01x03 - Very Fast Turnover

Man: This is a nation-building project...

Man 2: New infrastructure of the 21st century...

Woman: If there is a buzzword in this budget, it's 'nation-building'...

Man 3: Major infrastructure projects right around the country...

Man 4: Transformational vision for the infrastructure of the 21st century...

Man 5: I want to be known as the infrastructure prime minister...

Woman 2: Nation-building budget...

Man 6: Nation-building for recovery...

Woman 3: Nation-building program...

Man 7: Nation-building.

Good morning!



Man: Morning.

Yeah, he's totally loving the south, and he would have stayed longer, but now he's totally loving Barcelona.

Woman: Sorry, who's this?


Remember? He used to work here!


In auditing?

Downstairs? Jules?

Motorbike Jules?

Oh, yeah.

I reckon we should probably make a start.


Oh, yeah, sure. Totally.

Man: Oh, dear.

We've got to work out who's called a meeting before we hold one.

I'm pretty sure it was Lachie.

I'm pretty sure Lachie left two weeks ago.

I guess no-one thought to cancel his meeting.

Should we call him?




To find out what he wanted to talk about.


Coloured tabs - brilliant!

Man: Yeah, yeah.

I love it!

Just on what I was saying, though, some of those precincts - the exact use of the precincts have not been locked in.

Yeah. 'Precincts' - it's a good word, isn't it? 'Precinct'.

Yeah, yeah, so, it could be, like, tertiary education or research...

So it'd be, like, an education precinct.


Or a research precinct.



This is just the type of nation-building we're looking for.

And would the whole thing be a hub?

Er, parts of it could be, down the track, yeah.

It's a good word too - 'hub'!


Could some of the precincts be a hub?


Like a research hub!

Yeah, well, we'll certainly keep it handy.

Oooh, what's this?

Polycentric cities!

Why don't we pop that down for a second...

No, well, I just want to get the story, you know, get the flavour.

Right, well, overall we're calling it an Inner Urban Revitalisation Project.

Oh, wow! Can I just borrow that?



It's all in the briefing notes.

Yeah, I just like to hear it myself.

Hub. Hub.

Yep, actually, let's skip blue.

Let's go on to green.


And what figure are we putting on it?

Well, there's financials in the folder.

Just a rough guide.

Again, I just like to hear it.

Oh, six or seven billion.

Six... So, let's make it ten.

Can I have your pen again?

There's a spreadsheet in the folder.

Just a conversation-starter.

They'll love this.

Not at ten billion!

Yeah, but they will have one question at the end.

'Is it feasible?'

No. Why would they ask that?

'Cause they've gotta OK it.

(Laughs) Oh, they'll OK it!

No, this'll be old news.

They'll ask what's next.

Can we just see this one through first?

Yeah, OK, I see what your problem is here.

I don't have a problem...

They OK the scheme, they unveil the scheme. What's next?

We get to work.

I mean, the whole project will take at least five years.

Five years? The calendar in my phone doesn't even go five years.

I thought we said we were gonna be about the long-term.

But they need to come up with another announcement now.

After this, cupboard's bare.

I'm not sure that's our problem.

So, what's nation-building Australia got up its sleeve next?

(Sighs) That's a pretty big question.

I'll give you a tip.

(Murmurs indistinctly)


I didn't say anything.

No, I literally didn't hear what you said.


What about it?

That's your next project.

What aspect?

Any aspect.

Blank sheet, blue sky.

See you in Canberra.

Woman: Tony?


Have you got a moment?

I want to run through the codes.

Why are we going through this again?

The office safety audit.

Now, as you can see, long beeps indicates an imminent emergency.


Like beeeep, beeeep...

Right, I get it, yep.

Now, that could mean fire, chemical spill, or natural disaster.

Yeah, not likely. Yep.

And then there's the whoop-whoop.

Like whoooop-whoooop...

And what does that denote?

Imminent threat, like t*rror1st attack.

Yeah, again, not like...

They also link through to your phone, so that will go off as well.

And what denotes parking officers in the vicinity?

Uh... joke!

I'm gonna go whoop-whoop next time so you know.

Yeah, it's a good idea, though.

OK, yeah.

Knock, knock. Tony!


