Welsh / Beating Laurie to another notch on his belt

“Pardon the crustacean pun, but becoming the ‘new’ Oakes may be a sideways career step for the talented Crabb,” writes Seven Days columnist MIKE WELSH

THE retirement of the Canberra Press Gallery giant Laurie Oakes has unearthed many of the classic yarns Oakes told over his 50-year career. One though, the Cheryl Kernot/Gareth Evans affair, which Oakes revealed on National Nine news in July 2002, stands out.

Mike Welsh

Mike Welsh.

Oakes has never claimed an exclusive on the story (apparently, everyone knew) but a few hours before his large belt was to gain another notch, my former colleague Mike Jeffreys, and Crikey.com.au founder Stephen Mayne, became the first to let the cat out of the bag on local radio 2CC. Some things the public does have a right to (Ker)know.

THE “Strewth” column in “The Australian” has provided a form guide on the large field of potential contenders to replace Oakes and it would appear a woman is the best man for the job. Annabel Crabb has emerged as an early favourite. Seven’s political chief Mark Riley and the ABC’s Chris Uhlmann joined Sky News anchors Kieran Gilbert and David Speers on the second line of betting.

Outsiders for the gig include Seven’s senior reporter Chris Reason and former “Australian Women’s Weekly” editor, Helen McCabe. If you like a long shot, 2GB’s Ben Fordham could be the smokie.

STILL on Ms Crabb, her latest TV offering “The House” (ABC, Tuesdays at 8pm) demonstrates the 2013 Silver Logie winner’s (most popular new female talent) unique range.

Seamlessly segueing from breaking bread with polished politicians in their kitchens to taking the nation on a behind-the-scenes tour of Parliament House suggests a seriously trusted performer.

Pardon the crustacean pun, but becoming the “new” Oakes may be a sideways career step for the talented Crabb.

ACT Liberal senator Zed Seselja fears Christians and other religious believers could be persecuted for resisting change in the same-sex marriage debate.

In an email to the electorate Seselja, who will be voting no, says: “Now is the time for those of us with shared values to speak up for our beliefs firmly and respectfully in the public debate and to hold to our convictions”.

The senator also predicts a one-sided media campaign citing bias for the “yes” vote in most coverage and commentary to date.

DISCRETION will be key for public servants using social media if they wish to keep their jobs. New guidelines issued by the Australian Public Service Commission warn “anything you say in public or which ends up in public” represents public comment and could breach employment conditions.

Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood says: “The rules don’t strike the right balance between protecting impartiality of the public servants and allowing everyday participation in democratic debate.”

STILL on social media and cordial relations between two Canberra AFL clubs were threatened after a prank, involving the burning of the guernsey of one club by a player from the other, was filmed and posted on social media.

IT was standing room only at Wednesday’s “Politics in the Pub” at the Civic Pub in Braddon. Labor senator Sam Dastyari casually plonked on a barstool and, with a few beers on board, shared entertaining political insights including former Labor leader Kevin Rudd’s multiple personalities.

The pre-eminent practitioner of the pub test was in hipster territory flogging his new book “One Halal of a Story”. Due to a large turn out many, including Reclaim Australia supporters who threatened to disrupt the event, were locked out. To the troublemakers, Dastyari cleverly twisted the highly offensive, far-right bumper sticker telling them to eff off, we’re full.

ON the other hand, I recently failed a pub test. Propping up the bar at a suburban Melbourne hotel before the Carlton/Essendon game on August 5 I was randomly approached by a crew from Channel 7’s new footy show “The Front Bar” seeking my thoughts for its “Pub Test” segment. Sadly, my astute and highly entertaining contribution to the AFL TV footy show war remains on the cutting room floor.

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