Welsh / Revealed: nothing from the forgotten filing cabinet

Seven Days columnist MIKE WELSH’s wry look at a week in the national capital.

EXPLOSIVE revelations of government filing cabinets filled with classified documents ending up at a Fyshwick op-shop have sparked a few yarns from long-retired Canberra public servants.

Mike Welsh

Mike Welsh.

One involves a filing cabinet idly gathering dust since the ’70s due to a lost combination. Finally, in the mid-’90s a manager asked if anyone knew the code and received a negative reply with the reminder of the government’s two full-time locksmiths.

Tradesmen were summoned and the dusty relic was opened in less than five minutes. Nothing inside except an amusing, five-page “report to the minister” dated 1975. The original briefing was identical to one written 20 years later, taking 50 pages to articulate the same message. No secrets there.

A “heavy handed” sign in front of Turner Primary School. Photo by Mike Welsh

IS Transport Canberra re-defining the job description of the humble lollipop lady? Signs have been erected at the busy bike/pedestrian crossing in front of Turner Primary School proclaiming “TRAFFIC MUST STOP when directed by the Traffic Supervisor”. A lollipop lady/person should be a sufficiently, universally recognised and totally non-negotiable signal for traffic to STOP. Why the need for heavy-handed signs posted all around the site? A prudent practice to protect the kiddies or just another example of pandering to the ever increasing demands of the pedal push?

THE capital continues to punch well above its weight in yet another aspect of hospitality – the hipster hop. Eight Canberra-brewed beers have been included on a prestigious list of craft beers. The GABS (Great Australasian Beer Spectacular) Hottest 100 Craft Beers for 2017 lists Bentspoke’s “Crankshaft” at number three. The brewer was also recognised for its “Sprocket” (24th) and “Barley Griffin” (27th). Fyshwick’s Capital Brewery’s products were also recognised (25th, 28th and 68th). While Pact’s “Mount Tennent Pale Ale” is in at number 50.

STILL at the bar and choosing a “watering hole” for a catch-up beer with a former colleague proved problematic. Nailing the locality (Kingston) was the easy part, but the venue? What about Hale & Mary or The Dock or Walt & Burley or the Beef & Barley? Couldn’t help wonder how a “fruity but caramel-centred” craft beer would have gone down in the smoke-filled front bars of bloodhouses such as The Commercial, The Railway or clubs in which I (mis)spent most of my youth.

CANBERRA dominates the national rental shortage conversation. Arriving students are increasingly forced into couch-surfing after failing to find suitable housing. Stats suggest house and apartment rentals in Canberra have shot up to be third highest in the nation behind Darwin and Sydney. Students report queueing with dozens of others at property inspections. A group of four young professionals looking to share are still without a roof after applying for more than 25 rental properties since early January.

THE TGA’s ban on over-the-counter codeine products to curb overdoses has created new problems for those who need to manage pain. The Canberra Endometriosis Network has been swamped with comments from frustrated women who say the ban exacerbates the already widespread problem they face in having endometriosis recognised.

One woman wrote: “Being an apprentice hairdresser, I have to spend $75 to try and get stronger drugs so I can still work. I’m so sick of the judgement looks at the pharmacy as I have tatts and my hair is purple and, apparently, I look like a drug addict.” Another says: “I can’t afford to spend $80 a month to explain to my doctor who is already aware of my pain.”

A HUMOROUS guide to what’s going down in the capital – using acronyms – is flying around the twittershire. For newcomers and old-timers alike @realcanberra posted a list of acronyms under the banner “Is Your Child Texting About Canberra?” Here are some of them: AMA – Ascent Mt Ainslie; BRB – Belconnen Rocks Bruh; LMAO: Lucky Mooseheads is Always Open, and the odd abbreviation, IDC – Ideal Date Carillon. But no WTF? Wasting Time in Fyshwick!

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