THE day Katy Gallagher became Chief Minister my stove top exploded. Now, I’m not suggesting one caused the other, but there’s definitely a connection.
At the time I was helping an electrician who was working on the offending appliance. Actually, I was just holding it up at an angle while he tried to undo the screws underneath to get at the problem – a busted burner – when suddenly the thing shattered with the power of a stone smacking a windscreen. We both got a huge fright and bits of glass went everywhere.
“That’s never happened before,” he said. “Glad it wasn’t me.”
Not a very kind thought, it seemed to me; but at least he was good enough to carry the heavy metallic remains downstairs.
Later that afternoon my wife and I decided we couldn’t put off the new kitchen any longer and took the darned thing to the dump. And there – I could hardly believe it – we actually had to pay $10 to give them all that valuable scrap metal.
This is where Katy Gallagher comes in.
All new leaders like to put their stamp on the government they head. So here’s her chance to do something really useful and which her predecessor totally failed to fix: The ACT’s rubbish collection.
It’s the worst system in the country, bar none. Our once-a-week collection of general garbage and fortnightly removal of recyclable paper and hard plastic is simply ridiculous.
Canberra is supposed to be the garden city, yet there’s no pick-up for garden refuse. In most other places across Australia this occurs quite regularly.
Canberra is the most intensive user of computer equipment in the country, yet there’s no pick up for old electrical and electronic goods. Yet this happens in much less favoured communities throughout the nation.
In Canberra there’s no pick-up for old furniture; yet in city communities from Sydney to Sofia, from Northampton to New York it’s a weekly ritual. Indeed, one of our family members practically furnished his Upper East Side apartment that way.
But Canberra’s appalling system means that stuff piles up under the house in most Canberra homes. Our family alone could probably fill a medium skip every three months.
Now Jon Stanhope might have been an old stay-at-home, but Katy is part of Generation X. She’s seen the world and knows just how grand services can be in more enlightened communities. I know this because I saw her a few weeks ago in Tuross itself.
There she was looking perfectly at home with the family on the Lakeside marina. Obviously this is a person of distinction, sophistication and discernment.
So, here’s your chance, Katy. There’s a great hole in our civic needs that cries out to be infilled. This is your chance to make a name for yourself. I can see it now on your political obituary: Canberra’s own Countess Castoff, the Duchess of Detritus. Katy, it’s yours for the taking.