Rhonda wanted you to have this.

Oh, great, thanks.

No worries.

Uh... thanks!

Katie? Who was that who just gave me the folder?


Nick? Who's Nick?

He took over from Laura.

Who's Laura?

She replaced Tim.

What does Nick do?

Same thing Laura and Tim did.

I'll organise a spreadsheet.

Yeah, or nametags.

Morning, Amy.

Amy: Hi!

Oh, did you get that list of emergency codes?

Was that the whoop-whoop, beep-beep thing?

Yeah, 'cause we need to have a practice drill this week.


Oh, and when you get a chance, can you sign this?

What is it?

Bec's going away card.

Oh. When does she leave?

Friday. I'm organising a cake.

Morning, Nat.



Hugh: Hi.

Don't look now, but over next to Michael's desk...

I just said, 'Don't look now'!


Who's that new girl?

Can I look now?

I think it's Ingrid.

Ingrid. Right.

Um, what was I... Oh.

Oh, good, that's... in there.

All going well, Ingrid?

It's Rahjee.

Sorry! Rahjee! Of course.

That's Ingrid.

That's... Yep, that's... Yep.


I thought you said Ingrid.

Yeah, that's Ingrid.

No, the other new girl.

Oh, Rahjee?

Yes. Rahjee.

Tony: Jim? Tony.

Jim, on phone: All set?

Yep, I'm on the 6am flight.

So, what have you come up with?

Well, what do you mean?

The transport initiative!

You only mentioned it yesterday.

Ah, let's strike while we're hot.

Alright, I did go through a bunch of projects last night.


Ranked them as most needed, best bang for buck, that sort of thing.


Yeah, and there is one area with some potential, I mean, on a national scale.

Oh, hang on a sec. Let me pull over, 'cause I want to write this down.


Can I just borrow a pen?

Oh, God.

Hugh: What's wrong?

Bec's card?

People are writing essays.

Who's Emma?

Processing officer. Just started.

How has she managed to write half a paragraph about someone she's barely met?

I think she got that off WikiQuotes.

You know what, I'm just gonna write, 'Goodbye, good luck, and have fun.'

Oh, she's leaving to look after her mum. Alzheimer's.

Jim, on phone: OK.

Alright, head and shoulders above the rest...


..under rail...

Oh, I am loving this already. Yep?

..a complete upgrade to the national freight network starting Melbourne to Brisbane.

Like, gauge-convertible concrete sleepers, upgraded crossings, increased tonnages on the...

Jim? You there?

Oh, shit.

Oh, no, I'm here.

Must have driven into a black spot.

I thought you said you were pulled over.


Yeah, you know what?

Let's have a chat in the morning.


Don't get me wrong, I love the dream...

It's not a dream, Jim.

Well, the thought bubble.

It's not a thought...

It's a practical proposal.

A complete upgrade of Australia's rail freight network.

Yeah, that's the word I've got a problem with.





What's the problem with freight?

Has the train got any people?


Apart from the driver, I guess.

What about the passengers?

There are no passengers.

What have you got against people?


Then let them on board.

It's a freight line!


Jim, there are so many advantages...

Are you having continental or cooked?

Just an orange juice and a bit of toast.

And for you?

A croissant.



It takes thousands of trucks off the road, massive savings in repairs, and no restrictions on travel times.

It doesn't have to be fast.

Ah! Could it be fast?

As in high-speed.

What freight needs to be delivered high-speed?


Actually, I'll have another croissant. Could I get a plate too?

Jim, the economic argument for a direct Melbourne-to-Brisbane inland freight route is sitting there screaming at us.

Can it go via Sydney?

What? You're missing the point.

What have you got against Sydney?

Nothing! There's already a train that goes via Sydney.

Not a fast one.

But I don't know... Sorry.

I don't know what you want.

(Speaks indistinctly)


I didn't say anything.

No, I didn't hear you.

You had a mouthful of croissant.

I said, 'Very fast train'.

You want a very fast train?

Yeah, now that you mention it.

I didn't mention it -

YOU mentioned it.

I came here with a blank sheet!

It says 'raise VFT' in your diary!


And is that my pen?

Oh, yeah.



Lost something?

I'm doing hazardous materials checklist.


