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Jolly tick-tock of Canberra’s Paradise Clock

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Actual Australian prime ministers tend to be awful human beings and so I always have, ready to step in and lift my and the whole nation’s spirits, an imaginary, idealised prime minister.

She (for somehow my imaginary prime minister is always a woman) works rather like that better-known, familiar, supportive confidant the imaginary friend.

Refugee Behrouz Boochani on Manus Island in 2017.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

But my imaginary prime minister, Vida, (named after the pioneering Australian suffragette and humanitarian Vida Goldstein) is far busier than any imaginary friend could be. It is her role, when I summon her with my imagination, to do and say all the noble, decent, true, uplifting, making-you-proud-to-be-Australian things that our actual, awful prime ministers never do.

So for example one imagined thing imaginary Vida has done in recent days, bless her, has been to be quick to congratulate Manus Island refugee Behrouz Boochani on winning the top prize at the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards.

His novel, No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison, won the country's most valuable literary award, the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature.

Of course Boochani was not able to attend the awards ceremony. Since 2013 the Kurdish-Iranian journalist has been banged-up on Manus Island.

And so my Vida, her voice ringing........

© The Sydney Morning Herald