Robert Macklin: Go home, stop giving us a bad name!

“Amendments to the racial vilification laws were so outrageous they even awakened Zed Seselja from his senatorial slumbers,” says ROBERT MACKLIN

DON’T you sometimes wish our parliamentarians would take their business elsewhere and stop giving Canberra a bad name?

Robert Macklin

Robert Macklin

This week Attorney-General George Brandis seemed to be chasing a change of portfolio to Minister for Bigotry. His amendments to the racial vilification laws were so outrageous they even awakened Zed Seselja from his senatorial slumbers. “Too broad,” cried Zed.

Happily, the ACT Greens’ Shane Rattenbury, who beneath his many hats is Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, decided to propose our own law to keep us all pure in word (if not thought). Alas, it doesn’t apply to those blow-ins on The Hill.

PM Tony Abbott then trumped Gentleman George with his own corker: the return of knights and dames to our honours list. His fellow Parliamentarians – and most of the nation – didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Those of us with long memories recalled a similar situation in the mid-1960s when we were about to change to decimals and Prime Minister Robert Menzies wanted to call the new Australian currency “the Royal”. Australia erupted. Fortunately, his Treasurer Harold Holt was able to persuade the dear old chap that the dollar was a little more preferable. No one in Abbott’s government, it seems, has the same intestinal fortitude. Arch republican Malcolm Turnbull folded like a punctured balloon.

WHAT a pity the departing Quentin Bryce, who so recently broke with the monarchists in publicly promoting an Australian head of state, should have blotted her republican copybook as she bade farewell. Seems you can take the girl out of Queensland but you can’t take Queensland out of the Dame.

OUR own glitterati didn’t exactly cover themselves with glory either this week with the “Four Corners” revelations of questionable dealings with a shady Indian antiques dealer. NGA director Ron Radford went missing while the brouhaha echoed around the Gallery walls.

Ron, as we know, is leaving his post in September (unless, of course, ill health or accumulated leave intervenes). But that has absolutely nothing to do with his acquisition of “The Dancing Shiva” from Indian conman Subhash Kaboor now awaiting trial in jail. No, seriously…

By week’s end a government “leak” strongly suggested Shiva would be dancing her way back to India even before Ron gets his skates on.

ANDREW Barr’s sudden discovery that “recession” was looming was equally unimpressive. Bleating is not an option, Andrew. Did you really not see the Abbott/Hockey steamroller coming down the track?

NICE to see Telstra taking up the Civic employment slack with the 1000 workers who will man (or woman) their new Mort Street operation. Add the recently announced free Wi-Fi in Civic and we really are wired for sound.

Let’s hope they assign someone to stop those scam artists calling endlessly for NAB account details. We endured at least 150 and they seemed impervious to our protests. Goodness knows what America’s NSA electronic spy team made of our Australian scatology scorching the airwaves.

A SWEETER final note with a peek at Canberra Philo’s rehearsal at their newly renovated Fyshwick digs for their forthcoming production of “Cabaret”. Those Nazis certainly knew a thing or two about bigotry. The Philo will lay them in the aisles.


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