We need to identify anything deemed toxic.

So far I've got drain cleaner and mineral turpentine.

Does flavoured milk count?

Oh! What about this?

What is it?

Not sure, but it's Amanda's.

She left last Easter!

I'd add that to your list.

Hugh, Hugh, don't look now, but I was just walking past Stuart's desk, and he...

I said, 'Don't look now!'


He's on Seek.com.


He's looking for a job?

I guess so.

You don't think that's wrong?

He's probably thinking of the future, down the track.

But he's got a job here that deals in the future.

I guess he doesn't want to get bogged down.

He's been here, what - two months?

It's like someone who's just gotten married looking at a dating site.

I wouldn't know. I'm not married.

Don't go on many dates.

I'm gonna ask him.

On a date?

No, why he's looking for a job when he's already got one.

Are you OK?

Yeah, no, I'm OK.

So, I'll make some introductory remarks, I'll hand it over to you, and then the floor is all yours.


Yeah, so, you'll mention precincts?


I'll take hubs, and just remind me of the phrase again.

Inner Urban Revitalisation Project.

Oh, that's it! Inner Urban... Using?

Compact urban form. It's actually inside. It's a yellow tab.

Compact urban form, and at the end I'll mention the very fast train.


So, you'll mention it.


Do you want me to do it?

No! I said a freight network starting with Melbourne to Brisbane, inland.

Well, it's the same thing.

No, it's completely different.

They're both trains.

But you've made it go three times as fast via Sydney with no freight.

That's a compromise.

Don't raise it, please.



Nat: Hey.


How's it going?

Yeah, good, good.

All under control?


I just thought...

I couldn't help noticing before you were on a job site.

Oh! Yeah, I was just kind of browsing.

I know I shouldn't have been...

It's fine.

It's just, you know, we've got a good team here, and I like to think everyone's happy.

Yeah, for sure!

And there's gonna be any changes or you're thinking of moving on, it always helps to have a bit of warning.

No, really, I've got no plans to leave. It's all good.



Well done, Jim!

Thanks, Dave!

Oh, here's your pen back.

Oh, ta!


I just knew they'd love it.

Yeah, well, 'compact urban form's kind of the buzz phrase of the moment.

No, no, the very fast train.

Oh, I said not to raise that!

Yeah, but did you see their eyes light up?

And didn't they love the name -

Future Tracks?

That's the name we're gonna use for the freight network.

Yeah, they didn't seem as keen on that.

Jim! Great work.

Hey, thanks, mate. Cheers!

People have been trying to get a very fast train up in this country for nearly 50 years.

Well, that's all the more reason to keep going.

And it hasn't got up.

What does that tell you?

We lack vision.

Or else it simply won't work.

Have you ever looked into it?

No, not personally.

Then I don't understand how you can be so negative.


(Elevator doors clunk)

Don't take away the dream!

I got phase one...

Hugh: You got phase...

No, that's... that's different.

No, it's the same one.

You got a colour phase one and I got a black-and-white...

Tony: Are we basically sorted?


Yes. Well, here we go.

As it turns out, the first feasibility study into a very fast train was done in 1982.

And what did that find?

It wasn't feasible.

But in 1990,a more detailed study was done.

Oh! What did that find?

That it definitely wasn't feasible.

Right, so, we can't do a feasibility study.

No, 'cause there's one being done right now.

You're kidding me! Another one?

It'll be interesting what they find.


But I mean, have we ever got past the feasibility study?

I think they might have done a scoping study.

Well, what's the difference?

One's thicker.

It's got graphs and diagrams.

Yeah, but I mean, studies and... scoping...

I mean, have we ever got past that stage?

Uh... no.

Right. Yeah?

Sorry, can I just check, do you know how to operate a de-fiburellator?

No, but I know how to pronounce it, and it's not like that.

What about an epi-pen?

Yeah, sort of.

Great! I'll put you down as assistant first aid officer.


Will you learn how to operate a de-fiburellator?


And we need to have an evacuation drill this week.

Shall we do fire, threat, or emergency unspecified?

What's the difference?

Nothing. We just need to practice leaving the building.


What about Thursday morning?

Isn't it supposed to be random?

Oh, well, it might not happen.


But if it does...

