Macklin / The week the boots got kicking

“The claim that 40kph suburban speed limits across Canberra makes for safer travel by cyclists and pedestrians has yet to be demonstrated, but let’s make sure of it. Let’s ban cars altogether,” says Seven Days columnist ROBERT MACKLIN

WHAT a week! The High Court kicks the chaplains out of our proudly secular schools, the Feds attack our public servants’ sacred 4.51 knock-off time, a local Liberal gets kicked out of a branch meeting for supporting light rail, Australia gets kicked out of the soccer World Cup and worst of all, the lovely Tash gets kicked out of “Masterchef”.

And they say Canberra is dull. Forget it. Canberra is where it all happens.

Robert Macklin.

Robert Macklin.

THE fact that those chaplains have been peddling their goods in our public schools is a reflection of the odd make-up of Parliament where recently there’s been a bigger proportion of God-bothering leaders than in the wider community.

Kevin Rudd as PM gave a doorstop as he left church each Sunday; and the Abbott front bench is replete with enough Catholics to start their own diocese.

Now it’s up to the States and Territories to fund the Christians if they wish. Frankly I can’t see it happening in our fair city.

THE 451 issue is a hottie. No coincidence perhaps that it’s the Fahrenheit temperature at which books burst into flames, according to the 1966 movie masterpiece.

Not that I expect our public servants to spontaneously ignite, but it’s part of a trend to transform the service to the private enterprise mode. And it’s without the slightest public debate.

Do we really want the highly politicised American system? Some of our wisest men are against it, towering figures such as Allan Hawke who also opposes the ridiculous annual “bonus” that only encourages the lickspittles.

THE light rail debate is also heating up, but do the Libs really want to shut down dissenting voices from their own ranks? Sure, Damien Haas is a lobbyist for the project, but the NSW branch lays out the welcome mat for hordes of them at the highest levels.

AND what, pray, is the difference between a lobbyist and a Green politician like Shane Rattenbury whose latest ministerial idea is to encourage the Nanny State folly of 40kph suburban speed limits across Canberra.

The claim that this makes for safer travel by cyclists and pedestrians has yet to be demonstrated, but let’s make sure of it. Let’s ban cars altogether. Of course, we’d then have to reduce bicycle speeds… and what about the people who run too fast and might bump into an old gentleman with a cane. In fact, we should probably ban canes, because you never know…

SAD that our Tash Shan got the heave-ho from that TV cooking comp. However, there was something very odd about the show this week when the protégé of guest chef Marco – after 30 years’ experience – failed to get his dish ready in time and thus handed an immunity pin to the cute little Italian lass. He missed by only five seconds, but left with his reputation intact. Gee, what a magical outcome.

AND to all those fans who objected to my calling soccer a cheat-fest, here’s a direct quote from Socceroo Tim Cahill reporting his on-field dialogue with Chilean left-back Eugenio Mena: “I called him a cheat and he said, “Yes, I’m a cheat, so what?’”

M’lud, my case rests.

robert@robertmacklin.com

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