WHAT a week! And while most of the great events were played out on the world stage, Canberra did at least play a supporting role.
Top of the list was the Barack Obama-Xi Jinping climate change deal announced in Beijing giving hope at last that the horrors of a hotter world might just be avoided.
It astonished PM Tony Abbott who had chatted with the US President only the day before. And he was quick to downplay its significance, suggesting that it “might happen in 16 years’ time”. His focus, he said, was on “what we’re doing now”; which is shovelling as much coal out of the ground and into the atmosphere as humanly possible in the shortest available time.
TONY’S other preoccupation was the “shirtfront” of someone a Murdoch tabloid cleverly labelled “RASH PUTIN”. We were told by the PM’s staff that it actually did take place, but in a private meeting between the Russian strongman and the former Oxford boxing blue.
Naturally we take them at their word, though it wasn’t exactly a “shirtfront” since Vlad the Rash seldom wears them. No doubt all is now sweetness and light. But just in case, Rash ordered a flotilla of his Pacific fleet to stand off Brisbane as back-up.
NOTHING secret about that other confrontation – between Clive “Fat Albert” Palmer and the bantamweight bruiser from Burnie, Jacqui Lambie. The feisty Tasmanian senator seems more than happy to exit the PUP tent for a bit of independent living on the plush Senate benches. Her “conscience” votes apparently cover all government legislation until her military mates get the pay rise she thinks they deserve.
Fat Albert’s foray into Federal politics was always going to be a flash in the pan. The wonder is that his control of the balance of power lasted this long.
ON a more civilised note, what a breathtaking achievement to land that 100kg Rosetta spacecraft on a comet 6.4 billion kilometres away at thousands of kph. It seems it bounced a couple of times after contact but finally settled in some soft “soil” and began sending back pictures. Canberra’s deep-space telescope at Tidbinbilla had a vital role to play and will no doubt share in the kudos.
SPEAKING of which, warmest congrats to our own astrophysicist, Brian Schmidt, and his team for their $3 million Breakthrough Prize for the discovery that the universe was expanding. And it gets better – Prof Schmidt is planning to donate part of his $250,000 share to the Academy of Science to encourage more women to take up science careers.
BACK on earth, there has to be a way to save the cafes in our national institutions. One after another, from the Film and Sound Archive to the NLA, they have crashed in financial flames and closed their doors. What’s to be done? Clearly a task for one of Prof Schmidt’s very best people.
AND what of the recalcitrant Norfolk Islanders who this week protested their “independence” from Australia yet again, while pleading for another handout. The new Federal Minister, Jamie Briggs, says: “I have made a decision that something has got to change.”