There's a chance it might be Thursday morning.

Nat. I think these are for you.

Oh, thanks.

Oh, actually, Katie, this isn't mine.

You're kidding me!


It's a flight confirmation.

Look who it's for.


No, don't look!

You said look!

Not at him, at this.

He's off to London - one way!

That's nice.

No, it's not.

I spoke to him yesterday.

He looked me in the eye and he told me he had no plans to leave in the short-term.

It's not for six weeks.

His job title is Long-term Logistics!

Well, he's clearly very good at it, booking so far ahead!

He must have got an early bird special.

(Elevator chimes)

Jim! I was just coming to see you.

I was just coming to see you!


Both: Can we talk?

I know you're really keen, but I just don't think we can make a very fast train work.


The numbers just don't stack up.

You've gotta look beyond the numbers. Vision, Tony!

Jim, I...

If we'd listened to the bean-counters, we never would have built the Snowy.

The Snowy was a white elephant!

Are you kidding me?

The Snowy forged this nation!

But I don't think it's ever turned a profit.

Stop it. I'm not even gonna listen to that.

Environmentally it was a disaster!


I did a project on that at school!

It supplies, like, less than 1% of the grid.

Well, what about everything else the Snowy's given us?

That mini-series.

Jim, they're white elephants, just like the very fast train.

The numbers don't stack up!

So, you've looked into it.

Everyone's looked into it.

There's been, like, ten feasibility studies in the last few decades.

What does that tell you?

Stop doing feasibility studies!

Exactly! And what happens next?


If the study says it stinks, we stop.

You can't stop now.

You wouldn't believe the reaction this is getting.

You haven't made an announcement?

Of course not.

But an announcement hasn't been written?



The PM's very keen.

You've told the prime minister?!

The backbenchers are restless.

Seriously, he's gotta come up with some sort of 30-year vision in the next three weeks, or it's...


Oh, he's back!

(Elevator chimes)

I thought the fire drill was on Thursday.


Oh, could be on Thursday.

It's Bec's last day.

Ah! Of course it is.

We've got her a card, and we thought you might like to say a few words.

Indeed I would.

Well, it's a sad day for us all, as Bec...

Red skirt.

There she is.

..as she leaves us for bigger things, and I speak on behalf of the whole NBA family when I wish her the very best.

Thanks, Tony.

I just really wanted you to hear that, Ingrid.


I was speaking to Ingrid. Yeah.

There's cake in the kitchen!

Oh, wow!


There's cake in the...

I said 'skirt', not 'dress'.

What's the difference?

Oh, Katie, I need everybody in the boardroom in about ten minutes.

Is everything OK?

The very fast train, Jim wants to really push ahead with it.


What about Bec?

What about her?

Do you want her in the meeting?

We're about to discuss a project with a 30-year time frame.

And she's here till five.

So, that's a no?

That's a no...

(Fire alarm whoops)

Is that the fire drill?

No, parking inspectors!

Parking inspectors?

OK, look, after you've moved your cars, can we have everyone back, and have some cake, and then in the boardroom?

OK, so, I had a bit of a think last night.

If we're gonna make any headway with this crazy idea, our starting point has to be identifying the rail corridor.


Because that is the crucial first step, and we're going to... do...


Katie: Morning!

Karsten just sent this over.

The Silver Emu.

How did that get done so quick?

I said I didn't want anything drawn!

Well, Amy told Jim, Jim told Rhonda, and Rhonda called Karsten.

Shall I send this over to Rhonda?

No! Hide it.


I don't want Rhonda to see that.

What if she comes looking for it?

Hide it!

(Fire alarm whoops)

Amy, on PA: Attention, all staff.

This is a fire evacuation drill.

Please assemble at the desk of our designated safety warden and await further instructions.

Does anyone remember who our safety warden is?

I think it's Lachie!

Who left two weeks ago.

We could assemble at his old desk.

Come on, everyone, follow me!

Do I need to bring the epi-pen?

Yes, and the de-fiburellator.

We don't have... OK.

It's OK, it's just a drill.

OK, just a little bit longer.

Oh, you're kidding me!

What is it?

Stuart. Just checked my emails.

Guess who's just officially given notice?

I knew it! I knew it.

