Macklin / Chaos to get those corpuscles racing

“Why is everyone so anti-Canberra? And only seven months after those centenary celebrations designed to remind Australia of the importance of this heart of the nation,” writes Seven Days columnist ROBERT MACKLIN

NOTHING like a dash of chaos to get those red corpuscles racing on these cold winter days. And this week we had tumult aplenty. In the Big House Tony and Clive faced off; Clive confused everybody, including his own Senate leader, Glenn Lazarus the former “brick with eyes” now risen from the sporting dead. Tony just fumed.

Robert Macklin.

Robert Macklin.

And all over the repeal of the sensible carbon tax in which they were both in furious agreement! Mind you, with Eric Abetz running a “charm offensive” with the cross benchers almost anything could happen (and probably will).

CANBERRA attracted its share of the pandemonium with more calls for the dispersal of public servants to the four corners of the nation, the latest from Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie. He went further and demanded the city be stripped of its raison d’etre as the nation’s admin capital. “There is no logical reason,” he said, “why the ACT should be the centre of gravity for the Federal public service.”

Why is everyone so anti-Canberra? And only seven months after those centenary celebrations designed to remind Australia of the importance of this heart of the nation.

CHAOS too in foreign affairs with the PM embracing his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe with heart-warming memories of those brave Japanese marines in the mini-subs attacking Sydney in 1942.

Certainly the elephant in the room – our principal trading partner,  China – hasn’t forgotten. A spokesman said: “[Mr Abbott] probably wasn’t aware that the Japanese troops possessed other ‘skills’ to loot, to rape, to torture and to kill.”

Understandable perhaps that Tony brushed from history’s pages the horrors of Sandakan, Changi and the Burma railway, but if not one then why the other? Perhaps his 37 spin doctors felt they had to include some “research” to earn their annual $4.3 million pay cheque.

TURMOIL too in that endless debate about light rail. The Libs struck a telling blow with the revelation that only 10 per cent of Canberrans would be within walking distance of it. Simon Corbell’s response that they could build it all on weekends set the rafters ringing.

A much better idea, perhaps, would be to plan for a city of non-polluting electric cars – same green result at a fraction of the cost.

A REAL ethical dilemma for Katy Gallagher this week in deciding whether to release a list of Mr Fluffy homes. The real estate agents need to know what they’re selling, but once the toxic material has been removed the poor owners don’t want to be disadvantaged. News that the Planning Authority is developing a search line for residents to discover whether their house is affected complicates the issue further. Potential buyers – and agents – would surely find a way to access it.

I wonder whether the solution might be to reveal the list but compensate the owners to market value when the homes are sold.

THE highlight of NAIDOC week was the Canberra premiere at the CSIRO of Andrew Pike’s and Ann McGrath’s wonderful doco, “Message From Mungo”, about early Aboriginal habitation at the ancient lake. As one viewer wrote – “profound, radical and totally engaging; every Australian should see it”. An absolute natural for ABC TV.

robert@robertmacklin.com

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