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First published August 14

The Silent Majority. I have always found these silent sounds quite elusive; from the deafening sounds of foreign policy to the environmental chants, the social policy swing and now the planning polka.

As a schoolboy I found it impossible to tune into the opera, beaconing armies to inflict lethal force on small hamlets in Vietnam; much later I was unable to detect the battle hymn that drove our government to deal with weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The Gregorian chant, a slow rumble much like a choir of chainsaws, silently demanding the clear felling of Tasmania’s old growth forests would have been quite clearly heard by a skilled silent majority whisperer. “Bread of Heaven, Dam the Franklin, now and for ever more,” here the silent voice of the majority demands unfettered development.

I never did hear these songs of silence, nor the silent ballads calling for an end to permanent employment, urban traffic chaos and social housing distress, so I am grateful when someone trained in listening to the silence of the silent majority can explain things. Now there are demands the silent majority are singing for the development of our Mountain,” They will be riding up the mountain when she comes. She’ll be sitting in a gondola when she comes …”

But what if, what if the silent majority are not fixated on The Mountain, they might just be doing a silent cable car cabaret. Just plan and build cable cars, anywhere, everywhere, “Come to the Cable Car my friends, come to the cabaret.” So, insights into the silent majority got me thinking, why doesn’t every Tasmanian citizen design a cable car development? 

I like playing in the garden in autumn, it is easy to work the ground, leaves fall, gusts of wind pick them up, mix them around in small eddies. Just like ideas, tumbling around, free, uncontained. It as in the garden that I conceived the Waterfront Cable Kart Organisation.

I love Tasmania, it is a bit like a primary school playground, you can “bags” an idea, this means once you announce your idea, you own it. The Macquarie Dictionary identifies “bagsing” as a children’s term, for example, “I bags first bat.” It asserts some form of dominion, an implied right, it is an expression of power, the little kid never gets “first bat.”  Some jurisdictions have stuff like due diligence and open public tender, due process, but “bagsing” is better.

I recently read a complaint from a Battery Point waterfront property owner, his council rates are too high. I can solve that problem. A group of locals are planning to build a cable car on Mount Wellington, they have, it seems, “bagsed” Mount Wellington. Like the big kid in the playground, they have an implied right and this right is recognised and supported with legislation by the state government.

But Mt Wellington too windy and at some point the idea will, like a cable car on a windy mountain, fall over. But “bagsing” an area for a cable car is an interesting idea, so our group has “bagsed” the Hobart waterfront. Our waterfront “bags” solves two problems by building a cable car network along the Hobart waterfront from Marieville Esplanard to the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. First, the compulsory acquisition of land along the shoreline of Battery Point will save the residents about 40% of their rates; they will have 30% less land and it will be worth less. Like the good folk of South Hobart they will be making a sacrifice for the betterment of private enterprise. Second, a cable car in this location would work because it would be generally open and operating, have you been on the Mountain on a windy cold day? It can be a seriously frightening place. The “Mountain” is a good place to keep your feet on the ground.

The Waterfront Area Cable Kart Operation (WACKO) was established during a think tank session, the core idea, which you will think is quite bold, is that there will be a Cable Kart run from upper Sandy Bay, along the Battery Point shoreline, along Princess Wharf, past Franklin and Macquarie Wharf, past the sea scouts, past Government House, then to the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.

It is intended that the local cultural features will be included. At Salamanca Place guests will be able to access local food and drink at the “Pie in the Sky” dining complex. This will feature the “No Parole and Pain Steakhouse” with the “Gridlock Coffee House” and my favourite, the “Emergency Weight” for those who have all day to sit and contemplate.

The privatisation of Government House is inevitable, we know this as a fact, every passenger on a cruise ship, every tourist and every local that never got a gilt edged invitation would queue up and pay $12.50 for a tour. This vast cash injection into the Botanical Gardens would make a trip to the gardens, an absolute must for all, and all made possible by the Cable Kart. Just imagine, children screaming and vomiting on the terror rides on the redeveloped hot house site. A shooting gallery with real ducks, now you wouldn’t miss that for quids, if you do, just reload. A cashed up and modernised Botanical Gardens would challenge the Gold Coast for class.

