Jan 18, 2018

Rundle: Fed Square Apple store will destroy that public space and our sense of community with it

For Victorian Labor, the spruiking for Apple is naked desperation in the absence of any real solutions to a thinning and precarious economic base.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


Labor cabinets leak a lot less than Coalition cabinets do, state Labor cabinets all the less, and a relatively smooth outfit like the Daniel Andrews cabinet scarcely at all. So it was a big deal when The Age got a Peter Hartcher-esque blow-by-blow account of the debate around the future of Melbourne’s Federation Square, and the decision to allow Apple to put a shop in the middle of it.

Sorry, it’s not a shop, is it? It’s a glittering Apple technology experience, a portal to the future, a foundation stone for an exciting new tech future blah blah blah. Yeah, crap it is. It’s a shop, and it’s going to be placed in the middle of a public square.

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19 thoughts on “Rundle: Fed Square Apple store will destroy that public space and our sense of community with it

  1. Sue Miills

    Apple News:
    Safari on my ipad doesn’t work good. So much content it can’t connect to

  2. Xoanon

    It’s an outrageous raid on public space (which was what Fed Square was always sold to us as, by successive governments). The reaction just shows how far removed careerist Labor is nowadays from public sentiment. I believe the state upper house could nullify the dodgy planning exemption that allows it to happen, which would be a good start.

  3. Alex

    Geez Guy, this is Basic Capitalism 101. As a tree has no value unless it can be cut down and used for something, a public space has no value unless someone can make money from it. I won’t bother with the intrinsic value arguments and benefits to community etc.

    1. Guy Rundle

      Yes, Alex, that’s the point. A public space has no capital value unless commodified. Thats why we dont want every feature of life commodified – and we expect a Labor party to understand that.

  4. paddy

    I’m crossing my fingers, toes and everything else, that the Andrews Govt might just pull back from the brink on this one. It seems like such a dumb idea, given the serious blowback from the public. I’m scratching my head wondering what its supporters actually hope to gain.

  5. zut alors

    Time to start an online swell of public disapproval to tarnish Apple’s corporate image.

    I’ve been a rusted-on Mac user since 1993 (when nobody I knew owned one, how times change) but lately have been entertaining the idea of alternative brands. The Federation Square store would be guaranteed to tip me over the line. If enough Apple consumers feel the same way perhaps we may carry weight.

    But a union green ban would likely be more effective – trashing the Apple brand while improving their own public image as our social conscience in lieu of government.

  6. Moving to Paraguay

    I’d always held out from your Greens push, Guy. It seemed worth sticking with the ALP because of their historical role in the promise of a fairer country. But this is the crowbar that broke the camel’s back. They can no longer have any pretence of a government for the public after rolling over to this tax avoiding multinational, seeking to extend their gated technology into the heart of Melbourne.
    Vic Labor desperately needs a Greens coalition partner to keep them honest. Kiss Brunswick goodbye, ALP.

    1. John Kotsopoulos

      Yes how silly of me not to notice the Greens strategy. Pick off the low hanging fruit among Labor electorates and then cosy up for a coalition. One problem. Weakening Labor opens the door to the rightoids and conservative Governments. But what the hey we still have our principles to keep us warm

    2. Dog's Breakfast

      Crowbar – yep, it’s a point well made MTP.

      It isn’t a huge issue in the great scheme of neo-liberal selling off our body and soul to private interests, but in terms of visibility this could really break through. People have to realise that selling off the commons only leads to this, an apple i-sore in the middle of a public space.

      Did you see what I did there – i-sore – ha, so clever. I amuse myself

      1. zut alors

        Dog’s, you have provided a witty slogan for the anti-Apple brigade ie:

        say NO to the i-sore i-store

  7. graybul

    I’d shake your hand on this one Guy. Your right on the money err “space.” Federation Square is “people space” where according to choice one can be alone but not lonely. Or to share, interact, know you belong. To offer or accept a conversation or merely flash a smile to acknowledge togetherness. Apple cannot add, only extract, from how people currently communicate within Federation Square. For the Victorian Govt this is not a good look. It further exposes the ever widening chasm between the political / corporate classes and Australian peoples. If they don’t understand, or care about what we think or need; then why pretend they govern for us? Federation Square is right where it needs to be . . . at the centre of every city, town or village. It is what planners plan for . . . and “the money” repurposes for gain, ego or brand. Get the hell out of it APPLE!

  8. John Kotsopoulos

    Bleed from its arse. Oh how poetic

  9. JMNO

    Yes, right on the money, Guy, as another commenter has said. Pallas seems to be the behind-the-scenes, ‘whatever it takes’, member of the Vic Government when it comes to deals with the private sector.

  10. Mark

    Another issue not raised is Apple’s refusal to pay its fair share of tax so how dare they use tax-payer funded open space. Their CEO should be prepared for a massive demonstration against corporate greed when he swans in to open his shop.

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