Macklin / Concentrating on the things that matter

“Little wonder the OECD recently declared the ACT the best place to live in Australia, if not the world. And this week we had a lot to celebrate,” writes Seven Days columnist ROBERT MACKLIN

ONE of the joys of living in Canberra is the sense of community that puts political differences aside to concentrate on the things that matter. Successive governments from both sides of the aisle have kept that community spirit paramount.

Little wonder the OECD recently declared the ACT the best place to live in Australia, if not the world.

And this week we had a lot to celebrate.

Nick Kyrgios’ fantastic performance at Wimbledon – and the family’s delight – really hit home. Nick is one of the new breed of Australian tennis champs – half Malaysian, half Greek and all Canberran. He and Bernard Tomic personify a fascinating break from the Anglo stars of the past, the Hoads, Rosewalls, Newcombes and Hewitts.

And what a happy coincidence that the new $27 million Lyneham sports centre will allow him to relocate his training from Melbourne while setting Canberra up for a Davis Cup tie.

Mohammed Ali and Chief Minister Katy Gallagher at the Ramadan dinner… nice example of community spirit. Photo by Andrew Finch

Mohammed Ali and Chief Minister Katy Gallagher at the Ramadan dinner… nice example of community spirit. Photo by Andrew Finch

CHIEF MINISTER Katy Gallagher’s decision to join Canberra’s Muslim community to break their fast on the fifth day of Ramadan was another nice example of community spirit. While the Middle East was exploding in the flames of sectarian hatred, Muslims originally from India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Turkey attended the event. You can’t get much more Canberran than that.

AND where else would you find a “Gentleman” as a Government Minister? Mick of the eponymous surname was elevated by Ms Gallagher this week with his portfolio Minister for Planning,Community Services, Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing.

Coincidentally his Tuggeranong electorate, via its community council, declared itself opposed to the light rail project.  It said the tram line would impose an “excessive cost” on nappy valley while the benefits would be a long time coming. Surprise, surprise.

CANBERRA’S schools are among the recipients of Rolf Harris paintings. And after his precipitous fall from grace, most have removed them from the premises. Chapman Primary, for example, has sent theirs back to the ACT Education Department, the nominal owner, to dispose of as they think fit.

Harris is headed for five years nine months in the pokey – if he survives that long – but I suspect the enthusiasm they brought to his prosecution had much to do with the Brits not being able to make the disgusting Jimmy Saville pay for his crimes.

MAYBE our cold winters are another factor in drawing us together. Lots of families introduced their kids to snow at Corin Forest, but it was not all joy and jingle bells; those twin tragedies of the seven-year-old child buried in a snowfall and the snowboarder frozen to death were timely reminders of our human frailty.

GREAT to hear from Mesdames Giulia Jones and Vicki Dunne that they’ll reveal their plan to save Fyshwick’s scarlet women from their fate next month, despite sex worker Elena Jeffreys spurning their efforts. “Sex work is not a political hobby horse for bored politicians,” she cried. “And sex workers are not Dunne or Jones’ rescue project.”

And after they toured the world in their quest! Oh, the ingratitude!

robert@robertmacklin.com

 

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