Welsh / Vulnerable Zed’s happy to take your calls

Seven Days columnist MIKE WELSH discovers that embattled senator Zed Seselja is telling the party faithful he’s happy to take the calls of anyone unhappy with him.

Another casualty of the leadership spill could well be comedian Lawrence Mooney. Photo by Mike Welsh

ACT Liberal senator Zed Seselja – a major player in the plot to dislodge Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – emerged from the ugly skirmish with a more grown-up portfolio but politically vulnerable.

In an email to party members Seselja conceded he had a problem, admitting “last week’s events in Federal parliament were very difficult for all concerned”. Zed suggested to the faithful that “rather than relying on media reports” he was “happy to chat to you personally regarding decisions I took.”

MEANTIME in his weekly update, Canberra Liberals president John Cziesla also acknowledged damage to the brand admitting “there can be little doubt this week has been one of the more tumultuous weeks in Australian politics and the Liberal Party.”

But a past party president had a very different take on Seselja’s political performance. Posting on Facebook, Gary Kent said: “Zed blew up the Canberra Liberals now he has blown up the Australian government. This fella is something else.” Kent fell out with the local party some time ago but says he still meets with true Liberals, most of whom are “very angry” with Senator Seselja.

ANOTHER casualty of the leadership spill could well be comedian Lawrence Mooney. Mooney’s talent for mimicking the toffy tones and clipped speech patterns of Malcolm Turnbull has provided him with a handsome income over recent years. But Mooney may struggle now that Turnbull has vacated The Lodge for his harbourside mansion. The comedian is due in Canberra in November for “An Evening with Malcolm” at the Canberra Theatre. Given Mooney’s resemblance to Finance Minister Mathias Cormann he may have a ready-made replacement.

STILL on jokesters, Kippax butcher Wes Dempsey’s short cut bacon has been placed third at the Australian Pork’s national awards. The operator of Elite Meats is also famous for the gags he posts on a sandwich board outside his Kippax Fair shop. And in honour of National Bacon Day, which fell on Father’s Day, a dad joke: Wes has admitted to an addiction to smoking hams. Apparently he’s up to three porks a day.

SPARE a thought for Canberra house painter and father of tennis star Nick Kyrgios, Giorgos (George). George’s mercurial 23-year-old son again grabbed headlines after receiving “fatherly” advice from a chair umpire during a break in his second round game at the US Open. But ABC TV’s breakfast host Virginia Trioli’s suggestion that Nick “needs a father figure” may have been a little close to the bone for George.

STILL on daddyies and the granddaddy of the ACT Assembly Mick Gentleman is proving he’s down with the latest technology by offering a Google offshoot space to spread its drone wings. Micky G approached the drone delivery company Wing during a recent trip to California, offering it a Canberra base to further develop delivery trials over the capital. Though apparently there is no truth to a rumour that Gentleman offered to build a drone take-off and landing platform in Civic, creating the world’s first Palindrome Drone Aerodrome.

Newly minted ACT Minister Chris Steel has put tradies on notice over a growing problem in the city. Taking calls on local radio, the Minister for City Services acknowledged that tradies’ dangerous and annoying parking habits will be met with penalties, warning those who park on verges and nature-strips that rangers would be out and will act.

Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh. Photo by Mike Welsh

POSSIBLY the most awkward question not asked at a Canberra Writers’ Festival Q&A session was supplied by the Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh.

The “Trainspotting” author’s conversation with former Canberra lad Richard Fidler was being recorded for radio, leaving no time for questions. But the writer shared the tale of a German woman keen to know how he wrote from a female perspective in his 2014 novel “The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins”. She asked how it felt “to slide into a woman”. The writer’s response of “quite agreeable” quickly broke an awkward silence in the room.

 

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