Seven Days: Week that blew hot and cold, wet and dry

ROBERT MACKLIN: “No-one can say we’re not doing our bit for the climate with the announcement of a 90 per cent target of renewable energy by 2020.”

HOW good for the soul it’s been to hear that gentle patter of rain on the roof this week, especially after one of the hottest summers on record. The excellent start to autumn ended our only mini-drought in the last three years. The place looks a picture. Makes you wonder if climate change might have winners as well as losers.

Not that extra rain in Canberra will make up for the terrible consequences of a warming planet, especially to our pockets, as Canberra’s own former Treasury Secretary Ken Henry noted in a powerful ABC interview.

Robert Macklin

Robert Macklin

Henry and predecessor Bernie Fraser backed another of Canberra’s wise men, Ross Garnaut, in his calculations of Tony Abbott’s “direct action” plan: $3.4 billion the Government has set aside for the entire shooting match against $4-$5 billion each year if we’re to meet our agreed reduction target. That’s scary.

NO-ONE can say we’re not doing our bit for the climate with the announcement by Simon Corbell of a 90 per cent target of renewable energy in our fair city by 2020. But again, there are winners and losers. At least one poor soul, Ms Jennifer Howlett, has had the occasional evening tipple on her Royalla verandah ruined by the glare from a nearby solar array. And some people find wind turbines aesthetically offensive… the Don Quixotes of the 21st century

SUNSHINE and showers for Tony Abbott this week with a smashing win in Tasmania and a swing in SA. But with the last few Adelaide votes to count it looks like Katy Gallagher will avoid becoming the senior elected Labor figure in the nation.

And now “The Financial Review’s” Laura Tingle has uncovered a ginger group of Joe Hockey agitators in the Parliament – shades of the Howard/Costello and Hawke/Keating rivalry.

Monday’s “March in March” on Parliament was directed mostly against Tony; and even our own ACT Liberal leader, Jeremy Hanson, saw which way the wind was blowing and decided to vote against a Party motion endorsing public service cuts – a treasured plank in the Abbott electoral platform.

SPEAKING of wind and weather, this week saw the publication of a fabulous book, “100 Canberra Houses” by Tim Reeves and Alan Roberts that shows how we’ve sheltered from them for the last 100 years.

It even contains pix of the 1918 Molonglo Internment Camp where 3500 German nationals were housed in the charge of Brig. Reginald Spencer Browne, the Scott Morrison of his day. Compared with Manus and Nauru they were luxury!

ABC announcer Ralph Bain pictured in 1981 at 5AN Adelaide.

ABC announcer Ralph Bain pictured in 1981 at 5AN Adelaide.

A SAD farewell Friday to ABC and latterly Parliamentary announcer, Ralph Bain, a gentle man in all senses. A few years ago the two of us devised a game show called “Cashino”, a combination of luck and general knowledge based on blackjack.

We made a “pilot” at the ABC studios in which Ralph played the compere and my wife and eldest son contestants. It would have worked brilliantly, except that Ralph’s patter was so hilarious we kept breaking the tension with gales of laughter.

He called me from the hospital’s ICU a few hours before he signed off. It was an honour to know him.



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