Macklin / Will the Feds dig deep for toxic Mr Fluffy?

“Reaction to the asbestos scandal should be a lesson to the ACT Government in selling its light rail project,” writes Seven Days columnist ROBERT MACKLIN

MR Fluffy – such a gentle name for so searing a tragedy. Suddenly to find your home is not only toxic but worth so much less is a real shocker for too many Canberrans.

Robert Macklin.

Robert Macklin.

At first the contagion appeared confined to a relatively tight area; now it seems to be spread across most of the older suburbs with almost 2000 homes affected.

Clearly, it’s a non-partisan issue and it was good to see Lib Leader Jeremy Hanson proposing a $5 million fund to combat the problem; but according to the Government, that’s chicken feed compared to the real costs.

So, what will the Feds contribute since the asbestos insulation took place under their watch? Good luck with that, Katy.

REACTION to the asbestos scandal should be a lesson to the ACT Government in selling its light rail project. Not much point making the case for the initial link to Gungahlin when all Canberrans will be asked to foot the bill. And to compare our sprawling metropolis to tightly packed Singapore, Mr Barr, just doesn’t pass the pub test.

SO what was the Falstaffian figure of Clive Palmer really up to in his amazing double act with Al Gore in the Great Hall? Simple – Clive has made his fortune by picking up assets from rivals who have messed up. So when PM Tony Abbott spent all his remaining political capital on that egregious budget, Clive swooped. Now Abbott has repealed the carbon tax (which hardly anyone noticed in their cost of living) and proved himself a climate change reactionary (to his eternal shame) while Clive is sitting pretty and setting the agenda for an ETS… sometime.

MEANTIME, the real Falstaff (as it were) was making his final outrageous exit on the stage of the Canberra Playhouse in the liveliest “Henry V” production from Bell Shakespeare to have graced our stage in a long while. Bravo, Mr Bell.

WHAT is it about politicians and flight stewards? Kevin Rudd fell foul of one in the VIP flight and it haunted him for years; now this week a review copy of “Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant” by Owen Beddall reached our desk with this to say on page 23: “Once I was on a flight with Tony Abbott – who has since become Australia’s Prime Minister – before I knew who he was. He was no better: loud, self-assured and smirky. When we served him he was rude and dismissive”. Golly.

MORE seriously, the call for a Federal anti-corruption agency is gathering steam. Revelations on “Four Corners” this week of election funding shenanigans with both major parties playing ducks and drakes with the law were deeply disturbing.

This is sad. Since federation we have been blessed with prime ministers from both sides of the tracks who would never condone a hint of financial impropriety. And when one of them – Gough Whitlam, of all people – went cap in hand to Iraq’s Ba’ath Party for half a million bucks even his closest friends were bemused and outraged.

STILL waiting, Mesdames Giulia Jones and Vicki Dunne for that $35,000 escape plan for those poor Fyshwick filles de joie. Come on ladies – out with it!

robert@robertmacklin.com

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