Macklin / From bad to worse all in a week

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WHEN Malcolm Fraser came to power all those years ago, his first mission, he said, was to get politics off the front page. The past week makes you wish it had never returned.

Robert Macklin.
Robert Macklin.
Here in the Legislative Assembly we had a very nasty debate about Education Minister Joy Burch who might have made the unforgiveable sin of helping her troubled son to get back on to the straight and narrow.

We had the Chief Minister Andrew Barr crowing about the $60 million the Feds were coughing up for the sale of our assets so he could spend it on the Northbourne tram that most of us think could be better deployed elsewhere.

We had the Heritage Council going in to bat for a monument to bad taste – Northbourne’s falling down Owen Flats – and Mr Barr’s angry response, fuelled no doubt by his vision for that light rail corridor.

And to cap it off, we had the prospect of both major parties wallowing in election cash like Scrooge McDuck. They voted themselves millions of our dollars and unlimited donations from influence pedlars, just so they could tell us what awful scoundrels their opponents are.

THE feds were worse! They began the week amusingly enough with Malcolm Turnbull using “Q&A” as a job application for The Lodge. One couldn’t resist the vision of Tony Abbott searching madly for a baseball bat to demolish his TV set.

But it was all downhill from there. The PM’s decision to link pleas for clemency for the Australian drug couriers facing the firing squad backfired. The Indonesians countered that “no one responds well to threats”, which seemed to seal their fate. In fact there never was much hope for a reprieve. Indonesia would then have been faced with irresistible pressure from France, Brazil, Nigeria, Britain, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Netherlands, India and South Africa, all of whom have drug runners on death row.

Health Minister Susan Ley rebadged the GP co-payment as a “value signal”, which went down with the Senate cross-benchers like the proverbial lead balloon.

Then Treasurer Joe Hockey lectured us on the horrors of the “Intergenerational Report” showing how we’re dudding our descendants – this from a government that treats climate change science as “crap”.

And poor Defence Secretary Dennis Richardson had to apologise to his 20,000 staff for his niggardly wage offer!

HAPPILY, sport did make its return to the headlines with the hugely colourful World Cup cricket match at Manuka Oval. But even that was spoiled by the presence of betting cheats who had to be escorted from the ground. And surely it’s about time we built more parking space for such occasions.

AMAZING news from a big travel-guide company that Brisbane now outranks Sydney among the “most beautiful” cities in the world. As a native of our northern capital, I would never have put “Brisbane” and “beautiful” in the same sentence. However, that was before it saw the river in a positive light – in earlier days people built their houses facing away from it. But even now, I reckon, Canberra would beat it hands down in the beauty stakes. Obviously, we weren’t included in the survey.

robert@robertmacklin.com

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