Welsh / The second banana whips up a storm at the ball

“How did Barnaby Joyce, once described as a ‘mad, old uncle’, get a serious stockwhip past the House’s tight security?” wonders Seven Days columnist MIKE WELSH

SECOND banana Barnaby Joyce’s bizarre entrance to the Mid-Winter Ball posed several obvious questions, none of which of course can ever be answered.

Mike Welsh

Mike Welsh.

Was the Akubra-wearing, whip-cracking Nats’ Leader’s display a “subtle” assertion of his authority for the benefit of Liberal Party room rebels or just another example of Joyce’s famous weirdness? And how Joyce, once described as a “mad, old uncle”, got a serious stockwhip past the House’s tight security is yet another question.

JOYCE’S hijinks mattered little though as the night belonged to frocks. Particularly those worn by senators Pauline Hanson, Jacqui Lambie and the now undisputed Queen of the Ball, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who turned heads and stunned snappers at the event, which is rapidly challenging the Brownlow Medal and Logies’ red carpets for prominence. The annual event, organised by the Press Gallery, raised a record $350,000 for charity.

Fence warning for the kangaroo cull.

IF you thought the annual ACT Eastern Grey kangaroo cull was a quiet affair this year then you’d be right. Local activists say, apart from hearing a few shots at Isaacs flat reserve on Friday, they’ve yet to see any shooters during their nightly monitoring. Spokesperson for the Animal Protectors Alliance Frankie Seymour says it’s possible the cull has been slightly culled due to fewer roos to be culled. But Seymour says nobody will ever know given the government’s form of fudging figures from the culls since 2008.

MEANTIME, authorities have another pest in their crosshairs,the Indian myna bird. The Canberra Indian Myna Bird Action Group Inc’s winter newsletter excitedly reports that the ACT government is “close to placing the myna on the list of declared pest animals”. The group’s patron is a Prof Tony Peacock.

POLITICAL memorabilia from five collections and the stories which go with them make up a new exhibition at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House. “Finders Keepers: Collectors and Their Stories” offers a journey through our democratic history via special mementoes from political careers including former Nats’ leader Tim Fischer’s neckties to vintage protest T-shirts.

STILL on political memorabilia, rumour has it that a prime piece of political memorabilia may find its way into the collection of a former Australian prime minister.

While some senior staffers souvenired pieces of a marble coffee table that shattered under the strain of a raucous wake in his Parliament House office on the night he was dumped in 2015, Tony Abbott is understood to have made a bid for the intact table, which he paid to be repaired soon after the incident.

WITH shorter days and sub-zero temperatures comes a serious warning about the “winter blues”. A local academic has highlighted the reality of SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

UC assistant professor in psychology Dr Vivienne Lewis says SAD is a type of depression that commonly occurs with a change in season, usually winter, with symptoms including “sluggishness, lack of motivation, difficulty in concentrating and a decrease in mood and energy levels”.

Dr Lewis advises us to get as much daylight and exercise as possible to get an important hit of endorphins.

THE rumour that Kambah is the biggest suburb in Australia has been scuttled. But a small consolation, the southern hub, established in the 1970s, is the biggest in the ACT. In fact it’s four times the size of the average Canberra suburb. The correction came to light as a result of a question posed to the ABC’s “Curious Canberrans” series.

STILL in the ‘burbs, if you have civic pride and wish to be a part of Canberra’s future, Planning and Land Management Minister Mick Gentleman wants to hear from you.

Locals are invited to be part of a committee that makes recommendations for names for new suburbs.

Just in case it hasn’t been nominated yet, a new suburb named Rithmetic when added to the established Reid and Wright would give the capital a unique marketing opportunity as the educated city. You’re welcome.

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