This brilliant Waterfront Cable Kart idea will need the support of State Government and City Council officials, who would be required to volunteer to visit existing waterfront cable car operations overseas. Our organisation will lobby government officials to make this travel sacrifice, Lisbon is a must. Two years of research and “professional development” by aldermen and State Government members will see the project “locked in.” There is something in this for everyone, almost, there might be a few anti-development types, but once they get on a study tour, they will get a taste for “business class.” The government will pass a WACKO Facilitation Bill, to smooth our development, they do that.

Our Waterfront Area Cable Kart Operation is investing in the latest telepathic technology. Our communication channel is in the early stages of development, but we are very proud to announce that we have not yet received any negative feedback or false news. For this reason we will not be developing Home Pages/Facebook pages/discussion forums and other such failed technology. We know what is best and our telepathic research confirms this. Telepathic communication is quite widespread, you might have read recently where some politicians entered into a complex agreement after no verbal or other communication at all. Political telepathy is called Pollyathic. 

For investors we can confirm that indeed we have an idea, no business plan, no capital, no research and most importantly no experience. We tick all necessary development requirements. Application for donations and investments need to be made by our telepathic portal, you will just know when it is switched on. I know what you are thinking, what about government support?

This plan has not been pre-approved with an “Individually Negotiated, Secretly Agreed, Not Explained (INSANE) Agreement” with the state government. This is because we do not attend the luncheons where this is done. Our motto is that we are WACKO (Waterfront Area Cable Kart Operation), but not INSANE. Tell your friends and family, “It’s better to be WACKO than INSANE.” We are going to use photographs of cable car protesters and rebadge the images as WACKO supporters, pretty cunning plan.

Sometimes in autumn a good idea blows through. We the WACOS “bags” a waterfront Cable Kart. But there is room for your ideas, you can “bags” your own cable car patch. There are endless possibilities, maybe a cable car from the top of the Argyle Street car park to all the bus stations in Hobart. What about a Cable Car along the Pokies Golden Mile? Call it, “The Winning Way,” just imagine a rewards system. Lose $500 at 4 different stops along the way and get free instant coffee. Just draw a line on a map and bags. A cable car from Risdon Prison to Elwick Race Course, why not? Bags it, get a Facilitation Bill passed, but if you get any negative feedback from punters or prisoners, just draw another line somewhere else, maybe King Island to George Town. There might not be enough passengers from one end, not enough “tickets of leave” so the idea would crash. You would have to listen very hard to hear a bad idea crashing to the ground. Do you think the first Mt Wellington Cable Car idea made a noise over a hundred years ago when it crashed to the ground?

Be bold, come up with your own idea. But be quick, because if there are too many good ideas kicking around, the government might start doing stuff like calling for expressions of interest and doing due diligence. 

Another small problem is that there just might be someone, probably just one person, who thinks that “bagsing” is not an ethical basis for the operation of a state government. That one person might have been a little kid that grew up watching the big, favoured kids getting special treatment through “bagsing.” Cable cars are different to stuff on the ground. On the ground there is due process, a road or bridge build goes through a rigorous tender process. But up in the sky, you are still free to “bags” a development, but be quick, it won’t last long.

If the silent majority want a cable car cabaret, your idea will get up and someone will take delight in announcing that your own idea, your very own fantasy, is being loudly and silently proclaimed in song by the silent majority. Come on pick up a pencil and draw a line on a map, bags and listen to the silence and Rex. I wonder what the silent majority think about “bagsing?”

When I go to the MWCCC website, what I don’t read is that “We won a competitive tender, our ideas/knowledge/experience/concept/planning/capacity/proven technical skills and are superior to any others.”

The silent majority might be interested in being briefed on the importance of “contacts” when development projects are presented without due process. You can explain the thinking of the silent majority are they singing that everything is “proud and fair?”

*Rex Beamish worked at Mercury in 1965 and 1966. He was a SEM boy. A SEM boy was the little kid who carried a large bag of Saturday Evening Mercuries around the streets of Moonah, delivering door to door, for 11 pence.