Welsh / Monitoring the poppin’ during the boppin’

STRIVING to maintain its mantle as a progressive jurisdiction the ACT will trial a pill-testing program at the Spilt Milk music festival in November. Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris says “while the government does not condone drug use” the groundbreaking, free, anonymous service means “young people who are considering taking drugs can be informed about what’s really in their pills and how potent they are”.

Mike Welsh

Mike Welsh.

AN iconic luxury hotel is coming to Canberra. In fact it may already be here. Making the bold claim is Geocon MD Nick Georgalis after purchasing the West Block building in the Parliamentary Triangle from the Federal government. Georgalis plans to restore the historic building to “the most famous hotel in Australia” and “one of those ‘must see’ icons when people visit Australia’s national capital, like Raffles in Singapore or George V in Paris”.

The developer, who recently also purchased the Garema Centre building, says of the latest acquisition: “We want Australians to have maximum opportunity to enjoy its history, as they are able to do with Old Parliament House.”

THE embarrassing “lowest crowd in professional era” headline following the Wallabies win over Argentina at Canberra Stadium, could have been even more humiliating if not for a concerted “complimentary” ticket campaign. One local was bemused when collecting her free double pass to be told that she could have more, “stacks more, if she wanted”. Stack being the operative word as there was a very tall pile of complimentary tickets waiting to be collected.

A CANBERRA teenager has become the pin-up for the “No” campaign after being sacked for posting support for the “It’s OK to say No” campaign. The 18-year-old Christian says she was punted from her casual job as children’s entertainer by the business owner who told her in promoting the “No” vote she was homophobic and spreading hate speech.

UNSURPRISINGLY, another Canberra connection to the divisive SSM survey debate has gone national with former prime minister Tony Abbott endorsing Brindabella Christian College’s right to campaign for a “No” vote. College principal Bruce Handley sent a four-page letter to parents “out of love and for love” urging them to become involved and vote no. But ACT Education Minister Yvette Berry has cautioned schools to respect LGBTIQ members of their community. Abbott says Berry is out of line: “If Woolworths and Qantas can speak their mind without anyone bullying them, why can’t Brindabella speak its mind without anyone bullying them”.

THE fight in the dog in the fight is about to be tested as the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club vows to continue its fight to prevent a ban on the sport in the ACT. But CM Andrew Barr remains determined to uphold the ban vowing not to “do a Mike Baird”. Barr says he won’t follow the former NSW Premier’s lead of backflipping on a greyhound ban and then promptly leaving politics. Although the political “dogs are barking” that only 50 per cent of Barr’s pledge will be honoured.

MEANTIME, the shadow minister for gaming and racing, Mark Parton, has put a fruitful “gap in his manners” in the Assembly. The former radio man has greatly enhanced his burgeoning reputation as either Liberal Leader Alistair Coe’s “head-kicker” or an instinctive political operator. Parton questioned a “selective” inclusionism fostered by the Barr government which he said “failed straight, white males over the age of 30”.

STARVED of finals action since 2011, the UC Capitals basketball team is looking to the new season with confidence with star US import Jordan Hooper, fresh from a season with the WNBA Chicago Sky touching down. The 25-year-old power forward from Nebraska, who made the All-American team in 2014, says she appreciates another chance to play in Australia after a stint with the South East Queensland Stars two years ago.

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