Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Brisbane: Viva Brisvegas

Image: AAP

Yassmin Abdel-Magied and the banana-benders of Brisbane would, in the friendliest way, like to disagree with Melbourne pipping their city in the friendly stakes…


Some of you may have read PB’s Melbourne v Sydney: Torn between two cities – feeling like a fool… piece on TBS in follow up to his recent visit to his ole hometown Melbourne (read it if you haven’t already!)

Quite randomly, in the week following this Melbourne was voted as both the world’s friendliest city in a survey undertaken by Conde Nast Traveler magazine and, for the fourth year running, the world’s most liveable city in Economist Intelligence Unit’s liveability survey of 140 cities.


Following this we did  a shout out to our writers as a challenge to put their own cities up for contention…and today it’s Yassmin Abdel-Magied standing tall for the Bris-vegans of Brisbane.


Melbourne the friendliest city?

I may have a couple of things to say about that…

Yes, the place has great food, intriguing alleyways and awesome graffiti.

Sure, the comedy festival is the baaawmb, even the children are stylish and the theatre is always packed out…

But friendliest?

This banana bender begs to differ.

Brisbane (and Queensland more generally), ladies and gentlemen, is clearly where it is at. No list of friendly cities is complete without mentioning Brisbane (or Brisvegas, as it is known to locals).

It’s a little underrated at times, but this river city has come into its own, and its place on the list won’t be due to only having good places to eat.

Firstly, the weather is unparalleled.  Apart from a spat of flooding a few years ago, it’s sunshine and fairies most days. In fact, part of the reason my parents chose to move to Brisbane when they migrated from Sudan is the weather.  How can you argue against that? Winter is mild and summer is fabulous.  You can’t have a friendly city without some friendly sun rays brightening up the day.  Melbournians might be cool, but so is their weather and even they can’t refute the fact that said weather is about as consistent as federal government policy…

Secondly, Brisbanites are awesome people.  There is none of the hardcore busy-ness that afflicts Sydney, rendering their citizens with sour faces and no apology when they bump into you on the street. We like colour, shying away from the unfriendly all-black attire that Melbournians seem to favour.  We make conversation with people on the buses and trains, we help each other out in times of strife and we support our neighbours when they need it most.  It’s no surprise that after the 2011 floods, there were traffic jams going INTO Brisbane because so many people wanted to help out…

Thirdly, we’re winners. Sure, this year was the first time after eight straight State of Origin wins that we lost the rugby, but we felt a little sorry for the blues.

There is no denying Brisvegas’s pedigree, and winners are always friendly – because we know we’re on top.



Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Yassmin Abdel-Magied is the president and founder of Youth Without Borders, an organisation that empowers young people to positively change their communities. She serves on various boards and councils and works as an engineer on oil and gas rigs.

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