OK, we can head back up now.

Tony: Alright, we're back on in.

OK. Thank you.

Well done, everyone.

I reckon that went well.

I just feel like I'm spending my entire life interviewing new staff or writing cards for ones who are leaving.

I'm not leaving.

Thank God for that, Hugh, but you know, you must occasionally think about it.




So, where do you see yourself five years from now?

Er, Scott's desk?


He's near the window.

You get to look out.

(Fire alarm whoops)

Parking inspectors!

Parking inspectors, Nat!

My mum's car!

Move, move!

Oh, morning, Tony.

Morning, Amy.

What's with all the cones?

We're identifying tripping hazards.

Oh, I spotted a tripping hazard.


Right here. I mean, you could really...

Oh, they're just temporary.


What? What?

(Video plays on computer)



I reckon enough cones.



You gotta check out this clip on YouTube!

Does it involve a cat?


How cool is that?

It's a prototype from China.

Top speed - 480km/h.

I don't know what the fuss is about.

A commercial aircraft goes at 900.

Yeah, but it doesn't make the noise.

A b*llet train's like vroom!

And a plane's just...

(Mimics droning)

I reckon we get back to work.

Back to work, everyone.

(Alarm blares)

Hey, another clip. Check this out.

Actually, you know what, real work, securing the corridor.

What's that one?

Rhonda alert.

Oh, shit!

Here she comes, here she comes.

Very interesting too...

Oh, Rhonda!

OK. Where is it?

Where's what?

The drawing.

I don't know what you're talking about.

Karsten did a drawing.

He sent it to you.

Not to me. Did he send it to you?

No, I didn't...

Give it to me.

Rhonda, I...

Tony, I've got nothing!

I need something.

I need an announcement.

Yeah, I don't...

Is this what you're looking for, Rhonda?

Ah, thank you!

It was a tripping hazard.

Rhonda, we need to talk about that.

Oooh, yes, we do.

Just give me one minute.


No more YouTube, no more bullshit.

I want hard facts. Scotty!

Got it.

So, where are we at?

Nowhere. Same place we've been for 50 years.

I don't understand why you're being so negative.

I've been doing this job for 20 years, and trust me, every time we announce a very fast train, 95% of Australians are for it.

And the other 5%?

Who are they?

Engineers, economists, experts in transport logistics...

Yeah, the lunatic fringe. Real people love it. So, where are we at?

We're trying to secure the rail corridor between Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne, because if you want to build this thing...

Whoa, whoa, I don't want to build it. I want to launch it.

I'm thinking an ambassador.

Someone to be the face of it!

Who's that person that really loves trains?

I don't know.

You see them on TV all the time.

The Fat Controller.

Tim Fischer!

Does he like trains?

I think we need to keep a lid on this.

No, we need to build a buzz, generate excitement.

Yeah, but I can't afford to have the whole office distracted...

Who wrote the Chattanooga Choo Choo?


Hey, look out there.

You see the excitement in their eyes to be part of nation-building for the future?

The future? Most of them won't be there in six months.

They'll be on a very fast plane to Barcelona!

Tony, we've got the will, we've got designs for a logo.

What's stopping us?

As an expert in this field, how would you react if I said we were thinking of revisiting the very fast train proposal?

It's not a prank.

I realise your study concluded it wasn't viable, but that was many years ago.

OK, two years ago.

But hypothetically, let's say we went up to 600km/h.

Yes, I understand the laws of physics.

Gradient shouldn't be a problem if we've just got to flatten out a few hills.

Yeah, the Blue Mountains, sure.

That's a little more challenging.

No, I understand, but theoretically, if we were to tunnel from Melbourne to Canberra...

No, just go with me on this.

OK, but, sorry, why would we need to fence the line?

To prevent collisions, sure.

We couldn't just put up signs?

Yeah, I realise cats can't read.

I don't work for a breakfast radio show.

OK, so, if we made the fence even higher so the kangaroos couldn't jump it.

OK, how would the wombats get in?

Right, and how would you rank our chances of success?

Oh, that's quite high.

Oh, out of 100.

It's actually very difficult to get the train out of Melbourne.

But after that?

Plain sailing.

Until you hit the Blue Mountains.


