Commission of Audit chairman Tony Shepherd in Parliament on Friday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
This week the Commission of Audit's chairman, Tony Shepherd, swung a scythe at Canberra, advocating spending cuts that would savage this city.
His kindly advice to the public servants whose jobs he said should go was to suck it up: to think of it not "in terms of my job but in terms of my country".
On other weeks, however, Shepherd loves Canberrans. He especially loves our money.
Tony Shepherd makes no secret of the fact that he's a Giants fan. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
You see, the 69-year-old wears many hats. And when he takes off his commission's hood of doom, he sometimes replaces it with a GWS Giants cap - he chairs the AFL club, too.
(At other times, Shepherd wears hats for companies that might benefit from his proposal to privatise, well, pretty much everything, but that's another story.)
This year, Canberra taxpayers will pour about $2.3 million into Shepherd's pet footy project. In return, the Giants will come down the Federal Highway four times a year and play a game at Manuka. It's quite a deal.
Indeed, Shepherd wore a Giants wristband when he unveiled his audit's findings on Thursday. Perhaps it was a special tribute - a little "thank you" note - to the Canberrans he was about to sacrifice. You're very welcome, Mr Chairman.
However, if the Abbott government pursues Shepherd's plan in full, we Canberrans might not be able to afford to rock up to Giants games any more, let alone keep paying our annual tithe to the club.
There's more bad news: ACT Sports Minister Andrew Barr signed us up for 10 years. The good news, however, is that the contract, like any, can be mutually terminated.
So, we put it to Shepherd: in light of his suggestion that Canberra be decimated, might he kindly agree to do what he can to get us out of this small funding agreement?
Alas, a spokesman for the Giants replied: "The short answer to your question is no. The deal's done, it's locked in ... The Giants are committed to this long-term partnership with the ACT government."
Barr, too, said the ACT government "has a good working relationship" with Shepherd, and he and Chief Minister Katy Gallagher "met with Tony to discuss the impacts of the audit on Canberra earlier this year".
"While Tony and I share a lot in common when talking football, we don't see eye-to-eye on this report. We don't agree with many of the recommendations which, if implemented, would have wide-ranging implications for our economy." But no comment on ending the deal.
So it seems we're stuck. We must continue to offer tribute until December 31, 2021.
However, we don't need to attend matches, and perhaps we shouldn't. It'd be our own way of saying "suck it up" right back at Shepherd. Sure, it may hurt the Giants a little; the club might even need to shed a job or two. But hey, they're only jobs, right Tony?