A toast to Jon Stanhope!

Share Canberra's trusted news:

Deborah May, pragmatic idealist, change agent and champion of women and leadership writes:

How many wedding celebrations include a toast to the Chief Minister?

On Saturday night I was among 200 people dressed in black and white, at a wedding (p)reception at Albert Hall. It was the party before their private ceremony scheduled for 10am on the 10/10/10.

Guests included women dressed as nuns, an altar boy, two women in blonde bee hive wigs as tall as Marge Simpson’s and two in black and white checked miniskirts and knee high white patent leather boots. Men were similarly dapper in waistcoats, shirts and cummerbunds of black and white stripes, checks and dots.

The crowd was an eclectic and vibrant mix of artists, writers, musicians, small business folk, academics and a sprinkling of public servants. Our hosts, the two we were there to celebrate, out-shone the rest with liberal splashes of scarlet satin. The room resounded with laughter, music from half a dozen local musicians and the thumping and scraping of boots dancing and stamping on the polished wooden floor.

The speeches described the love shared between these two exuberant beaming people, how they were well matched and so happy. We heard memorable stories of good times and were then asked us to raise our glasses not just to the brides but also to “the wonderful Jon Stanhope” without whom they could not have legalised their commitment to each other.

Reflecting on this very joyous event, I feel fortunate to live in a city where these wonderful women have the right to not only legalise their union but have their love and commitment publicly acknowledged and celebrated. I also contemplated the appeal our inclusive city has to people within the arts community, musicians, creatives and intellectuals who too often go unnoticed in the dominant and somewhat beige landscape of the Australian Public Service.

That night, Albert Hall was a metaphor for life in Canberra: if you look beyond the black and white you will find a diverse social fabric made of some extraordinarily colourful, vibrant and creative people who shimmer, sparkle and shine in clusters within the city.

A toast, I think is justified to the vision and leadership of the ACT’s Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope.

Who Can You Trust?

In a world beleaguered by spin and confused messages, there's never been more need for diverse, trustworthy, independent journalism in Canberra.

Who can you trust? Well, for more than 25 years, "CityNews" has proudly been an independent, free, family-owned news magazine, serving the national capital with quality, integrity and authority. Through our weekly magazine and daily through our digital platforms, we constantly and reliably deliver high-quality and diverse opinion, news, arts, socials and lifestyle columns.

If you trust our work online and believe in the power of independent voices, I encourage you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support will be invested back into our journalism so we can continue to provide a valuably different view of what's happening around you and keep citynews.com.au free.

Click here to make your donation and you will be supporting the future of journalism and media diversity in the ACT.

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Previous article
Next articleHumphries on GetUp!


  1. Thank you for such a wonderful article.

    I have known one of the women for some 18 years – huzzah to her personal happiness and her courage in making sure that such an important issue remains public and proud.

    I also toast Jon Stanhope, many years ago I become an unaligned member of the ALP in Canberra because of the rampant factionalism. Any attempt to get some issues on the broader agenda in the ACT – those days were fraught.

    I then played a small part in the team that helped get Jon to being elected. Thank you Jon I raise my glass to you also.

Leave a Reply