Canberra Confidential / Karl launches from next door

IN faraway, unloved Tuggeranong, untroubled by government promises of squillion-dollar trams, Labor candidate Karl Maftoum,  battles impossible odds to get elected to the southern seat of Brindabella.

5. Karl Maftoum, Elias Hallaj and Himmat Sandhu

Karl Maftoum.

In what seemed like a delightful gesture of detente, he announced his campaign launch at the Town Centre Vikings Club on September 17, clearly prepared to walk the gauntlet of the ClubsACT anti-government campaign posters festooning the foyer.

But, no. He lost his nerve and, rather oddly, will launch his bid to be elected in Brindabella at the unaligned Kambah Burns Club (of which he is a director) across the electoral boundary in the new seat of Murrumbidgee.

Poor Karl had no choice if he were to host the embattled Chief Minister, given there isn’t a club venue in all of Tuggeranong that isn’t supporting the “Don’t Let ACT Labor Destroy Your Club” campaign that targets directly Andrew Barr.  

Ponytail tale or two

ADMIRATION for a young woman with the hair-loss disorder alopecia has inspired Harmony Carroll, 10, to donate some of her long hair.

Ten-year-old Harmony Carroll with her hair donation.

Ten-year-old Harmony Carroll with her hair donation.

The children’s charity, Variety’s Princess Charlotte Alopecia Program, takes donations of hair to be made into wigs to help instil confidence, independence and self-esteem for children with alopecia.

“From watching ‘BTN’ [‘Behind The News’ on ABC3], I learned about alopecia and how it can affect girls and boys and it made me think about what it would be like if I had no hair,” said Harmony, a Year 5 student at Bungendore Public School.

“I thought the girl, Stef, who has alopecia and was reporting about it, was really brave and so confident. I decided to get my hair cut especially.

“I told the hairdresser and they thought it was very sweet. They braided my hair and I was very excited. Mum was very proud of me.”

Bungendore salon Cuts on Gibraltar senior stylist Britt Godfrey said on average the salon collected about three such donations a week.

“We are a member of Sustainable Salon Australia, which recovers and reuses salon specific waste, such as hair, paper, plastics,” Ms Godfrey said.

“Hair lengths from 10cm long can be used for wig making and even the cut hair on the ground is collected and used.”

Meanwhile, Harmony’s younger sister Isabella, 9, has also donated a braided length of hair.

Both girls said they encouraged their friends and other children to consider helping out when they next get haircuts.

Girt by Jennifer

JENNIFER Burgess, who is visiting relatives in Downer, has sprung to the defence of the national anthem after a letter writer (CN, August 18) bemoaned the lyrics (“For we are young and free”) were ageist.

She declared her interest in that Scotsman Peter Dodds McCormick, who wrote the anthem, was married to a relative of hers.

“The anthem’s words are about a beautiful country written by a man who migrated to Australia in 1855 and loved the country so much he brought the rest of his family to settle here,” Jennifer coos.

“While some think the words are old style, it fades in respect of Japan’s national anthem, which has words written in 794AD and set to music about the time our anthem was written.”

But “girt by sea”, Jennifer?

Billable trills from Becky

THE Groundhog Day that is Floriade has something new; a Sydney publicist.

Clearly the government thinks the work is beyond the barkers in Canberra in an election year and sent the contract off to faraway Surry Hills, where Magnum & Co’s account manager and “culture specialist” (no, really) Rebecca Clark trills across the border that “the final countdown is on – with something for everyone”. Everyone except a Canberra publicist.

Dog-poo trees

HERE’S the strangest of Canberra’s urban rituals – bagged dog poo hanging from trees.

Campbell snout (and aspiring Liberal candidate for Kurrajong) Brooke Curtin bemoans that on the Mt Ainslie bushwalking track behind the Australian War Memorial there are plastic bags of dog excrement hanging from the trees.

“Thank you, to the owners for collecting it,” says sardonic Brooke, offering to help owners dispose of it thoughtfully.

Then there’s the, ahem, problem of walkers caught short because there’s not a public toilet within “coo wee of the track or the barbecue area at the base obliging many a walker to have to relief themselves kangaroo style”. We’re not sure what style that is, but concur there’s a need for a toilet and a garbage bin. Come on Brooke, make the pre-election promise.

Blaming the big bottleos

HAVING backflipped on reducing opening hours or licence times for clubs and pubs, or increases to licence fees above inflation in his war on alcohol-related harm, Chief Minister Andrew Barr is now singling out big-barn bottle shops for a bigger lick of licence fees.

Writing to the industry, he accuses large-scale, very high turnover, big-discount off-licences of contributing “most directly” to the problems of binge drinking and pre-loading. How he comes to this startling conclusion is not entirely explained, but he promises to write again “shortly with the changes I will propose at the ACT election”.

The gas man cometh

SO, an ActewAGL customer gets a letter midway last month saying the meter reader has been unable to get access to his gas meter, which is odd because it sits unencumbered and easily available on his front lawn.

Despite the letter urging the client to call within the week and organise a a reading, the same day an account is issued with an estimate of the household’s gas useage.

Which is okay, until two days later a second bill, exactly the same in every sense save for the “estimate” being less and the bill a useful $140 lighter, arrives in the mail. What to do, which to pay?

So bewildered customer dutifully phones the service centre to be nonchalantly told that actually his meter had been read and that the letter was a computer glitch blighting, it seems, many other customers. It still doesn’t explain the two “estimate” accounts. But such is a virtual monopoly and, subject to them not tripping over the meter, they’ll have it all sorted – up or down – for the next bill.

 

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