Then you got the western suburbs of Sydney - represents some serious challenges.

Seven marginal seats.

I meant engineering challenges.

Yeah, no, I got it.

And then there's the question of getting the train out of Sydney.

When do we get to Brisbane?

In about four pages.

We spoke to every expert we could find.

Should I mention the wildlife issues? It's not just kangaroos.

No, it doesn't matter.

Look, even with the craziest of assumptions - petrol at $7 a litre, airfares tripled, a congestion tax in all the capital cities...

The numbers still don't stack up.

There's no silver b*llet.

Actually, that's a really good name.

Gonna have to break the news to Jim.

I might need the defibrillator.

Look at the map! Look at the map!

How can you say no to this?

I'm saying that from here to here, a train would work!

From there to there a train would work, there to there, but not from there to there to there!

But look at the connectivity from Brisbane all...

It's bringing Australia together!

It's building the nation!

It's worked there!

That's Japan!

It's worked there, it's worked there!


And look at it!

That's an artist's impression, Jim, and that doesn't say anything about all the problems we've got to resolve.

Don't let the problems stand in the way, 'cause you know where every problem is, there's a solution right around the corner.

I'm getting an ice-cream headache.

Even if we resolved all the engineering and environmental problems, the distances are simply too great!

You've gotta give me something.

Look at it! The Silver Emu!

It's so close, I can hear it.

(Mimics steam engine)

That's a steam train, Jim.

Jim, are you alright?

There must be something we can announce!

Yeah, well, we can't announce a feasibility study.

Are you sure?

Or a scoping study.

What's that?

It's the same thing, only thicker with graphs and diagrams.

That sounds good.

It's only going to tell us what we know - a very fast train won't work.

We won't know that until the report's finished.

We know that now.

Not officially, and they don't know that we know.

Who's 'they'?

The naysayers!

But they know we know they know we know.

What? Can we just move this thing forward?

(Speaks indistinctly)

If you opened your mouth, I might...

Until the election.

Oh! Sorry.


I get it.



I haven't said anything yet.

Just being supportive.

We announce that we're going to set up an authority.

An authority!

The Federal High-Speed Rail Authority, the FHSR.

The FHSR. What do they do?

Well, what we're doing, but over a longer time frame.

And they'll be within your...

They'll be within yours!

I can supply some staff - they won't last long - but it'll be a stand-alone authority, and they do a targeted study.


And they have to look at acquiring the pieces of land that will secure the rail corridor, but over a long time frame, so it's virtually meaningless.

I need to make some calls.

Can I borrow...


And your office...


..as well.


I can't guarantee anyone's gonna buy it!

Man: It's the ultimate in speedy rail travel...

For a fast train link...

Woman: High-speed rail network is finally on track.

Man: Including Canberra, Sydney, and Brisbane.

Man: 360km/h. Quick, cheap, and relaxing alternative...

The trains will carry 54 million passengers...

Sounds awesome!

I wish we had it now.

Man: It really is the future of public transport.

I'm gonna be perfectly frank with everyone.

Sometime this authority is forced to go down a road not of our choosing.

Sometimes we're asked to look into ideas that are - well, let's just say somewhat flawed.

Is this turning the rivers inland?

Kimberley Canal!

It's not a game.

Sunshine Coast International Airport?

Yeah, not public knowledge, Amy.


The major problem we face is distance.

Over 600km, the economics get pretty difficult.

Over 750,virtually impossible.

So, that gets us from Melbourne to Bowral.

Then what?

Visit the Bradman Museum?

No, how do we get to Sydney?

To Sydney - and then Brisbane's another 900 plus, and then you've got parks and tunnels.

I mean, there's a lot of problems that have to be solved.

Like what do we call the train.

Something grand like The Southern Lightning.

Or the Southern Streak.

Isn't that a netball team?

What's our fastest animal?


Is it?

For sure. They fly along.

Yeah, but I think the emu might be faster.


Oooh, the Silver Emu!

How do you know that?

About the emu?


There's that song. (Hums)

(All hum)

♪ He can't fly, but I'm telling you ♪
♪ He can run the pants off a kangaroo ♪

(All hum)

♪ Take a look and he'll prove to you ♪
♪ He can run the pants off a kangaroo! ♪