Columnist MIKE WELSH reflects on another another seven days in the national capital
A FORMER ACT Health employee pushed to the brink of suicide after being bullied, doubts the effectiveness of an independent review called by ACT Minister for Health Meegan Fitzharris.
The minister launched the review into workplace culture at ACT Health despite AMA concerns the probe does not go far enough. The staffer says institutional bullying and expensive legal tactics employed to frighten whistleblowers will continue unless a royal commission is conducted into the department’s culture.
THE Barr government’s mid-year optimism heralding a new public transport system seems dead in the water. “A city-wide integrated public transport network”, “designed to deliver shorter, straighter, more regular and reliable services to connect people” which “prepares for growth and ensures we remain one of the most liveable cities in the world” were some of the polished statements floated. But the people have spoken; they just want buses to run and to run on time.
MEANTIME, sales of Action bus-shelter coffee mugs are expected to spike after exposure on the ABC drama series “Rake”. The third and, mercifully, final season sees the crumpled and shambolic lawyer Cleaver Greene (Richard Roxburgh) unexpectedly land in Canberra as a senator. Social media posts of Greene using the mug featuring the iconic shelters join comments from lawyers picking holes in the script. Local pedants also love to challenge the series’ continuity department when filming ventures outside in the capital.
STILL on public transport and in an effort to determine whether our new tram’s clangers sound anything like those that characterise the cacophony of Melbourne’s CBD, I conducted a study by posting a video of an LRV on Facebook. While hardly a comprehensive or scientific study the result was a clear no, but close. One “submission” was that it was like comparing the whistle of a rugby union referee with that of a soccer umpire.
LIBERAL member for Brindabella Mark Parton has stepped outside the square to highlight flaws in the Barr government. Parton’s facetious LinkedIn piece “What Labor does really well” chronicles a range of the government’s shortcomings including setting a new “benchmark in losing documents” and “watching Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris stand bravely at the wheel of the good ship ACT Health assuring us everything is okay”.
But the real stinger comes at the end of the 750-word piece with Minister Mick Gentleman in the crosshairs…“writing to Mick is like writing to Santa as an eight-year-old. You’d like to believe you’ll get a response, but in your heart you know nobody is even going to read the letter”.
THE man in the red bandana Peter FitzSimons made a triumphant return to the capital reportedly “connecting” with a large slab of Canberra’s movers and shakers. The former Wallaby was guest speaker at the sold out Menslink business breakfast. The raconteur, famous for his “Sydney Morning Herald” column “Fitz Files”, recycled a few jokes, including one from 27 years ago. At a Sydney arts function, feeling out of place the author slipped into the conversation that he’d “just finished his first book” to which a snobby type replied: “Well, read another one”.
NRL Legend Johnathan Thurston has credited Raiders’ coach Ricky Stuart for having a “massive influence” on his brilliant career. The recently retired Cowboys and origin star spoke of a time when he was 19 and playing with the Canterbury Bulldogs. Miserable and wanting to return home, JT says he was caught crying in the locker room by Stuart. Thurston says he was convinced to stay after Stuart put his arm around him and said: “You’re homesick, we’re a family here, we’ll look after you”.
AFTER weeks of political skulduggery and stunts giving Canberra a bad rap, the city can focus on one of its greatest achievements, Floriade. Replacing Muppets and strawberry topped pavlovas, the best and biggest celebration of spring has finally bloomed with visitors and locals pouring in. Tamworth photographer Nita Read is back for her second Floriade.