. But it does, apparently,’ he said. ‘Apparently, that’s the costing.’

Apparently, Dominic Perrettot is the least curious person in New South Wales. 

It’s amazing how blasé you can be when you’re spending other people’s money.

Is the pole made of gold? Is it being imported from Italy? Was it sculptured by Michelangelo? 

Has the Premier never heard of getting another quote?

Never mind. He described it as ‘an important decision’ for the state.

How waving a divisive flag from the top of a bridge is an important decision for the state is as mysterious the $25m price tag.

Solving the ambulance ramping problem would be an important decision for the state. 

Fixing the energy crisis would be an important decision for the state.

But waving a flag?

Only politicians could spend $25m to make absolutely no difference to the lives of indigenous people and say – with a straight face – that it is an important decision.

You can follow James on Twitter. You can order his new book Notes from Woketopia here.

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