Canberra Confidential / Old school bites back

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HAS “The Canberra Times” finally bitten the hand that has fed it for years?

To the chagrin of competing media, government spinners have shamefully spoonfed the acquiescent daily paper with briefings and interviews ahead of the general news announcements.

But now, Chief Minister Andrew Barr has perhaps unwisely boasted to a Budget estimates hearing of having taken “great pleasure” in cancelling his subscription to “The Canberra Times”.

He’d got snarky with Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson, who’d  cheekily asked Barr about the “smell” around the 15-year-old Labor government, listing a series of possible scandals covered by the paper to bolster his question.

This sparked the Chief Minister into pasting the paper as “a tired old journalism outfit… a decaying forum in terms of readership and interest”.

Bad move, Andrew. It flushed out former editor Jack Waterford with a masterful commentary that dissected the various odours around the government and concluded: “Barr’s model of modern government is decaying and out of date, and he has not adapted to the times or to circumstance. I expect this news organisation will be around, in its multiple forms, as he goes out the door.”

Then, for good measure, by Saturday the paper’s political reporter Kirsten Lawson, in another piece of masterful writing, helpfully and  forensically recited the players, the roles and the circumstances of the growing catalogue of issues beleaguering Barr.

It’s inspiring to see the “Times” demonstrating the kind of old-school, defiant, daily paper journalistic leadership the city needs as we head to judging this government and the company it keeps at the October election.  

Time will tell

TOBY Hartley in a droll Facebook post he quirkily labelled “10 Years from Now – your future memories” writes: “I forgot to take my car off line yesterday; it was out all night taking fares on UberDrone and there’s not enough time to recharge it. Doh!

“So I had to catch the new light rail into work today. Not bad, about time they got it running. Of course, I had to walk the last bit because they still haven’t finished the roadwork on Constitution Avenue.”

News not worth knowing

UP there with the revelation that Ikea has thicker walls than other stores because of Canberra’s weather, is the reassuring news that Singapore Airlines is on track for its September first flight out of Canberra, according to ACT/NSW manager Greg McJarrow, who went on to let slip to “The Canberra Times” that the airline had been involved with the development of the airport’s new international lounge – including the colour of the chairs. No, really.  

Moore or less

POLITICAL columnist and former independent MLA Michael Moore was asked at the end of an appearance on 2CC’s news and current affairs program “The CityNews Sunday Roast” if he had any election tips.

An indefatigable believer in the value of crossbenchers and minority governments, Moore offered the following formula for Senate “accountability with no risk of a vote going to minor parties or groups with whom you vigorously disagree”: Start by putting the number 6 against the major party you like LEAST. Put a number 5 against the other major party. Then fill in numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 against the minor parties in order of your preference.

Dog groomer Caitlin Howship working on another "gorgeous bundle of fluff."
Dog groomer Caitlin Howship working on another “gorgeous bundle of fluff.”
Going to the dogs

THE place is going to the dogs on the weekend of July 1-3 when Dogs ACT’s Extravaganza bumps into Exhibition Park.

Open to the public, the three-day celebration of all things canine includes Veterans’ Grand Parade, a Breeders of Distinction wine and cheese evening and the Top Dog Night. Somewhere in there is the Plush Puppy Grooming Competition, which 20-year-old novice clipper Caitlin Howship has her (steady) eye on.

From bather to full-time groomer in only a couple of months, Caitlin is excited to be making her competition debut.

“I love learning about different styles and learning the skills to transform dogs into even more gorgeous bundles of fluff,” she says.

More about Dogs ACT’s Extravaganza at

 Size doesn’t matter

ANU researchers with clearly too much time on their hands have been looking at the breeding habits of fish to test the theory that bigger genitals make males more attractive or successful in fathering offspring.

When it comes to fish, they found females don’t find males with big genitals any more attractive than those with normal or smaller genitals.

The findings contradict two previous ANU studies, which found that larger penis size had a positive relationship with fish paternity success, and human research which found women rate men with a larger penis as more attractive.

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